A LinkedIn influencer is a thought and industry leader within a particular niche.
In this guide, we’ll show you why becoming a LinkedIn influencer is so valuable, why it’s worth the time investment, and 5 steps to take if you want to become an influencer.
If you’ve seen posts like this go viral and wanted to make a splash with every single LinkedIn post you make you’ve come to the right place.
Now, before we get started, it’s important to note it’s next to impossible to become a top LinkedIn influencer overnight.
It takes a lot of time to create valuable content, be consistent with your postings, and build meaningful relationships with your audience.
But there are active steps you can take today that will pay off in a few months.
By the end of this guide, you’ll have a better idea of the type of content you should be creating and sharing, and what tools you should be using to boost your status as an influencer.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- How to Become a LinkedIn Influencer: Explained
- Top 10 LinkedIn Influencer Profile Examples
- 3 LinkedIn Tools to Become an Influencer
Ready to get started?
Here’s what you need to know:
How to Become a LinkedIn Influencer: Explained
LinkedIn influencers are content creators, authority figures with an audience, and value providers who build and maintain meaningful relationships with their followers.
To become an influencer on LinkedIn, here are 5 essential steps you should take:
- Define your brand.
- Create engaging, meaningful content for your audience.
- Stand out.
- Invest time in meaningful relationships.
- Consistently promote your content to increase your reach.
Easier said than done, you might be thinking.
Maybe. But what you need to know about becoming an influencer on LinkedIn is that it takes time.
So, as long as you consistently follow the 5 steps above, you should be growing your audience month-over-month.
We’ll cover examples of influencers doing this right below.
But until then, let’s take a deeper look into these steps and what it means to be an influencer, exactly.
Defining your brand
Did you know that, on average, online communities around your brand have an ROI of 6,469%?
If you were unsure if building a community or a following was worth it, you might want to strongly consider it.
A loyal community centered around your brand that boosts your organic traffic is one of the best ways to have high-quality leads come to you, instead of the other way around.
But to for this to happen, you first need to define your brand.
Chances are, you probably already have a personal brand.
A personal brand on LinkedIn is how people perceive you, the type of content you create, and how you position yourself.
A personal brand is also what makes you stand out. And in short, what makes you – you.
You’ll see some authority figures doing this right in the examples section below.
If you’re just starting out as an influencer, one of the best ways to gain huge traction is through meaningful and helpful content creation.
Consider creating a lead magnet and getting the word out to other influencers to either leave their thoughts or share your content.
If it’s actually valuable, many people will start sharing it organically without you having to ask.
Speaking from experience, this is what we did with our “5 Untapped LinkedIn Growth Strategies to TRIPLE your leads on LinkedIn” e-book.
We created a PDF with our top strategies that worked for us and gave it away for free.
But first, we made sure to share everything we knew that worked (so that the guide was practical and actionable), and then, contacted other influencers to leverage their brands.
This way, we built relationships with other influencers, causing them to share our PDF without having to ask, and directed our audiences to each other!
Another great benefit of building relationships with other influencers is the social proof.
When Expandi was still in its early stages, we reached out to a lot of influencers in the niche to get their thoughts on the tool.
Having another influencer in your industry approve your tools is a sign it works. And if you can use their word as your marketing material – even better!
Check out the full Expandi bootstrapped story to see how other micro-influencers helped us grow and other lessons learned in our journey.
How to stand out as a LinkedIn influencer
Here’s the thing:
There are MANY LinkedIn influencers out there.
We created our own list and provided examples of top influencers below.
But if you want your voice to be heard, you need to stand out.
Fortunately, there are many ways to do this.
- You can optimize your LinkedIn profile with a custom banner and profile image.
- Create content no one else is creating in your niche.
- Use different content promotion tactics and influencer tools we’ll cover below.
- Use humor and personality in your LinkedIn posts and content (we’ll cover examples of this below too).
- Shock, entertain and educate your audience so that you’re constantly on their mind.
People consume a lot of different content and look at different LinkedIn ads daily.
What are you doing that’s different?
Growing relationships with your audience as an influencer
As an influencer, your relationship with your audience is both fragile and very important.
On LinkedIn, people buy from influencers they know, like, and trust.
This is why you should put in the time and show that you care about your followers.
One of the worst things you can do as a personal brand on LinkedIn is to start pitching your services immediately after connecting with a prospect.
Cold messages like this show you’ve done no research and only want to jump into selling yourself.
