LinkedIn gets a bad rap for spammy messaging, worthless connections, and inauthentic sales tactics.
But this rap is misguided. Are there spammers misusing the platform? Sure. But the opportunity available to business leaders on LinkedIn is unmatched on social media.
With effort, consistency, and frequency, LinkedIn can provide leaders and their organizations with one of the most powerful people-driven business development resources at their disposal. You can broadcast your message to the most valuable audiences — buyers and decision-makers — while building credibility and influence before ever spending a dime.
While LinkedIn leans more B2B than other social networks, its purpose remains to connect people with people. When leveraged properly, you can build an audience and share content to effectively build a tuned-in digital community that you interact with every day.
The Value of a LinkedIn Following
Like any social network, a large following on LinkedIn brings a label of status or clout. The larger the number beside your name, the more credible you appear to new connections and those scanning your profile. That large following naturally makes it easier to broadcast your ideas and content to a large audience.
But these attributes are true of any social media network. More specifically, a large LinkedIn following provides value with several opportunities:
1. Reach a valuable audience
LinkedIn is unmatched in its ability to connect you with leaders and decision-makers in business. With the right content and connection strategy, the platform makes founders, CEOs, and high-level leaders more accessible than ever before.
2. Enhance B2B business development
Unlike other platforms, LinkedIn is unabashedly focused on fostering business to business relationships, networking, recruiting, and sales opportunities. With access to the right audience, there’s no better social network to begin the buyer’s journey.
3. Amplify content and messaging without a spend
LinkedIn has not adopted a “pay-to-play” advertising requirement for brands and publishers like some other social networks. For individuals, reach comes even more easily. As your audience grows, there are multiple tactics that we’ll discuss below to reach a high percentage of your following on a consistent basis.
4. Establish clout and credibility
Entrepreneurial idols and business moguls have been known to dominate with LinkedIn. The platform makes it possible to walk amongst them by interacting and building a valuable audience.
4 Steps to Build a Large Audience on LinkedIn
Just like there’s more than one way to peel an orange, there is more than one way to build a large following on LinkedIn. In this article, we share several tried and true tactics that are known to bring followers to your profile.
1. Post with consistency and frequency
Let’s start with consistency. Think about the people you follow on any social media network. The ones you constantly find in your feed, and seek out when you don’t.
Consistency builds audience habits
More than likely, they post… a lot. And they post consistently. Valuable followings aren’t built with a scattershot approach. By posting with consistency, you’ll build habits and expectations within your current and target audience. Your audience will come to expect and anticipate your content, looking forward to your next post.
Consistency signals that you’re holding up your end of the deal with your followers. It’s almost a transaction. They follow you under the expectation that you’ll post with the consistency you’ve previously exhibited. By continuing that, you’ll continue to build trust and loyalty with your current audience. In turn, they will expose you to more potential followers by engaging with and sharing your posts.
High frequency, high performance
While consistency is key, what about frequency? How much is enough? How much is too much? There’s no definitive answer, but for the very best users on LinkedIn, the answer looks something like… a lot.
We’re talking daily posts (or even multiple times daily) from your account. Again, it comes back to the silent agreement between you and your audience. If they see you every day, you stay top of mind, and they continue to seek out your content.
It can be a fine line between posting frequently enough and posting too much. But finding the balance and committing to doing it with consistency is the key to step one of building a valuable LinkedIn audience.
2. Get personal and provide value
A common pitfall on LinkedIn is a belief that it’s all about “the brand.” Speaking generally, that means sharing experiences and accomplishments in an over-polished presentation of what matters to you.
Your audience doesn’t care about the award you just won, the big announcement from your company, or your handshake with Gary Vee at whatever industry conference you attended. There can be a time and place for brand building and business development-focused content, but you have to provide value first.
Start with empathy
You need to first appeal to your audience by sharing what matters to them.
Why do people follow you in the first place? By understanding who your audience is, the challenges they face, and the problems they’re trying to solve, you’ll have the tools to create content that is truly valuable to them.
Show your personality
Nobody wants to talk to a brand. There’s a reason that people out-engage brand channels on social media by 10X. Rather than communicating like you’re reading your company’s brand guide, instead, be open and personable. It’s okay, good even, to share emotion, opinion, and vulnerability.
Your audience wants to relate to you. They want to understand your problems and learn from your solutions. the best personalities on social media are able to communicate wholly as themselves. Your audience will learn to connect with you a person — not an account.
Help at all costs
All users on the internet are trying to do one of four things: go, know, do, or buy. On social, know is the most common destination. Being that your audience has made the decision to follow you, they likely want to know what you know. This is your opportunity to help.
By understanding their challenges and problems that need solving, you can draw from your experience to tell stories that will help your followers.
So, discuss your own challenges and describe the solutions you have used to overcome them. Ask questions and direct conversation in your mentions. Share tips and tricks and that have helped you along the way. Above all else, keep your ear to the ground and work to provide the content that appeals to why your audience followed you in the first place.
3. Help first, sell (way) later
The business development opportunity with LinkedIn is massive and there’s no doubt that building a large following will help you realize it. But if you go in selling on Day-1, that audience will never come.
Instead: give. And give. And give.
Eventually, ask for the opportunity to sell. Before ever pushing a promotion or offering a sale, you have to build trust with your audience.
You get there by providing value, offering help, and connecting with followers both widespread and one-to-one (think: private messages).
Once that trust is built, the opportunity to use your channel for business development will be far stronger than a stream of constant sales messages.
4. Keep content focused, but fresh
Just like you get tired of watching the same SportsCenter segment hour after hour, social media audiences quickly tire of seeing the same content from the same individual. We all follow somebody who posts with frequency and consistency, but… it’s all communicating the same thing and looks the same way.
At the same time, your content can’t be scattershot. Your audience follows you for a reason. And it’s likely that reason is pretty specific. If your audience follows you for expertise and tips on how to build a business, they probably don’t want your takes on the Jordan vs. LeBron debate.
Emphasize content your audience engages with
It won’t be hard to discover what your audience follows you for. Check out your engagement metrics and double down on the themes that consistently over-perform.
By focusing on those themes, you will ensure that you’re hitting the topics that your audience showed up for in the first place. You can guide your followers to adjacent topics, but look to maintain consistency to keep your audience coming back for more.
Keep content fresh with new formats
While consistency is key and you’re continuously sharing new, valuable information, diversifying your content types can help you optimize content for your current audience, and appeal to potential new followers.
If you typically only share in long-form paragraphs, try using lists or rankings. Extend the lifespan and value of written content by translating it to rich media — using it as a script for quick videos, or highlighting key points in visual graphics. Doing this will maximize the longterm value of what you produce, and may lead to finding new content types that perform best on your channel.
Look off-channel to expand your audience
Your reach doesn’t have to stop with your current follower count. By finding influential people who engage with topics and themes similar to your own, you can access and intrigue their audience.
To do this, make a list of influential individuals whose audiences overlap with your target audience. Keep tabs on these individuals. When they share a post that fits your expertise or opinion, comment in as much depth and personality as possible. The more valuable your comment, the more of their followers will see it and potentially click to follow you.
Start Building A Valuable LinkedIn Audience
The opportunity for you and leaders in your organization to win with LinkedIn is very real, and very accessible. That’s why we built a solution to help your whole team publish posts and measure performance. It’s never been easier to start building your LinkedIn following.