Remember when LinkedIn was purely a place to upload your resume? Over the last few years, the types of content that people want to see on LinkedIn has changed completely. These changes have ushered in a new era of thought leadership on LinkedIn. Let’s explore what has changed and why — and when to consider becoming a thought leader on LinkedIn.

Becoming a LinkedIn thought leader: A shift in popular content

When LinkedIn was bought by Microsoft in 2016, 467 million people were using the platform. Now, the user base is just shy of a billion, and grew by 94 million in the 12-months to May 2023. Gone are the days of LinkedIn being a glorified version of the job market. Today it is the social media platform professionals turn to to post about both their work and their life.

Having LinkedIn leadership clout is a must for companies doing b2b business and communications. In fact, 89% of decision-makers polled by the company said that thought leadership within an organisation significantly influenced their perceptions of the company, leading to higher trust in the company. When you show buyers that you have smart, engaged people within your company, you immediately become more approachable and trustworthy.

Along with this growth comes change, and the types of content you can post on the platform now are wide-ranging and dynamic. 

Video is a great way to get people in the door to start engaging with your content, and longer articles and posts give you an air of authority on your subject matter. There are so many mediums for content on LinkedIn, but the most important thing is that you choose the ones that make you sound genuine and authentic. It’s your voice and your experience, it’s up to you how you present it. 

That means you need to play to your strengths. Everyone communicates differently, and by doing it your way, you are showing the real, authentic you. At the end of the day, your LinkedIn account is still a personal profile, not a business one. 

If you want to become a thought leader on LinkedIn, you need to grab the attention of people scrolling through an endless feed of information. The types of content that do well on LinkedIn are anything that stands out. 

Thought leadership on LinkedIn

So, what does good thought leadership look like? As with all b2b communication, you have to know your target audience and write to what they want to know. Good thought leadership should answer questions and provide new perspectives. Most importantly, it should be concise and personal, not waffle on. 

Consider the most common questions you come across in your work and what content might suit answering them. If you can’t think of any questions people seem interested in, ask them. Ask Me Anything (AMA) and polling tools on LinkedIn are great platforms to engage with with other industry experts and possible customers, as well as a good place to start looking for what your other content could look like.  

If you have friends across your industry, make content with them. Shared content leads to engagement with both of your follower bases and gets your thoughts onto the screens of twice as many potential buyers and customers. 

Speaking of your profile, there lies the base of your potential as a thought leader. While the end goal is all about the content you create and share on the platform, your profile needs to look the part too. Make sure you have a professional but relaxed profile picture, and a keyword heavy description so that people searching for thought leaders in your field can easily find you. When filling out the jobs section, make sure to go into detail about what your role entailed and what you achieved. Leave nothing out that can promote you as someone people should listen to!

The benefits of becoming a thought leader on LinkedIn:

  • Establish your authority with potential and existing clients. By breaking down your expertise, you are in effect explaining to people why you are good at your job.
  • Build trust and loyalty by showing people that you are a person, not a faceless brand after their money.
  • Thought leadership also helps you stick out from the crowd. When people watch videos of you speaking at webinars, listen to your appearances on podcasts or read your work, they begin to feel like they know you.
  • All of this helps to expand your network and influence. Thought leadership can be a self fulfilling prophecy — the more you share and engage, the larger your network will become, giving you the opportunity to generate more leads.

Signs it is time to consider becoming a thought leader on LinkedIn

You have a fantastic leadership team, but you're struggling to get speaking gigs for them
In the crowded marketplace of speaking gigs, a significant LinkedIn following can go a long way. As we’ve mentioned above, becoming a thought leader on LinkedIn comes with authority. It means more than having a lot of Facebook friends or being an influencer on Instagram because LinkedIn is where the professionals go for their advice on business. 

You are an early-stage/scale-up startup with limited brand awareness
Thought leadership is a great way to get your new project in front of as many eyeballs as you can. Consider pitching collaboration ideas to existing thought leaders in your field, to try and grow connections and show the industry that you mean business. 

You're in a niche market with little organic search demand
LinkedIn is also the home of the niche. As a platform, it is where people go to talk shop with people in their field, no matter the size. By becoming a thought leader you can tap into your business community as best you can. Remember, it isn’t always about how many eye-balls, but whose eye-balls are seeing your work. 

Your leadership team is already actively posting on LinkedIn but not getting any traction
If your team is already active, it might be time for you as the leader to start promoting the work of your company and the virtues of your leadership team. While LinkedIn is a personal platform, it can be worthwhile to set aside work time to consider how you can promote each other on the platform to get a wider footprint as a team. 

Time to go do it!

The truth is, there isn’t a great reason not to try your hand at becoming a thought leader on LinkedIn. By creating thoughtful and informative content on the platform, you can grow your network and client opportunities in an organic way that isn’t available in any other corner of the internet. Especially as LinkedIn continues to morph into a place where professional and personal lives intertwine, it is the best place to gain longlasting authority in whatever industry you work in.

 Brand chemistry is a b2b marketing agency winning your customers' hearts and minds through inbound, brand, content, lead generation and digital strategy. Our marketing specialists achieve stellar results with the latest lead generation techniques.

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