On Message: How to use LinkedIn to build thought leadership

Carine Umuhumuza, Devex associate director of communications, and Molly Murphy, marketing account executive and account manager at LinkedIn, discuss using LinkedIn to build thought leadership.

It’s easier than ever to build thought leadership on your own terms. With easy-to-use, mostly free and social micropublishing tools, you can wax poetic to the masses. But not all platforms are created equal.

Out of the top three social media platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, LinkedIn stands out as the premier place to build thought leadership as a professional across many sectors.

Why? For one, it’s the most trusted social media platform, according to the 2018 Business Insider Digital Trust Report. It’s also the most “socially-acceptable” platform to be on at work. In fact, more than 58 percent of Washington insiders from Capitol Hill, federal agencies, and the private sector surveyed by the National Journal used LinkedIn “as part of their work” in the past six months.

Here are four ways to build thought leadership on LinkedIn:

Global development experts on LinkedIn

Bill Gates
Jim Kim
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
Christine Lagarde

1. Share authentically

We live in the age of the personality. On social, don’t be afraid to show yours alongside your expertise. Whether it’s candid pessimism or your commitment to female empowerment, always aim to share authentically.

2. Master the art of content planning

What might start out as a status update on an article or a current event can often be easily converted into a short post. Leverage engagement on your statuses and turn the dialogue into longer form thought pieces — think 300-500 words — by using the “article” tool to provide context, rich examples, and resources.

3. Optimize a LinkedIn user's time

LinkedIn users are two times more intent driven than other social media users. According to Molly Murphy, marketing account executive at LinkedIn, users come to the platform, mostly during work hours, to gain knowledge and to get insights into how they can do their work more efficiently. Use the platform professionally and leave your followers with practical takeaways.

4. Engage with like-minded professionals

As with most social platforms, the aim is to be “social.” Comment on posts, repost, and share the work of other professionals you admire and are inspired by. They will likely return the favor and in turn, grow your visibility and audience.

About the author

  • Carine Umuhumuza

    Carine Umuhumuza is a former associate director of communications at Devex, where she wrote about the latest trends, tips, and insights on media and communications for the global development community. Previously, Carine led digital initiatives at Devex for development agencies, major corporations, NGOs, and social enterprises.