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  • Meerelle Cruz

How to Become a LinkedIn Thought Leader

One of those buzzwords we've all heard a million times is "thought leadership." And, while it may seem like one of those overused cliches, I understand why we hear it so frequently based on my experience as a business owner and coach to corporate leaders and entrepreneurs. Because when done correctly, it works.

Building or reinforcing your thought leadership—in the appropriate places and with the right audiences—can help you gain customer trust and confidence, establish yourself as an industry expert, and open doors to incredible opportunities.

Here are five fast tips for building thought leadership on LinkedIn, one of the best sites for many small company owners (though they'll work just as well on Instagram or TikTok if you prefer):

1. Consider your primary audience and what they want to hear.

You'll undoubtedly want the flexibility to share ideas and information that are important to you and connect with your company's objectives. When it comes down to it, what matters most is that you're talking about topics that your ideal audience is interested in hearing about.

Weekly, go over the questions that come in through your contact page, email, and LinkedIn InMails. What are the most common issues that people seek assistance with? Most comments, engagement, and shares are generated by posts that are motivated by real-life problems and pain points. I'm sure you'll notice a similar pattern. So, go ahead and start with your inbox.

The responses to the question "What should we talk about?" are practically waiting for you in your mailbox. Begin there.

2. Take into account your distinct viewpoint.

Do you know what makes you and your company unique? You ought to. If you don't know what your top customers like about you, ask them to assist you to figure out what your "secret sauce" is.

As a point of reference, I insist on presenting myself as a person who is approachable and relatable. I want to make it clear that I know what I'm talking about and that I'm up to date in my field. I also recognize that shifting jobs or careers is a stressful experience for almost everyone. As a result, I work hard to present myself in a non-threatening, non-boring, and highly actionable manner.

Determine what makes you special, and then make sure the content you post reflects your overall brand and point of view.

3. Make a list of what you'll say.

Spend some time exploring themes that match with your aims and affirm your expertise once you've clarified your audience and distinct perspective. Opinion articles, industry data analysis, case studies, AMAs (Ask Me Anything), and interviews are some of the sorts of content that tend to do well on Linkedin.

Make a list of your greatest ideas as you brainstorm and draw from them over the course of a few weeks or months. We're all so preoccupied. Knowing what you'll share (and when) on LinkedIn will help you stay on track.

4. Make the most of your assets

The feared imposter syndrome appears to be the source of the most anxiety among entrepreneurs as they plot a path to thought leadership. The good news is that you don't have to write original content if you don't want to. Perhaps blogging or doing Q&As on LinkedIn Live is a better option.

What's more, if you're not a brilliant writer or feel at ease in front of the camera, guess what? As a curator, you can still develop thought leadership.

Curators are those magical people who appear to always find the most fascinating items, trends, and information in our news feeds. They ask inquiries in response to what they've read. They invite us to participate. They elicit thoughtful discussion. We get to know them as people who are enthusiastic, clever, and active in their fields of expertise as a result of this. They've earned a reputation as thought leaders.

5. Show up Authentically, Always

You'll undoubtedly agree with me when I say that LinkedIn is littered with "what not to do" examples of "attempts to develop thought leadership." I'm sure you'll see something if you look closely at the stinkers. The majority of those in your "worst of the worst" category are missing an essential component: genuineness.

People identify with—and purchase from—those they know, like, and trust. (In fact, 86 percent of consumers feel authenticity is vital when determining which brands to like and support.) And if you get too caught up in seeming all polished on LinkedIn (or any other social networking platform), you risk losing sight of who you are as an entrepreneur and a person.

Be strategic. However, if you're serious about using LinkedIn to build or confirm your thought leadership, you'll need to present yourself as the genuine article. Trust me when I say you'll be glad you did.

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