One of the best ways to connect with prospects on LinkedIn is to start a discussion or a poll. By using these LinkedIn tools, you can showcase your business and position yourself as a thought-leader, which may ultimately lead to you becoming a LinkedIn Top Influencer.
Being a Top Influencer means your discussion has generated the most engagement with other group members. It’s a great way to build awareness for your business and position yourself as an industry thought-leader.
What follows are some tips on how you can become a LinkedIn Top Influencer.
1. Find a hook and ‘newsjack’ it
The big problem that business owners face is not being able to identify stimulating and engaging content. Finding the right discussion topics will take some research and sensitivity. Remember – you want to start a discussion that will get people engaged and make them want to take the time to respond.
Recently this summer, with the London Olympics in full swing, you couldn’t click within an inch of a LinkedIn group and not find a discussion that didn’t mention the Games. By linking your post to a popular national/global news story, you’re far more likely to receive engagement and interaction than you would with a standard comment that is rigid and mundane.
There is a danger here of going off-topic. To combat this, make sure the focus of your discussion is the business point in hand, and not the peg. For example a great discussion that received huge responses came from an employee of a call center management firm. The marketing manager opened a discussion of ‘Are you letting your call center agents work from home for the Olympics?’ Here the Olympics received a subtle nod, but the key issue was keeping staff focused.
2. Be sure it’s not all ‘me, me, me’
Some LinkedIn users believe that by having a monologue about their accomplishments, they’ll gain favor with other LinkedIn followers and ultimately work their way to becoming a Top Influencer. That isn’t true. It’s called social media for a reason. It should be a two-way process where you engage with other users and vice versa.
Offer insightful comments on other posts that will add value to the discussion, instead of purely using this as an opportunity to plug your interests or your business.
And be sure to refer back to links that support your comments and that add substance to your answers. On the occasions when someone disagrees with your point-of-view, remain professional. Remember the aim is to bolster your business’ reputation, not ruin it.
3. Becoming a Top Influencer, and staying one
The good news is that people are starting to take note of you and your business, the bad news is that the Top Influencers ranking is refreshed every 3 hours and is wiped entirely every Sunday at midnight!
Success on LinkedIn is comparable to success at the gym — persistence and longevity is the real key to achieving your goals. You may be tempted to rest on your laurels, but don’t be. Repeat the processes of finding an engaging and stimulating topic and ensure that you remain in the Top Influencers list for as long as possible.
There’s several ways to remain a Top Influencer. You can pack up shop, and look to spread your influence elsewhere. There are literally hundreds of thousands of groups on LinkedIn, so why put all your eggs in one basket?
Alternatively, it’s inevitable that your first discussion point will take a detour from the proposed topic of conversation that you had in mind. Let this happen, but take note of the topics that are being discussed and are generating interest and create a new discussion based on that.
Key points to remember
- Find a relevant, but stimulating topic that will appeal to those in your industry.
- If appropriate, use a popular current affair to peg your discussion.
- Include a link in your discussion; it brings authenticity to your points.
- Never post beyond Friday afternoon. Top influencer charts are wiped every Sunday at midnight. Post on Monday morning if possible.
- It’s not all ‘me, me, me’. Reply to others’ discussions too. This will most likely show users you’re a committed and genuine member of the group.
- Create your own group. That way you can control the overall content of the group and get a good feel for what makes your group members tick.
Leon Emirali is a PR and marketing professional and media graduate with international experience, having worked with businesses across Europe, North America and Asia. After spending time living and working in China, he has a keen interest in cross-cultural marketing and communications strategy. You can follow him on Twitter @leonemirali.