As a professional, if you’re not using LinkedIn in 2023, you’re impeding your career growth. If you’re not already growing your LinkedIn presence, here are three reasons to change your mind:
- The job market is incredibly volatile right now. LinkedIn makes it easier to search and apply for jobs and helps you stay on top of company updates
- LinkedIn can help you network and upskill by introducing like-minded professionals and hiring managers
- LinkedIn acts as a live resume, enabling you to create a professional image. The exposure is unparalleled.
Unsurprisingly, the numbers show similar trends. According to LinkedIn statistics, 8 people are hired on the platform every minute and 45% of hiring managers use skills data from profiles to curate their jobs. Apart from the job portal, LinkedIn’s organic reach can fetch you leads and opportunities which is why accounts that post daily grow 700% faster than accounts that post monthly.
If you want to improve visibility and build an audience, you need to follow a strategy. We’ve listed down a few ways you can do that. The tips are filed under three categories: profile optimization, content, and promotion.
LinkedIn profiles have several elements that need to be filled in correctly. This shows how thorough and detail oriented you are to prospects.
1. Fill out all the sections with relevant data
To start off, add work experience and education data to build a detailed resume. Include what you’ve achieved in your previous roles and standout projects you’ve been part of. You can add publications, patents, awards, skills, courses, and certificates as well!
Next, write the “About” section which is similar to a cover letter. But since this is not a recruitment drive, you can be more personal and showcase what you can bring to the table. Keep it short, focused on your career, and break it down into multiple paragraphs. And don’t forget to add a CTA to wrap it up.
After that, turn on the “Creator mode” to rearrange the above-the-fold sections. This will make the follow button the primary action on your profile, which is a crucial part of gaining followers on LinkedIn. Once you start using LinkedIn, focus on getting recommended by people. The recommendations show at the bottom of your profile and it should include peers, seniors, and partners.
You should also add hashtags for topics you want to talk about and be known for, add links to your portfolio and write a headline that instantly catches attention. Some people let their current role speak for themselves, while consultants often try to stand out with actionable headlines that work as soft elevator pitches.
Once you start playing around with the profile, you’ll find several elements that can be modified and enriched with data.
2. Be findable
LinkedIn visibility depends heavily on search engine optimization (SEO). The “About” section is the largest content field so that’s where you need to integrate keywords naturally. Apart from that, your headline, work experience fields, hashtags, and posts — everything influences your SEO performance. Since LinkedIn SEO is iterative, you have to frequently integrate and optimize the keywords.
The best way to know if your efforts are working is by checking the weekly search appearance dashboard. If you find the keywords listed are the keywords you want to be found for, you’re doing a good job.
3. Use consistent visuals
LinkedIn, just like other social media platforms, relies on visual consistency. For a casual user, the consistent colors and shades create a professional aura, which is a game-changer if you’re trying to attract HRs and thought leaders.
Use a profile picture in a professional setup and extend the same color profile to the banner image as well. Try adding images to your posts as visual content see 2X more engagements on LinkedIn.
A LinkedIn profile is the place to show the best version of yourself. Check out your competitors and experiment frequently to create a unique, professional, and detailed profile.
Once the profile is out of the way, your focus should shift to creating regular content. It might take a while to break through the algorithm, but if you publish consistently, LinkedIn will return the favor exponentially. You can try videos and carousels to hold people’s attention instead of using walls of text. Here’s an example of consistency showing results. Peep Laja runs a message-testing show which offers lessons you’d rarely find anywhere else. With each new post, he’s getting more engagements:
4. Define your value proposition and stick to it
Before posting, ask yourself: “Why should someone follow me?” The content you create should answer that question.
First, you must identify your ideal followers. Narrow down the challenges and aspirations of these people, what triggers them into action, and how you can help them achieve their goals.
Next, find topics that elicit responses but haven’t been discussed in detail. Unique angles to old theories, a breakthrough on a personal project, or even an educational series — viral LinkedIn content comes in many shapes and forms.
