In 2013, I was in college at San Francisco State University, when one of my mentors mentioned that I should join LinkedIn. I had heard of the platform before but had never used it. Since I was working on my degree in health education and hoping to land a job when I graduated, she suggested it would be a good place to grow my professional brand.
At first, I’d post a few times a month, typically about articles that I read on public health or career-related topics. I wasn’t posting any original content at the time. Around the same time, I started a side hustle as a freelancer on Fiverr. I was charging $5 to do very easy and simple tasks for people, like reviewing their resumes and editing their About section on LinkedIn. A few months into my side hustle, I decided to create content about these services and post it on my LinkedIn profile. I shared posts about writing, resumes, and professional development. It helped me get clients since connections and fellow users started to see me as an expert in these areas.
In 2017, I decided to pursue my career coaching business full-time. That’s when I became serious about my LinkedIn strategy and became a LinkedIn influencer. I knew that my ideal client would be using the platform regularly. I started posting a few times a week and focused on career opportunities in the technology industry and mental health.
By 2019, I became a LinkedIn Top Voice and had over 150,000 followers. Currently, I have over 200,000 followers and use the platform as a main way of getting new clients for my career coaching business. Here’s what I’ve learned after six years as a LinkedIn creator.
Be human on the platform and not just a buttoned-up professional
One way that I stand out is that I post content around the travels my partner and I are doing and use photos of myself, or my partner when posting advice or tips.
When I became a LinkedIn influencer, I noticed that people gravitated even more toward my content and I appeared to them as more than just a person with a business. I use the platform to share my expertise, post articles that are valuable to read, and mix in personal touches too. The variety of content allows my audience to know me and have different things to look forward to reading and seeing when they visit the platform.
I create my content in real-time
While a lot of creators batch their content, I do not. Instead, I share content as it comes up. For example, if I’m working with a client and they share that they are struggling with something, like feeling burnt out in their industry, I’ll share a post identifying that pain point and advising as I see fit. Since my clients and my audience on LinkedIn typically fall into the same category—people working on changing their careers or getting a new job—the actual problems my clients are experiencing resonate with the audience.
While my content as a LinkedIn influencer is created and posted in real-time, I do make sure that I’m consistent. I like to post multiple times per week. However, it only takes me around five minutes to create content, so I don’t mind doing it this way. It works for me.
Ability to monetize
I don’t think it’s easy to monetize as a LinkedIn influencer because not everyone using the platform is expecting to see content around a creator’s products or services. Plus, people on there might not even realize you offer services unless you explicitly tell them. I believe I’ve been able to successfully monetize because I have very clear and specific offerings that solve my audience’s problems.
For example, as a career coach, my audience’s pain points are: that they are struggling to find a job, don’t know what they want to be, or want to know how to get a salary increase. I design a lot of my content around those challenges. I will regularly remind my audience that I do offer one-on-one sessions with people who want to work with me on these pain points on an individual and specific level.
Make sure you’re searchable on the platform
Aside from spending time curating content that brings value to my audience, the other way I’ve been able to grow on the platform is by making my content and profile searchable. People often go to the LinkedIn search bar and type in keywords to find people or topics that are interesting to them. For example, when people type in “career coach” or “career coaching,” my content will show up because I use those keywords often.
As a LinkedIn influencer, If you want to optimize your profile and content, pay attention to the words you use. You can use tools like Google keywords to find popular words people are searching for in your industry. Usually, they are using those keywords on LinkedIn too and you can embed those in your profile.
Grab people’s attention on the platform but don’t write clickbait
I’ve found that LinkedIn isn’t a platform that people linger on forever like Instagram or TikTok. A lot of people use it throughout the day in mini spurts of 15 or 20 minutes. Because of that, I’ve always found it important to grab their attention fast. I make sure the first few lines of my posts are catchy. I often use those sentences to try to capture the audience’s emotion, dig into what they care about, or bring up a pain point they might have.
For example, I recently posted about the feeling of burnout and the need to take a break. I started the post off with this catchy line: “I’m in recovery from work addiction.”
It’s also important to make sure your posts don’t sound like clickbait. If you keep writing posts that are sales-y or off-topic from what your introduction sentences shared, people will stop following you on the platform or not give your posts any attention.
I studied other creators and platforms to help me stand out on LinkedIn
I never took a LinkedIn course or did a lot of research about how to go viral on the platform. Instead, I kept a pulse on social media trends and creators and learned from them. I’m a big fan of Gary Vaynerchuck’s LinkedIn. He doesn’t post a ton, but a lot of his content is centered around documenting what you are creating. It inspired me to create more posts documenting my journey and reinforced my desire to create content in real-time.
I also don’t use TikTok as a content creator, but I often scroll through the platforms and read creator industry news to learn trends that I can then bring to LinkedIn. That’s how I started doing sponsored posts.
You have to truly understand your audience
The biggest mistake a lot of LinkedIn influencers make on the platform is that they don’t take the time to understand their audience. It’s important to figure out what their pain points are and what value they need from you. I’ve asked my audience, through questions and the poll feature, to tell me what they’d like me to post about. I’ll also ask friends of mine who are employed and unemployed to help me brainstorm topics to post about based on the struggles they have with their careers.
LinkedIn isn’t a platform that will bring you overnight success
I’ve noticed that creators come to LinkedIn and hope for overnight success. They post for a few weeks or a month and expect their content to take off. It’s going to take time to build a following, have people enjoy your posts enough to share them, and figure out what type of content is working.
But if you’ve ever wanted to start building your following on LinkedIn and become an influencer, I think it’s a great platform to try out. People might assume it’s already saturated with creators or that people don’t want to hear your advice but that’s not the case. There could be an audience of people on the platform who need your expertise and advice. So why not give it a try? I’m glad that I did because it changed the trajectory of my life and my career.