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How to Become an Influencer on LinkedIn

LinkedIn Influencers are a collective of over 500 of “the world’s foremost thinkers, leaders, and innovators.” LinkedIn Influencers tend to publish a lot of content discussing the current state of their industry or describe trending news and developments.

Some of LinkedIn’s most popular influencers in 2017 include Guy Kawasaki, Betty Liu, Meg Whitman, Bill Gates, and Richard Branson. The list changes each year, and LinkedIn’s team of editors only select individuals who remain active and insightful in their industry, whether it’s politics, business, or entertainment.


How many followers do you need to be an influencer?

While there is no strict definition of how many followers are required to make someone an influencer, there is a general consensus based on the existing profiles. Accounts with less than 1,000 followers are called nanoinfluencers. These audiences tend to be highly engaged and influenced by nanoinflunecers. Microinfluencers have even more, somewhere between 1,000 and 100,000, also with a highly engaged audience. Influencers tend to have anywhere over 100,000, and sometimes even in the millions, but some claim that these numbers could be inflated by bots.

Fun fact: ever wondered who has the most followers on LinkedIn? According to the Guinness Book of World Records, that feat belongs to Sir Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group. As of April 29, 2019, Branson has 15,732,651 followers!


What Are The Benefits Of Becoming An Influencer?

Besides joining a list of influential figures, what are the main reasons someone would want to become a LinkedIn Influencer?


1. Increased Reach

Becoming a LinkedIn Influencer is like becoming an influencer on any other social network or industry. The more people know you, the more people that want to know you. Once you become a LinkedIn Influencer, you’ll notice more followers, more views, and more engagement. Dharmesh Shah, Founder of Hubspot and LinkedIn Influencer, believes that the average LinkedIn Influencer post receives around 30,000 views, but it’s not at all uncommon for posts to hit 100,000 or even 1 million if it’s shared on other social networks.


2. Prestige and Credibility

Of course, LinkedIn Influencers aren’t just about numbers and figures. In fact, if you’re on LinkedIn, chances are you want to exhibit a sense of professionalism. LinkedIn Influencer tags build on that by adding another layer of credibility to your profile. Similar to profiles with over 500 connections, people tend to follow, engage with, and ultimately, revere those who are able to prove they are not only real people but real people with real influence.

Check out this TED original podcast with LinkedIn Influencer and bestselling author, Adam Grant:

3. Greater Networking Opportunities

With a stronger reputation on LinkedIn comes greater visibility, and more exciting business opportunities. Since LinkedIn is a network built for thought leaders, C-suite executives, and other professionals, they are the ones who will notice your content and your profile. This can open the door for chances to meet influential entrepreneurs (many CEOs and founders are active on LinkedIn), develop new partnerships, hire enthusiastic applicants, and get featured in other channels and outlets. LinkedIn Influencers carry a lot of power and clout on the network; it’s about what you do with it.


4. Organic Promotion

One of the best parts of the LinkedIn Influencer program? You can promote your business or your personal brand without blatant advertising. Research shows that younger generations, particularly Millennials and Generation Z, are tired of being targeted for ads. It makes sense- even if the ads are relevant, nobody likes being sold something, particularly when their privacy and personal details are abused. LinkedIn’s publishing platform enables you to still promote your brand or yourself, but without coming off like a tacky car salesman. The main difference? You would be providing something valuable, something people would want to actually seek out, instead of block. As a LinkedIn Influencer, more people are receptive to your recommendations and insights.

Ruthie Penfold, Director of Talent Acquisition for Shazam and LinkedIn Power Profile 2015, discusses how to optimize your LinkedIn profile for networking.

How Do I Become A LinkedIn Influencer in 2018?

Now that you see the benefits of becoming a LinkedIn Influencer, you may ask, “how do I actually become one?” There’s good news and bad news.

The bad news is that LinkedIn no longer accepts applications, and the program is invite-only.

The good news? It’s not impossible to become one, it just takes a fair amount of research and hard work before their team notices your work. Here’s how it’s done:


1. Complete and Optimize Your Profile.

Have you ever heard of optimizing a website? It means following the best practices in web design and development to attract more traffic and rise in organic search results. The same goes for LinkedIn. If you want to be noticed, you first have to ensure your current profile not only passes all the standard expectations but fine-tuning it until it stands out from the rest. This includes:

  • Setting a profile picture, and using your real name
  • Verifying your email
  • Getting over 500+ connections
  • Receiving recommendations and endorsements
  • Completing all sections of your profile

For a more comprehensive guide, read TruConversion’s 18 Tips To Create A Perfect LinkedIn Profile.


2. Create High-Quality Content

When the Internet was still in its infancy, Bill Gates once remarked, “content is king.” The same maxim holds true. Content is what drives people to continue scrolling through their news feed or to purchase a media streaming subscription. And the same holds true for LinkedIn. People engage with posts that they find useful or informational.

For LinkedIn’s publishing platform, post content from your industry that people in your industry would actually read. News and breaking developments perform particularly well on the platform. Write a case study on a particular brand, or report some facts on the top agencies. There’s a well full of ideas you can write about, no matter what industry, as long as you can add value to others’ time.


3. Promote Your Work

Of course, content doesn’t just get around by itself, you have to actively share it so it gains traction. Send it to your friends and family, and ask for their comments and opinions. Post it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all the other social networks that would be appropriate for your industry. Post a link to your article on discussion boards or forums. It takes some time and effort, but that is the only way your work will be read.


4. Network and Engage

Finally, engage with others’ content. Take the time to post insightful comments, ask questions, or just reach out to the author to further a discussion or relationship. The most valuable connections are genuine people, who care sincerely about the topics they are writing about.

While this is happening, continue to build out your network, focusing on genuine connections in the same space. You’ll find that social networking is a lot like a bank: the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it in the long run.

We are always finding ways to support business owners and entrepreneurs in their journey. Success is never overnight, and becoming a brand influencer is no different.

Check out our other blog post on how to make the most of any networking event.

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