Note down the topic clusters you want to target, the frequency and timing of the posts, and the mediums (text, images, videos, carousels). The overlapping area between your ideal followers and the demand for unique content is where you should operate. Experiment in the early days and settle down on a strategy quickly.
5. Comments, replies, and guest appearances
Creating original content is only one part of the job, you also need to interact with other users. As a social media platform, LinkedIn prioritizes comments overreactions so the more you interact with other posts, the more visibility you’ll gain.
When you comment on a post, make sure you add some thoughtful insights that encourage others to chime in. You have no control over who reads your comments and you might just catch the attention of the right people and start communication with your potential customers. The quality of the conversation is always a marker of your network’s worth.
Apart from regularly commenting and replying to different posts, you should also try appearing as a guest in someone else’s webinar or podcast.
You can either pitch yourself to the host or position yourself as the subject matter expert to attract inbound leads. Posts including original research or seminal arguments work the best because hosts often look for unique angles to explain to their audience.
If you have a history of overperforming at your job, the reputation will take care of it. With guest appearances, you can tap into a new audience demographic and position yourself as the expert or thought leader. All of these help you gain followers quickly.
6. Publish long-form articles
LinkedIn articles regularly come up in Google SERPs and you can use the feature to dive deep into certain topics. By writing LinkedIn articles you can nurture your audience and gain followers as more people talk about your content. Popular and informative articles often become part of the LinkedIn news team’s curated list, propelling you to a wider audience.
While working on LinkedIn articles, you should also try creating a newsletter and managing it through LinkedIn. Popular content creators rely on newsletters to retain followers and improve engagement over time.
7. Design and structure your posts
You can stop the scroll simply by structuring your post the right way. Here’s a recent post of mine:
The post worked because I started with a relevant problem. Once the reader is hooked, the words continue to nudge toward the promise, and the reader is finally greeted by a bright and bold carousel. The visual is consistent with my profile which creates a differentiated identity. The carousel has over 15 slides and is packed with valuable information backed by real-life examples. It’s a popular post because it dives into a critical problem faced by my network, and offers a step-by-step guide to solve that.
I also made sure I took the time to reply to each comment and I ended up having small conversations with many followers. This is how I nurture and grow my audience.
In order to increase LinkedIn followers, you have to focus on content distribution.
8. Cross-promote on other platforms
If you’re active on Twitter or other platforms, try taking advantage of that. If you have a newsletter or a personal website, you can embed your LinkedIn profile or share updates about new posts. From conversation threads in Slack, Stack Overflow, and Hacker News to WhatsApp and Instagram stories, you can try different platforms to see what sticks. When you share your LinkedIn posts, make sure you contextualize them and add a CTA to encourage readers to check out your LinkedIn profile.
9. Monetise followers with an email newsletter
A lot of creators ignore this but if you have already built an audience through a newsletter or have a compelling offer, you can use that to build LinkedIn followers. For example, if you have a simple tool or research paper, you can send that to anyone who follows you on LinkedIn for free. Similarly, if you run a giveaway or an in-demand offer, you can direct people to your LinkedIn page first. Here’s an example of Justin Welsh using his LinkedIn followers to increase his newsletter subscribers to ultimately upsell his course:
This is slightly different from the organic ways of attracting followers, but as long as you give people a reason to follow you, they’ll gladly oblige.
Bonus tip: dive deep into analytics
Despite your best efforts, not all of your experiments will yield great results — such is the nature of social media. If you’re not seeing the follower count go up, you need to take a closer look at analytics to find areas of improvement. LinkedIn shows analytics for each post so you can always go back and see what type of posts and at what time of the day are drawing the most attention. Alternatively, you can use Crowdfire’s analytics tool to get a more accurate picture of your social media performance and derive ways to improve your strategy.
Growing LinkedIn followers is a long-term process that requires you to show up every day, share valuable content, and stand out from other creators. With enough perseverance, ingenuity, and audience research, you can build a substantial following within a few months and take your career to the next level.