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7 Strategies To Grow Your Audience with LinkedIn

December 27, 2023

Written by
Steven Janiak

LinkedIn profile on laptop and iphone

When was the last time someone said to you, “here, let me give you my card?” And you watched as they reached into their wallet, purse, or padfolio to produce a tiny piece of cardstock containing their business information and how you can contact them?

Chances are, it’s been a while.

The reality is, business cards are increasingly going extinct and being replaced by websites and/or LinkedIn profiles. These digital portfolios have quickly become the new way to establish yourself online and share more about yourself with potential connections and clients.

So, my next question to you is, “are you on LinkedIn?” If the answer is no, then my follow-up to that is, “what are you waiting for?” LinkedIn hit a milestone in 2023 when it celebrated 20 years since its launch into the world wide web. And in the time since, LinkedIn has vastly changed from its roots of being known solely as a place to share resumes and apply for jobs.

LinkedIn maintains its professional pursuits of helping connect people to other business professionals and opportunities. But it now offers much more than it did 15, 10, or even 5 years ago.

Depending on your business or industry, you may feel like LinkedIn is not important for your marketing initiatives or goals. For example, an orthodontist is likely to find his most valuable social media network is Facebook or Instagram. That’s where his soccer mom target audience is most active.

Another network may be highly successful in helping grow your (retail) sales, especially by getting your content in front of the most appropriate consumer audience. However, I want to encourage you not to sleep on the idea of utilizing LinkedIn as well.

At Advantage Media, we see the value of establishing and developing your own personal brand presence to stand on its own — independent of your business website(s). An optimal place to do this is on LinkedIn.

Insider note: If you want more PR opportunities, then you need to be active on LinkedIn. Many journalists, producers, contributors, and editors are using LinkedIn as a resource to validate the quality and authenticity of a subject expert (aka you!). This is a common practice they execute prior to reaching out to potential experts or their PR manager for a media opportunity.

Many entrepreneurs want to become authors, speakers, or consultants that go beyond their current business scope. LinkedIn is the prime place for showcasing what you bring to the table while sharing your content and services with professionals who are keen to learn from your expertise.

But as with most things in life, doing something halfway can sometimes be more of a deterrent than an asset. This is why it’s crucial to have a few things in mind and at play to make your LinkedIn presence the best it can be.

How To Grow Your Audience on LinkedIn

There is little point in being on LinkedIn if you’re not active and willing to be a resourceful tool for others. Having a profile that is barely filled in and only has re-posted content that’s shared maybe once a quarter is about as useful as having an outdated business card at this point.

So many people think of LinkedIn profiles as a resume page. But that’s the LinkedIn of 10 years ago! The LinkedIn of today is much more about education, support, and growth.

So, here are a few key strategies that you can begin implementing today to dominate the LinkedIn game.

1. Have a Complete, Optimized Profile

You would not believe the amount of successful business leaders who don’t have the first clue what they’re doing on LinkedIn or how to best use it to their advantage. Don’t feel alone if you’re neglecting your LinkedIn presence. It’s a common issue.

Your LinkedIn profile is like a first impression. You only have 30 seconds to grab someone’s attention and entice them to want to know more. Because of this, there should be a significant emphasis placed on the value of creating and using quality assets (principally, high-resolution imagery).

Displaying High-Quality Assets

When someone first loads the page that holds your LinkedIn profile, are they easily able to get a sense of your brand and who you are from the imagery and content that you’ve shared?

If you’re unsure, then the answer is likely a hard ‘no.’ But that’s okay! I often recommend that one of the first places my marketing clients focus their attention is on creating high-quality assets (like photos, videos, and brand guidelines). It’s vital that these elements are able to inform, influence, and cement their digital presence across multiple platforms or websites.

Header images can showcase more branding elements, like names, colors, taglines, book renderings, or larger-scale images. Just make sure the graphic you choose is not too crowded or busy. Note that when you’re selecting or creating imagery for your profile, quality is very important.

