LinkedIn Thought Leadership 101

The business-focused Social Media tool is an underrated asset when it comes to reaching your audience, and a core set of concepts will help you get the most out of your interactions.

When we all think of social media, we all think of the more recreational players in the space, such as Facebook, X, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. And without a doubt, these are some of the primary conversation drivers out there. There is a great deal of utility for these platforms not only in our everyday lives but also in spreading awareness of SMACNA chapters and the work being done by their members.

However, one tool should have been mentioned in that initial listing- LinkedIn. The social network is designed for professionals. LinkedIn has a very narrow focus, allowing individuals to communicate and express their views on critical topics and connect with their peers throughout the business world. This singular focus binds LinkedIn to a particular space but could also prove its greatest strength. The key is figuring out a strategy to harness its potential. 

What’s a good starting point? According to Forbes, some foundational ideas include sharing relevant information/articles from some of the luminaries in a particular space and sharing the occasional inspirational quote that your readership may find enlightening and motivational.

However, simply just sharing content produced by others is only the start. To become a thought leader, you must actually…well…lead. Where do you start? It comes down to being a driver of the conversation and encouraging peers to interact with your profile. As a Chapter Executive, several opportunities exist to promote this engagement. If you would like to engage your membership on a topic of conversation, perhaps you can create a poll that will help you measure the temperature of your membership. Another great avenue is to generate your content on your chapter’s website and then share it on your profile. The key is authoring the post itself. The post itself should be asking a question. In this instance, leadership is not mindlessly making an assertion; it is providing a forum where you have the courage to encourage discussion on a topic in a forum where your members feel like their opinions are valued. LinkedIn is an excellent avenue for this type of engagement.

Entrepreneur also brings attention to one other essential facet of LinkedIn thought leadership- generating regular content that your members can expect to arrive promptly. One of the biggest pitfalls emerging thought leaders run into is starting strong but slowing down as the grind becomes apparent. Audiences want to know when they can expect content. The reader becomes annoyed, numb, and disengaged if a content creator needs to catch up on this cadence. One of the solutions that Entrepreneur recommends is creating a LinkedIn newsletter that is published on a regular cycle. By doing this, you can set a schedule you can follow while your readers build trust that they can depend on a regular dose of thought leadership from someone they view as an expert.

Finally, don’t be afraid to show off some of your memberships wins along with some of your own. Humble, servant leadership is something that we should all aspire to, but your members also want to see results for their investment. Highlight some of the activities that your chapter is doing and their work, but if you as an executive accomplish something…the instinct might be to keep it under wraps to not give the impression that its all about you. However, your membership installed you to accomplish big things. Don’t be afraid to highlight when you accomplish those big things. Just be sure to exercise proper judgement when it comes to timing.

These simple strategies seem like common sense but thought leadership is a process, and any sound process requires focus, diligence, and regularity. By getting yourself in the habit of doing the little things that count, you will set yourself up to become a voice of reason in an ever more crowded landscape.