Over the past several years LinkedIn has not only become a key communication channel for business professionals, but also an essential personal branding tool. Effective positioning as a thought leader is the key to success. Here are our six top tips for effective positioning on LinkedIn.
1. Define your LinkedIn goals – Don’t think you have to be on LinkedIn because everyone else is. Think about what you want to achieve on LinkedIn. Do you want to build your network? Do you want to establish your company and yourself as an expert on a certain topic? If so, think of the kind of topics which keep you awake at night (at least one, no more than three). Great examples are Douglas CEO Tina Müller who talks about leadership on LinkedIn, Wirtschaftswoche publisher Miriam Meckel on digital policy, artificial intelligence and women in business. Position yourself as an expert by informing yourself beforehand on what has been written about the topic(s) by scholars, what is currently state-of-the-art and what the fair criticism is.
2. Know your LinkedIn audience – Who are you connected to and who do you want to reach? The masses, the experts, your company network? If you receive great reactions from external audiences but critical views from within your company, try to understand why. The leader who posts pictures from the first class lounge while cutting costs in the organisation might face a backlash. A happy team will share your posts. More than any other social network, you need to consider all aspects of your professional audience before publishing.
3. Define your LinkedIn style – Think about which tonality suits you. Be yourself and authentic rather than trying too hard to be an “original”. Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser had planned to attend the Future Investment Initiative Conference (FII) in Riyadh, before the so-called “Khashoggi crisis”, the death of Jamal Khashoggi. His article is an authentic example for managing your role as a CEO and having a (political) stance at the same time:
4. Define relevant LinkedIn media – When should you write a post, an article or post a video? A post is a short, sharp reaction or update containing no more than three takeaways. If you feel the topic is worth expanding on, then consider writing an article. Personal videos are relatively new to LinkedIn, but are an extremely popular medium on the site and give followers the feeling they are being spoken to directly. The benefits of which mymuesli cofounder Max Wittrock knows more than most when promoting the startup’s Christmas campaign:
5. Create a LinkedIn editorial plan – Launch your all-new image on LinkedIn with a bang. Perhaps you are speaking at an industry-wide event, or launching a new product? Think about when it makes sense to start. How do you want to inform your audience that you are starting? (Yes, two followers is also an audience). At the start consider a realistic timetable for publishing content. LinkedIn is not as fast as Twitter and key is quality over quantity every time.
6. Be a LinkedIn role model –Emotions and passion are welcome in certain measure, but to have a real impact on a certain topic, take your time and review. Think about how you want to handle comments – some you might want to answer directly yourself, or you might leave this to your communications team.