Choosing Imagery

Don’t choose a photo of you speaking on a stage from 10 years ago that’s distant and pixelated simply because you want to showcase that you’re a speaker. If you don’t have higher quality, recent assets available at the moment, then stage a few!

Find a stage, platform, head of a conference room or auditorium, employ a professional photographer, and hold a mic while walking around talking, smiling, and gesturing. The photographer can frame the photos to where the focus is on you (with no one knowing that you were speaking to an empty room).

As for profile pictures, depending on your personal brand and your target audience, you may choose to have a little more fun with your profile pic as a way of showcasing your personality. This can be nice when used appropriately. But don’t feel the need to liven up your profile picture if it doesn’t seem natural to you.

Just make sure that whatever photo you use was taken within the last three years, is high resolution, and is no wider than your diaphragm upwards. Also, be mindful not to have too much dead space above your head and avoid cropping off your head or hair in the frame.

Utilizing Available LinkedIn Sections

Besides appearance, thoroughly filling out your profile with information in all available sections is important.
Did you know that these are available sections that can be added or updated on your profile?

  • Headline
  • Featured
  • About
  • Experience
  • Education
  • Licenses/Certifications
  • Projects
  • Courses
  • Volunteering
  • Skills
  • Recommendations
  • Honors & Awards
  • Publications
  • Patents
  • Languages
  • Organizations
  • Interests
  • Causes

While we’re filling in sections, remember to make sure everything you are writing is something not just a select few but, hopefully, most of your target audience will take the time to read. Even the most tenured professionals can sometimes have a very short attention span.

Remember this not only when you’re filling out your profile but also when you’re crafting the content that you share on the platform. What good does writing all this out and inputting it into the platform if no one is going to take the time to read it?

There are a few things you can do to help them want to spend more time on the page. And, just in case you want to optionally add a resume to your LinkedIn profile, here’s a helpful article to show you how.

Optimizing Your Bio

Here are four golden rules when writing your bio for the ‘About’ section:

  1. Start with an attention-grabbing first line.
  2. Write in first person; people want to get to know you. Writing in third person gives the impression that users are not engaging with you personally but rather with the person who manages your profile.
  3. Keep it snappy. Don’t drag on mercilessly. Users don’t need your whole life’s story — just the highlights and how they shaped you into the person you are today.
  4. Make sure you share what you can offer to a viewer that would be beneficial to them and encourage them to connect with or follow you.

2. Create Share-Worthy LinkedIn Content

Just like any other social network, content is king on LinkedIn. Some people log in to LinkedIn multiple times a week and organically create and publish content on their page(s). While others, mostly those who are still unsure of the value that LinkedIn can have, login much more sparingly.

Whether you’re the one logging in once a day or once a week, here are a few ideas you can incorporate into your content to help ensure you’re serving your audience with well-rounded information or thought-provoking questions.

  • Quality over quantity. It’s much more valuable to post less content that is more curated and high-quality versus sharing content just for the sake of sharing something.
  • Unique but factual information. Hopefully, you’re the leader influencing other people’s content. But even when other subject experts in your industry are talking about a certain topic, if it’s highly important, then perhaps you should cover it as well. Just make sure the information you’re sharing is unique to you and your expertise.
  • Try to find a few areas within the topic that you can highlight that others may not be as well-versed on. This will give you a leg up on the “competition.”
  • Topical and relevant. If news is happening that concerns your industry or profession, then make sure you’re on the front lines covering it. Share your insights and takeaways from the updates or headlines being shared, and talk about how they might affect your audience directly.
  • Consistency. I don’t want to stress too much that you need to post X amount of times per week. Your posting cadence should be consistent, but it should also feel organic and authentic to you.

Choose whether to post twice or six times a week, then commit to maintaining the established posting frequency for consistency. Your audience needs to know that you’re going to show up regularly, equipped with valuable information and insights. This is what keeps them coming back.

3. Publish Targeted Thought Leadership Articles

If you have a blog page on your website, then you may have shared a post on LinkedIn, letting your connections or followers know that you’ve written a new article and shared a link to the URL.

