Since its creation in 2003, LinkedIn has been the best digital networking platform for business professionals. Fast-forward 14 years, and there are a lot more members (almost 480 million) on LinkedIn and over 100 million active users.
While we have a lot more digital tools and services now – which is a great thing and makes content creation easier – it’s also harder to stand out because there is so much more competition! Fortunately, on LinkedIn you are competing with significantly fewer people in your specific industry then you would be on Google or Facebook. It’s easier to be a big fish in a small pond on LinkedIn. And because of its social positioning, you can leverage that LinkedIn visibility to become a big fish in a bigger pond (Google). Do well on LinkedIn and your ranking on Google increases significantly. (Don’t believe me? Go ahead and Google the keyword phrase “LinkedIn expert”!)
This is all to say that on LinkedIn (and in business) you need to stand out and position yourself as an expert. This instantly positions you above the masses and highlights just how experienced, professional and knowledgeable you are on a given topic.
Here are four ways to position yourself as an expert on LinkedIn.
Know your target audience
We all know the definition of “assume”, right? Assuming you know your audience and their needs means you probably don’t know squat. I assumed I knew who my audience was – women just like me.
But when I analyzed my social media metrics, I realized I was WAY OFF! My audience wasn’t entrepreneurial, professional, educated women in their 40s and 50s: my audience actually skewed towards male sales and marketing professionals at large corporations in their 50s and 60s! Once I knew that, I could create a profile and content directed towards them.
To truly thrive on LinkedIn and position yourself as an expert, you actually need to know your target audience and understand exactly what they are looking for. Perhaps your target audience only really wants a Social Media Consultant” – and while that title isn’t as sexy as Customer Satisfaction Evangelist, it’s what your target base wants. When you speak to them in their language, they will better identify with you, understand you, and are more likely to think of you as an expert (and hopefully someone they want to do business with).
Take steps to understand your target audience, know what they want, never assume, and adjust your LinkedIn copy (Summary, Titles, Professional Headline) accordingly.
Show, don’t tell
All day long I can tell the world I am awesome. (You believe me, right?) In reality, true expertise positioning requires that we show it. “Deeds, not words” is a common adage. (Hey – even Batman was told it doesn’t matter who you are, but what you do that defines you.) So how do you show or demonstrate expertise?
- Get recommendations
- Get more endorsements for your skills
- A picture is worth a thousand words – so add media
- Do you have an MBA from Yale? Don’t just say you have it. Post a picture of the degree. With this single image you instantly confirm your education.
- If you have appeared on a news channel talking about a subject, locate the URL and upload it to your account.
- Do you write a blog, or blog for other professional channels? Post a link.
- Do you have written or video testimonials? Upload them!
All of this shows you have the education, the knowledge and the authority on a subject. So while everyone else is simply calling themselves an industry expert, you’re proving you actually are one
Use LinkedIn Publisher
Showcasing all your writing, television show and podcast appearances, and degrees is a great start. But you might want to create a continual flow of expert content by using the LinkedIn Publisher. You can use it to:
- Write new content
- Repurpose content from your blog
- Repurpose content from your newsletter
- Repurpose white papers and portions of your eBook
- Ask for quotes from the top 10 experts in your industry
- Write an article about your four favorite business books
- Transcribe (and edit!) a podcast or interview
Sharing regular content on LinkedIn Publisher will keep people coming back to your account, grow your visibility (and network) as they share your content, drive traffic to your landing pages and website (if you put the links in your posts), and encourage engagement with the viewers (by responding to their comments on your post).
A weekly or bi-weekly article on your expertise will not only position you as an expert, but increase the visibility of your profile to the right people as well.
LinkedIn gives us an opportunity not only to network with existing clients and business partners, but also to grow our tribe with potential prospects, partners, donors, and employers. If you worked with someone on a particular project, make sure to connect with them on LinkedIn. Do the same with the authors of content in news stories you’ve appeared in and publications you’ve written for. Showing who you know can prove to be an excellent method in proving you really are an expert in the field. Using this tactic along with the other three tips will elevate you above the pack and help you stand out from your competitors on LinkedIn.
It may take a bit of research, but these four strategies can help you to position yourself as an expert on LinkedIn. And they aren’t rocket science: it just takes a little time and diligence. By implementing these tactics, you’ll go on to see a vast improvement in account views, leads and, eventually, business partners and sales.
For more tips on improving your LinkedIn profile and taking your career to the next level, subscribe to Café Quill, and don’t forget to follow us on social media to join in on the conversation!