Grow your LinkedIn influence in 5 steps

Establishing yourself as an influencer on the professional social network is a lot easier than you may think. Here’s how to do it.

Can positioning yourself as an influencer on LinkedIn really help you achieve your personal and professional goals?

You bet.

Building LinkedIn influence is the key to becoming both a trusted authority and likable expert.

The good news is not that many LinkedIn users are interested in building influence. That means you can stand out and take the lead.

LinkedIn doesn’t have to anoint you as an influencer for you to get started. You simply have to regularly engage in the activities that build influence.

Here are five tips to help you start growing your LinkedIn influence:

1. Create and share influential content on LinkedIn.

There are multiple opportunities to share your content on LinkedIn, such as status updates, group discussions and even sharing entire blog posts via the new LinkedIn Publishing Platform.

However, you don’t want to share just any old content. You want to share influential content.

How can you know if your content is influential?

Whether you are creating and sharing content that is relevant to your industry or content that has more universal appeal, your goal should be to help others solve a problem, achieve more or become smarter about something they care about.

Share content that:

  • Leads
  • Inspires
  • Teaches
  • Helps
  • Motivates
  • Empathizes
  • Empowers

Every piece of content you create and share on LinkedIn should bring tremendous value to your network. You want your members to feel compelled to share your content with their networks.

2. Build a rapport with your connections.

Building rapport makes you more memorable and likable. It also builds influence.

Here are some ways you can build rapport on LinkedIn:

  • Send personalized invitations and thank-you notes when you connect with others.
  • Comment on the posts of others in your network to engage in personal conversations.
  • Find common ground with your connections outside of business, and strike up a dialogue using the LinkedIn messaging feature.
  • Post a status update that mentions a few of your connections. (They will receive a notification that you mentioned them, and likely join the discussion.)

I recently posted a status update that mentioned some of the women I met at a women’s networking event in Dallas. The update simply said how much fun it was to spend time with some of the ladies who attended. Each of the women I mentioned in my update engaged in the discussion, which was then visible to each of their respective networks.

Engagement such as this not only helps you expand your visibility, but positions you as an influencer. You need to think about these small, rapport-building actions before others do, and do them.

3. Give to receive.

Reciprocity is a powerful tool, and one of my favorite ways to build influence on LinkedIn. The simple act of helping others positions you as an influencer.

Here are a few ways you can give on LinkedIn:

  • Promote your connections’ content by sharing it with your network. Make sure they know you are promoting them by using the LinkedIn @mention feature.
  • Introduce connections who can benefit from knowing one another. To get good at this, you need to listen, observe and understand your network members’ needs. Strive to be a connector.
  • Give your connections unsolicited recommendations and endorsements.
  • Listen and learn about what your connections are looking for, find a resource or the answer, and send it to them.

4. Build an intelligent network.

The more you grow your LinkedIn network, the more influential you can become. Why? As you grow your network, you will compound your visibility and reach more people with your content and actions.

Don’t build a random network; be strategic about it. Make sure there is a good reason to connect with someone, and evaluate those who want to connect with you.

A large LinkedIn network leads to more powerful networking. Networking is how you discover ideas, insights and opportunities that can lead to personal and professional growth.

As you grow your network, you will have a rich resource for fostering relationships between the right people. You can introduce, connect and refer the members of your network daily.

5. Connect with influencers.

These are the people within your industry who already have tremendous influence. They are the leaders in your industry who have vast networks and the ability to make things happen.

You will need to be creative to connect with these influencers. Don’t expect to simply send an invitation and receive a response. Strive to get on an influencer’s radar before you attempt to connect.

For example, I recently wrote a post for a popular blog, and highlighted one of my favorite industry influencers. To make sure she saw the post, I sent her a private InMail message with a link to the post. She quickly responded to express her gratitude. I sent her an invitation to connect right away. We are now connected.

Achieving influence on LinkedIn doesn’t happen overnight. You need to put in the time, energy and effort. Building influence is a daily practice, not a one-time campaign.

If you focus on building LinkedIn influence, in time you will begin to attract major opportunities that can catapult your career or your business.

Stephanie Sammons is a digital entrepreneur and founder of Wired Advisor, a professional financial advisor digital marketing platform. A version of this article originally appeared on Mark Schaefer’s blog, {grow}.

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