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Are you the founder of your own business? Perhaps you’re seeking to boost your visibility and generate eventual investor interest? Or are you focused on growing your career within an industry or organization? Maybe you’re in school preparing to find your first career entry? A mother that has been out of the workforce for a while but getting ready to return? Be it your own professional story or that of the business you’re working to tell, successful thought leadership is a key way to differentiate yourself and position your expertise while contributing to important topics that affect your industry. Without a doubt, thought leadership drives market leadership.

 

While many businesses and individuals continue to underestimate the impact of thought leadership, research by LinkedIn and Edelman reveals that decision makers are reading more thought leadership than ever, on average at least one hour per week (and some up to four or more hours), to gain insights and inform business decisions. Thought leadership not only attracts attention, but it can build demand. In fact, 55% of decision-makers use thought leadership to evaluate potential vendors and partners. Thought leadership helps generate RFP opportunities, win business opportunities, commands premium prices, and drives growth with existing customers. For employees, it can be a useful tool to elevate their careers by showing relevancy and ideas while starting conversations.

 

Where should you post your thought leadership?

Social media is always a hot topic in today’s digital landscape, yet LinkedIn is often the overlooked channel, with Instagram, Facebook and Twitter stealing all of the attention. While each has its own time and place, I’ve found LinkedIn an essential tool for helping me succeed at everything from networking to raising visibility for my work to connecting me with jobs and helping me surpass business goals along the way. As an active user of LinkedIn, I’ve amassed a strong following over the years and have learned first-hand what works (and what doesn’t!) when it comes to leveraging this platform to build thought leadership.

 

Here are my top tips for using LinkedIn to become a meaningful thought leader:

 

  • Short and sweet does the trick. Busy professionals prefer reading concise formats of thought leadership. Quick, smart content that captures people’s attention can be easily consumed while relaying your insight and expertise. Try to post timely, authentic perspectives that show your real self (and when possible your funniest self!). I always find that a little bit of humor goes a long way. People respond well to others who don’t take themselves too seriously. Witty, short opening captions are also a great way of grabbing people’s attention and I definitely suggest line spacing between short sentences to break up the content. This makes it so much easier on the eyes compared to long paragraphs.

 

 

  • Be relatable. Presenting a holistic self makes you way more relatable and engaging. While I always focus on staying appropriate for LinkedIn, I do incorporate some of my personal life, in a way that connects to a professional message that I want to share. For example, I shared about how I disconnected on a trip to Cuba to re-energize for 2019. It helped me find a renewed sense of energy for myself, my family, my friends and my network! Sometimes you have to disconnect to reconnect, and this was a message I thought was relevant not only on a personal level but also a professional level.

 

  • Engage regularly. Great insight and content will only get you so far if you don’t keep it up. Growing an engaged LinkedIn following and a strong network means interacting with that network—getting to know those contacts digitally, seeing what posts gain traction and what kind of insight they most appreciate. I like to post at least 2-3 times per week on my feed in order to keep things current.

 

  • Share the love. Don’t just post about yourself or your own opinions and expect others to interact with you on those posts. Engage with other people in your network, provide them with feedback and give a like to posts you find interesting and useful. Sharing the love is like paying it forward. Building goodwill with others always comes around full circle eventually.

 

  • Show your credibility. At the end of the day, people want to know that you’re worth their time, and this means you might need to prove it. I myself could talk a big game about my network of investment professionals that I bring to the table, but can I support that? I do this by sharing behind the scenes insight from my meetings and selfies with notable people. Sharing a behind-the-scenes look at what you do is a great way to illustrate your credibility. 


Grace Reyes is based in San Francisco, where she serves as president of the Association of Asian American Investment Managers (AAAIM), a non-profit organization promoting diversity and gender balance in the investment industry. You can find her on LinkedIn, where she actively engages with her followers. 

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