What you should do instead to grow your relationship with your audience as an influencer first is that you should define the audience type you’re connecting with.
There are 4 main types of B2B audience types on LinkedIn:
- Engagers – People who are active and engage with your content, but will not buy from you.
- ICP – Ideal customer profile. Usually decision-makers or work under and report to the decision-makers.
- Event organizers – People organizing events you want to speak at or are relevant with growing your business in some other way.
- Co-Pilots – People who have the same audience as you but sell different solutions.
You should craft your pitch differently depending on the person you’re connecting with.
Increasing your reach through content
Consistently promoting your content is one of the best ways to increase your reach as an influencer.
But you shouldn’t always be sharing content related to your business or services.
People will get bored of it and your engagement might drop.
Instead, consider sharing content that aligns with your personal brand values. In other words, share what makes you happy and your audience might enjoy it as well.
- Inspirational content.
- Polls to gauge your audience’s interest.
- Your mistakes and lessons learned.
- Memes and humorous content (only occasionally).
- Personal news. Yes, you can be personal on LinkedIn as an influencer and still gain a ton of engagement. If anything, this is what makes you relatable as an influencer.
Now, let’s take a look at some top as well as lesser-known LinkedIn influencers who follow the above 5 steps with success.
Top 10 LinkedIn Influencer Profile Examples
One of the best ways to gain an understanding of what works on LinkedIn is to look at the current influencers who are consistently going viral.
Let’s take a look at some of the biggest names on LinkedIn as well as some smaller influencers who are slowly increasing their audience by the day.
Top 5 biggest influencers on LinkedIn
1. Bill Gates
Bill Gates is the single biggest influencer on LinkedIn with over 32,684,000+ followers as of now.
Though he needs no introduction, there’s a lot you can learn from the type of content he’s posting on LinkedIn.
That is to say, the type of content that’s both related to his personal brand as well as his worldwide philanthropic ventures.
Following him gives everyone an insight into his genius mind and how to share content based on your brand.
2. Richard Branson
Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin, is one of the biggest influencers on LinkedIn with well over 18,600,000+ followers.
With one of the most followers on the platform, Richard Branson covers all sorts of topics in his content: Virtual marathons, startup workshops, space travel, life advice, and so much more.
Give him a follow if you want examples of the type of content the biggest influencers on LinkedIn are focusing on to grow their brand even more.
3. Jeff Weiner
Jeff Weiner is a management expert and was the CEO of LinkedIn for 10+ years.
Now, on LinkedIn, he’s a strong influencer and authority figure on all things entrepreneurship, startups, online businesses, and more.
Follow him to see what type of content influencers often share that resonates with their audience and gain a ton of engagement.
4. Arianna Huffington
Arianna Huffington is the founder of Huffington Post and Thrive Global.
On LinkedIn, she shares content on entrepreneurship, media, startups, health, and more. Either content is written by herself or other big-time media influencers.
Following her on LinkedIn is a lesson in discovering what type of content people engage with on the platform that’s outside their main work industry.
5. Satya Nadella
Satya Nadella is the CEO of Microsoft on a mission to empower every person and organization to achieve more.
This can be seen in his content as he shares articles and videos related to what’s happening around the world currently.
Interestingly enough, some of his content comes from the Microsoft blog. Follow Satya to learn how to use business content that’s related to what people care about as an influencer.
Looking for more of the biggest LinkedIn influencers on the platform?
Check out the official LinkedIn’s top voices 10 other global influencers you might want to follow on the platform.
Now if you’re looking for influencers who might be more relatable to you, here’s a list of 5 other LinkedIn niche influencers mainly in the B2B and marketing fields.
5 Other LinkedIn influencers
These LinkedIn influencers combine different forms of content and regularly go viral with their posts.
With a fully optimized profile and high-quality content, there’s a lot you can learn from these influencers:
1. Sharon van Donkelaar – Expandi Chief Marketing Officer
Sharon van Donkelaar is the CMO of Expandi and she knows a thing or two about LinkedIn.
But aside from that, she’s also regularly sharing personal content, self-development, general marketing tips, and stories that helped her become who she is now.
Give her a follow and be sure to ask her about the Top 3 LinkedIn strategies PDF too!
2. Houston Golden – BAMC CEO
Houston Golden is the go-to LinkedIn influencer and entrepreneur who helps personal brands grow through LinkedIn.
Over at BAMF, Houston has a ton of case studies and resources on how to leverage LinkedIn to grow as an influencer.