My initial reaction is I’m thrilled to hear that you’re creating long-form content and publishing it online. My second thought is to inform you that there’s actually a better way to share long-form articles on LinkedIn.

You can publish long-form content natively on LinkedIn.

If you’re thinking that you would rather stick with posting a URL so you can direct traffic to your website, well, that’s an option. But not necessarily the right one.

Sharing a URL that takes users off of the LinkedIn platform will not be favored by the LinkedIn algorithm. Whereas, if you natively publish articles on the LinkedIn platform, then they’re more likely to be circulated.

Creating Value-Driven Thought Leadership Content

As far as what types of long-form content to share, the same rules mentioned above for creating short-from content also apply to blogs and articles. Besides those recommendations, consider what information users are looking for in preparing your article topics.

If your audience is actively looking for certain useful resources, value-driven information, or trending updates, then you should be the one delivering it to them. Reframe the information or condense it to be more easily digestible. This will help you become the voice your audience chooses to listen to, learn from, or better understand the subject at hand.

By creating long-form content, you’re able to showcase your expertise at a more in-depth level than you can effectively do with short-form posts. And before hitting publish on your article, make sure you’ve optimized your article for search. If you’re wondering if it’s a good idea to publish articles on both your personal brand website and on LinkedIn — the answer is yes.

Just because content is being published on your website doesn’t mean you can’t also repurpose it to share on LinkedIn as well. The important thing to remember is that whichever article you post first could be “crawled” first for search engine relevance and ranking.

So, if you want your website to have a better chance of being the domain authority for the article you are sharing, it’s best to publish it on your website first. Once you’ve published the page, submit it to be crawled by Google before publishing it on LinkedIn.

4. Build Relationships Through Engagement

Now you’ve got the foundational elements in place of updating your profile and crafting curated content. Next up, let’s tackle the question on most users’ minds, “How do I increase my social media engagement?”

Honestly, one of the best ways to increase engagement is to hone the content that you’re creating and sharing.

Don’t limit yourself to only creating content for your current following, as you’re likely starting out with a smaller following of close colleagues and friends. And they may not be your ideal target audience. Widen the range of content that you share to appeal to your target audience — even if your target audience isn’t necessarily following you just yet. Consider the famous Field of Dreams quote, “If you build it, they will come.” Similar can be said of creating the right content and putting it in front of the right audience.

Reaching New Audiences

Some steps that you can take to help your content reach new audiences is by commenting and reacting to other people’s content. But it’s important that you do this strategically. Simply sharing impersonal statements like “nice post,” “congratulations,” or “good article” won’t help extend your reach. It’s best to take time to write thoughtful responses to content that shares genuine well wishes, reflects on shared experiences, adds to the conversation, or encourages connecting.

When commenting on a third-party article or news bulletin, it’s important to take the opportunity to “newsjack” the article by sharing it on your own profile but adding in your own take on the subject, contributing additional points to consider, and/or putting your own narrative into the mix. If you share insightful information and takeaways, then people are more likely to remember you and recognize you as an expert worth listening to.

Additional ways to engage new audiences include joining relevant LinkedIn Groups to connect with those in the industry you’re targeting. But I want to caution you against using Messenger for initiating conversations. This has increasingly become an avenue for some users to pitch their services, which makes most users associate messaging with spam.

Build time into your week for responding to comments and questions. Having time dedicated to reaching out to new audiences or individuals whom you find in line with your brand and messaging is important.

5. Harness the Power of Creator Mode

LinkedIn has quite a few tools you can use to give your presence a boost. One of these tools is Creator Mode. LinkedIn states that Creator Mode is a “profile setting that can help you grow your reach and influence on LinkedIn.” It raises the status of your profile to that of an influencer or content leader. This is a free feature that opens your profile up to new tools and features, like:

  • LinkedIn Live
  • Audio Events
  • Newsletters
  • Follow link

The most popular features to use are LinkedIn lives and newsletters. Even if you’re going live with a webinar on Zoom, you can still sync the feed to LinkedIn so that you’re also live from your LinkedIn profile.

