Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
By building a strong network on LinkedIn, entrepreneurs can establish valuable connections, share insights and thought leadership, and establish themselves as industry experts.
I asked the people making the biggest waves on LinkedIn what they’re doing right. Here are their tips.
1. Share the real you
Gone are the days when LinkedIn was all about buttoned-up, conservative posts meant to show how professional you are. My own best-performing post was one where I included my first rejection letter—from when I was 12 years old—adding my thoughts about staying determined.
Honestly, I owe most of my success on Linked to Justin Welsh, the founder of The Diversified Solopreneur and creator of one of the most popular courses on LinkedIn around (it has helped over 10,000 students—including me—rack up 3,497,000,000+ impressions on LinkedIn).
According to Welsh, generic “Here’s how to be a better leader” content may have worked in yesteryear. Still, now that entrepreneurs have started flooding LinkedIn, it takes a lot more than the general stuff to get the right kind of follower.
“Everyone will share things like ‘The ten steps for this or that,'” he says. “But the person who writes things that show their unique journey will stand out and attract a sticky kind of follower that goes on that journey with them.”
Executive LinkedIn Trainer and Advisor, Tara Horstmeyer, believes that the emergence of AI means video, and going “live” will become more critical since video increases the authenticity angle.
“Any time you can get your face, your words, your voice, just your personality out there visually, it’s going to help,” she says.
On the other hand, Welsh avoids video and instead emphasizes writing posts that go against the grain.
“It’s not just about what you write about but also what you’re against,” he says. “I write a lot about building your own business as an entrepreneur, but I also write about the opposite of that, which is how I’m against the traditional nine-to-five. In a world of 4.9 billion Internet-connected people, contrarian viewpoints help you stand out.”
2. Remember that it’s human psychology first, algorithm second
Because LinkedIn consistently rolls out new features, it can be easy to be swayed by people who swear that the algorithm favors newsletters or content posted through scheduling platforms won’t be seen as widely. Ultimately, no algorithm can beat out a basic understanding of what makes people tick.
“Human beings have worked the same way for hundreds of years,” says Welsh. “The person that grows the most in 2023 will ride the wave of trends but also get the basics right by knowing their audience and their ideal customer profile, telling stories, being empathetic, learning copywriting, and understanding the customer journey.”
3. Engagement is the name of the game
While success on any social media platform involves interacting, on LinkedIn, it’s crucial. That means seeking out people like you and commenting on their posts, as opposed to just responding to comments that people make on your posts.
Still, it’s not just about tossing a thumbs up or writing “Great post” and going away. It’s about reading(sometimes quite long) posts and providing thoughtful responses.
An advantage to commenting on other people’s posts is that, according to Horstmeyer, “you find your voice, you find how you like to write, and you find your people.” The currency of LinkedIn is, she says, support and reciprocity. “That generosity you’re already giving is going to come back to you as people start to support your content,” she says.
Welsh agrees. “If you come in you drop a piece of really high-quality content and go away,you can still reap the rewards of publishing quality content but you won’t grow as fast or grow an audience as deep as if you interact on a regular basis,” he says.
4. Embrace the journey
Unlike TikTok, where one well-timed post can send you into virality, there are no get-big-quick schemes on LinkedIn. Welsh, who has over 340,000 followers and can attract thousands of comments and likes on his posts, has been showing up consistently for over four years.
Welsh and Horstmeyer each estimate that they spend between 45 minutes and an hour a day on LinkedIn, with their time divided into posting, replying to comments, and engaging with other people’s posts.
In the end, just like anything worth having, the unsexy act of showing up day after day is what’s going to be effective in 2023.
“I always tell people, ‘Removing friction from consistency is the most important thing,'” Welsh says. “So, for example, I like to write, so I write — every day.”