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The Power of Opinion: How Executives Become LinkedIn Leaders

The Power of Opinion: How Executives Become LinkedIn Leaders

LinkedIn might just become the Facebook of the 2020s. The business platform has been growing rapidly for several years and now has around 660 million members worldwide. While in Germany Xing is (currently) ahead in terms of numbers, LinkedIn has a clear advantage. It enables executives – which make up 80 percent of its members - to exchange ideas across international borders. We reveal ways in which you can make yourself heard on LinkedIn.

# Tip 1: Demonstrate your expertise

If you have already defined your goals and target group and decided which tone you want to strike, the next step is to clearly define the topics which you really want to and can effectively position yourself on. Your top priority should always be to generate real added value for your network - and the best way to do this is by clearly and unambiguously demonstrating your expertise. When selecting topics, it makes sense to concentrate on the core content of your business. From your daily work you can derive helpful learnings, controversial discussion points or strong opinions that provide a basis for relevant and authentic content.

Looking at the most successful LinkedIn influencers of 2019, they all have one thing in common: they all focus clearly on the issues they encounter day in, day out. For example, investor Frank Thelen talks about the technology scene and corporate growth, ex-footballer and team captain Philipp Lahm shares tips on leadership culture and team development, and Sabine Jeschke, board member for digitalisation and technology at Deutsche Bahn, publishes her insights on topics such as chatbots and artificial intelligence.

Source: LinkedIn

#Tip 2: Choose the right content form

Once you know which topics should feature on your own LinkedIn page, the next step is to decide on the presentation form. LinkedIn is no longer the place just for posts - on the contrary, the platform has now developed a rich variety of tools for content delivery:

  • Articles, probably the best known tool on LinkedIn, are particularly suitable for in-depth information analysis or discussion of contrasting opinions. For example, a text can act as a thought-provoking stimulus for a debate or bridge to an external content instrument such as a podcast episode.
  • LinkedIn also allows selected individuals to update their network via newsletter. This tool is by invitation only and LinkedIn is not currently accepting any further applications. It is however still worth looking out for the next opportunity.
  • Do you have exclusive figures, for example on the use of your products, or meaningful market research findings? If so, an infographic is a great content form. With these you can give your network short and compact facts that are easy to quote in conversations and media.
  • The new LinkedIn live function is also particularly exciting and currently in the beta phase. Thought leaders who want to discuss a specific topic in depth can apply for this. Tilo Bonow, CEO of the PR agency PIABO, for example, uses the tool to interview leading heads of the digital economy on technology trends. While the livestream is running, viewers can ask their questions to guests in real time. This is a good alternative to face-to-face events, particularly during the corona crisis.
  • LinkedIn Stories is another of the company's latest coups (although the tool is currently still in the internal test phase). If it does make it on to the market, it means users can offer their followers ever more personal insights into their everyday working life and share in summarised form, for example, key learnings from an event.

#Tip 3: Actively shape opinion & promote debate

Looking again at the most successful voices from the German LinkedIn community, one thing is clear: not one of them holds back on expressing personal opinions. LinkedIn allows the objective sharing of external articles and information but the network's real strength lies in those who stand out with clear opinions and points of view.

Source: LinkedIn

The platform offers a number of tools and channels for this. Nowadays articles should be part of the standard repertoire of every LinkedIn influencer. These don't even have to be long - more important is that they communicate a distinct message in a concise way. LinkedIn allows you to show rough edges – this is authentic and starts a discussion, instead of plunging into the digital mash with uninteresting posts. At the same time strong positions provoke more reactions, which in turn help to increase interaction and reach for your content.

In addition, beyond your own channels, don’t forget that it is also worth getting involved in other debates. With concise comments you can attract the attention of users who are in a similar area of interest, thus expanding your number of followers.  If you don't find such wide-reaching threads independently, LinkedIn will inform you via alert about new posts on certain hashtags, which you can set in advance. And in general, the network idea applies to this topic as well: follow people who share content which interests you and - if you can provide added value - communicate actively and publicly with them to enhance your expert status.