And on his own profile, you’ll find a lot of content related to his personal brand – stories, mistakes, lessons learned, and more.
3. Ilya Azovtsev – Lemlist Growth Marketer
Ilya Azovtsev is a growth, T-shaped marketer, SaaS follower, and startup lover.
His content is as valuable as it comes as he’s constantly sharing guides to email outreach, sales automation, and more.
If you’ve ever wondered what’s the best way to share your valuable guides and resources as an influencer on LinkedIn, be sure to follow Ilya to learn how he does it.
4. Andrei Zinkevich – Fullfunnel Co-Founder
Andrei Zinkevich is the co-founder of Fullfunnel.io and ROIplan, among many other marketing projects.
As an all-around, full-funnel marketing expert, Andrei is constantly sharing marketing tips and value posts on strategies and demand generation.
Andrei’s posts are incredibly actionable and he’s managed to attain a strong organic following as an influencer.
Just so happens Andrei is a LinkedIn expert as well. Check out our article on best LinkedIn practices for some of his thoughts on social selling and demand generation.
5. Nick Kozmin – Salesprocess.io founder and SaaS entrepreneur
Nick Kozmin helps SaaS companies scale up at record speeds.
He’s an influencer and an expert on all things startups, scaling at scale, and building high-performing sales teams.
On LinkedIn, you can find Nick sharing different forms of content on what it takes to succeed. From sales to SaaS and startups, Nick is a true expert in his field and his content shows it.
Be sure to check out some proven LinkedIn summary examples to learn how to make your LinkedIn profile stand out as an influencer.
3 LinkedIn Tools to Become an Influencer
Now, you know what it means to be a LinkedIn influencer, what your brand stands for, and you have examples of influencers on LinkedIn for inspiration.
But we’re not done yet.
As helpful as those things are, you also need some growth-hacking LinkedIn tools to help you network and boost your reach as an influencer.
While these tools aren’t mandatory, they’re going to be a huge help in saving time and being efficient with your marketing.
Let’s take a look at a few.
Expandi, as you might have guessed, is the site you’re on.
Hear us out.
Expandi is the safest LinkedIn automation tool on the market that can help take your LinkedIn activity to the next level.
As an influencer, managing each connection, handcrafting each connection request, and remembering to follow up might take a lot of time in your busy schedule.
With Expandi, you can easily automate all of this and start networking on autopilot.
It’s the go-to tool for influencers and industry experts alike.
Because you can customize your outreach campaigns based on your objectives, Expandi is as versatile as you want it to be.
From complex omnichannel outreach flows to simply connecting with and messaging everyone who commented on your post – Expandi can do it all.
Lempod is the quintessential influencer tool that lets you get a TON of LinkedIn posts, views, likes, comments, and so on.
With the tool, you can join pods of people in your industry ready to support your content on LinkedIn and increase your reach.
So, once LinkedIn sees that a lot of new people are commenting on your posts almost immediately, the platform will help you out and increase your reach.
The LinkedIn algorithm takes all the engagement on your post as a positive signal and pushes the post so that more people see it.
3. Sales Navigator
You’ve probably heard of LinkedIn Sales Navigator by now.
It’s the premium version of LinkedIn that helps you target the right buyers, understand key insights, and help you engage your prospects.
For influencers, this can be a great way to filter down your ideal customer profiles and connect with other influencers.
Wondering if it’s worth it for you?
In short, if you’re already actively using LinkedIn and know you’re way around the platform, Sales Navigator can be worth it.
If not you can always check out the 1-month free trial and experiment with it.
Check out our article on using LinkedIn Sales Navigator to learn how to get the most out of it and if it’s worth it to you as an influencer.
To recap, becoming an influencer on Linkedin can be hard, but it’s not impossible.
You need to take the time, be consistent with your marketing, and make sure you’re following the 5 steps we’ve outlined in this guide:
- Define your brand.
- Create content.
- Stand out as an influencer.
- Grow and develop your relationship with your audience.
- Increase your reach and focus on content promotion.
While LinkedIn also has an invite-only LinkedIn influencer program for exclusive and global influencers, nothing is stopping you from becoming an influencer within your niche first.
Make sure you check out the tools we mentioned in this article too as they can be a huge help in boosting your authority as an influencer.
You can get started with the Expandi 7-day free trial today and use our outreach strategies to grow your network.
Then, you should be well on your way to becoming an influencer on autopilot using Expandi.