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Five steps to becoming a LinkedIn thought leader

I'll tell you a secret; you don't have to be an executive in a Fortune 500 company to be a thought leader. Anyone can change lives by communicating a powerful idea. It's all about how you choose to use your expertise to help others solve challenges and take advantage of emerging trends. It means you can provide the best answers to your audiences' biggest questions, in the way they like to receive them.

LinkedIn has morphed from a platform that was originally used for networking, recruitment, and job searches into a platform that holds a wealth of experience-based teachings, knowledge, and access to people that you would never have been able to even say ‘hi’ to in the past. It no longer just provides jobs but rather builds careers.

It can arguably be said that LinkedIn has now become the birthplace of social media thought leaders. After a few years of advising and creating thought leaders on LinkedIn, here are my five tips for turning your profile into a thought-leading one.

Let your profile make the right impression

If your ideal connections were to look at your LinkedIn profile right now, what impression would they get of you, your credibility, and your authority on your subject matter? The truth is, your profile is the very first thing that people look at before they decide on whether you can help them or not. Make sure that your profile shows them the very best of you.

Your opinion is what matters

A large portion of executives and LinkedIn users assume that just by sharing an article they find interesting, even without a caption, they are communicating their opinion. However, that is very far from the truth. Your opinion is what makes you a thought leader, so make sure you take the time to craft the introduction to your world of opinions in a way that your audience feels inspired to read more and apply this to their lives and careers.

Your network is power

Whether it’s a new campaign you’re working on or a thought that you are trying to expand on, you don’t have to do it alone. Invite your LinkedIn family to share insights, best practices, and lessons learned.

Passion is everything

Everyone understands that your life doesn’t just consist of work. Although it is a big part of your life, it isn’t everything. People want to know every facet of what makes you, you. Talk about what you believe in and why and open up the conversation. Don’t be scared to share the things that keep you up at night.

Talk to your people every day

The hardest part about being a thought leader is being one every day. It is difficult to make time to be vulnerable with the world to share your thoughts and even painful experiences that made you who you are today.

Think about it this way, when you share your insights with the world, you’re learning together, and showing up for one another to push yourself to the next level of your journey. Thought leadership on LinkedIn is all about give and give. Give yourself a face, give your face a story, give your audience a story that they can relate to or even build on, and pretty soon they will give you the position of a thought leader.

About Adelaide Tshabalala

Adelaide Tshabalala is the head of digital at Hill+Knowlton Strategies

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