Don’t forget to create a LinkedIn live event and promote it before, during, and even after the event to optimize how many people watch the event.

While native newsletters can be a popular way to engage users further on LinkedIn, there is one rather large thing to consider. You won’t own your contacts. The people who follow or “subscribe” to your newsletter are doing so using their LinkedIn profile, and therefore, you don’t own their contact information.

So you won’t be able to use your LinkedIn newsletter subscribers for outside email efforts… at least not ethically, anyway.

6. Use LinkedIn Ads Effectively

LinkedIn ads are a great option for boosting awareness, driving traffic, and even generating leads. Even if you only have a small following, ads are a solid path to reaching new audiences and fueling traffic or awareness for your business, website, and/or profile.

Digital advertising is often the easiest way to see results regardless of your goal(s). Ads can help promote a book, your speaking services, circulate a media placement, or drive traffic to your website.

I would be remiss not to mention that it is still important to implement strategies 1 through 4 before incorporating ads into your social media plan. The quality of your profile/page and content can affect your ad’s delivery and engagement.

Ensure that you have a profile worth visiting before putting ad dollars into the mix. There is value in seeking the help and expertise of a seasoned digital advertiser to help run your ad campaigns. They will also know how to best analyze the data from the campaigns in order to grow and optimize your results.

7. Analyze and Refine Based on Insights

Data and analytics are equally important to assess for your LinkedIn profile and content as well. I will say the analytics that LinkedIn shares are not the most robust compared to other social media platforms, namely Facebook. However, some data is better than no data at all.

Make sure you pay attention to the content that is gaining more impressions (views), reactions, and comments. If you can correlate higher engagement with certain types of posts, then those insights can inform your content calendar.

Incorporate those types of content in your plan for the month ahead. You can always A/B test content and messaging to see what circulates most and seems to resonate best with your target audience.

You can also assess data from other platforms like your website analytics. It’s helpful to gauge how many users were led to your website from your LinkedIn profile. You can assess your email circulation data to learn if your contacts are visiting your LinkedIn page via your emails and newsletters.

Be open to any opportunities or ideas that come to light by analyzing the data you have. Don’t shy away from shifting your LinkedIn strategy based on data.

Final Thoughts On Growing Your LinkedIn Audience

By this point, you should be well-equipped with the strategies that you need to implement to take your profile from novice to all-star status. A quick checklist to ensure you’re on your way to becoming a LinkedIn expert.

  • Have a Complete, Optimized Profile
  • Create Share-Worthy LinkedIn Content
  • Publish Targeted Thought Leadership Articles
  • Build Relationships Through Engagement
  • Harness the Power of Creator Mode
  • Use LinkedIn Ads Effectively
  • Analyze and Refine Based on Insights

And here are a few last tips…

  • Focus on sharing more of yourself… get real, be (tactfully) vulnerable, and share your insights and resources.
  • Employ an organic, value-driven approach to content creation.
  • Maintain an active presence and engagement over time. Unfortunately, social media isn’t something you can just set up and be done with. It requires attention and care if you want to achieve optimal results.
  • Don’t be afraid to try new things, even if they seem unfamiliar or intimidating to you. If you don’t feel like this is something you can fully spearhead on your own, connect with our team. We’re happy to help you gain a head start on effectively using LinkedIn.

Depending on your comfort level with social media, you may have just read this article and been thinking about how you can incorporate these recommendations or shift some of your practices to become more effective. But if you read this and you’re feeling overwhelmed and lost as to where to start, don’t worry — we at Advantage Media are here to help.

Whether you’re an avid social media user, taking your digital presence to the next level, or social media is like speaking a foreign language, don’t let your current status define or restrict you.

Please connect with our team and let us know what you’re looking for help with, and we can steer you in the right direction with resources or services that can set you up for continued success. You’ve got this!

Steven Janiak

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