Have you ever noticed how brands that spend thousands a month on content regularly get outperformed on LinkedIn by their own employees who spend nothing?
Why does this happen?
I’ve got a few theories:
- People are more interested in what other people say than what brands say
- People can say / do more interesting stuff than brands
- Platforms limit brands’ organic reach to force them to buy ads
Businesses that want to grow a social following have their work cut out for them. Founders, by comparison, can build an audience pretty fast.
Here’s a piece of advice: if you’re a growing business (as opposed to a corporate), you should invest in building your founder’s audience.
Founders who become influencers get:
- Massive organic reach
- Interview requests
- Podcast appearances
Basically, your founder can get you free media on tap. Your brand will almost always have to pay for it.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t promote your brand. But money spent building your founder’s audience will pay itself back faster in the form of free media
Here’s a simple growth hack that will help you turn your founder into a LinkedIn influencer.
This will work better if your founder themselves does it. But founders are busy people and this will take up their time.
The most important thing is that the person doing it gets the conversational ‘give and take’ of social media. Interacting authentically on social without making everyone cringe is a skill.
Not everyone has it.
1 – Find the conversation
Every niche has an online community, usually made up of influencers and people that follow them.
Start by making a list of all the influencers in your niche. You can find them by searching relevant hashtags on LinkedIn and looking for the top-performing content.
Set aside time every day to check out the top-performing content in your niche. You’ll notice that it’s usually the same people posting content, with the same people popping up in the comments.
This is the community that you’re going to become a part of.
2 – Build your network
Commenting is way more important than most people realise. Sharing content is how you engage your audience. Commenting is how you grow it.
You’ll probably notice that the influencers in your niche will leave tons of comments. They’ll reply to people who comment on their posts and go out and comment on what others are doing.
You need to get into the same routine.
Start leaving comments on influencers’ posts. Don’t be cringe. Don’t promote yourself or your platform. Be positive, ask questions, answer questions, reply to others.
If you have a good interaction with someone, connect with them.
Spend about thirty minutes a day doing this. At the same time, try to make a note of the top-performing content / themes. You might even want to create a ‘swipefile’ where you post links to the best posts that you see.
3 – Start posting
You will now have a list of:
- Influencers in your niche
- People who are passionate about what you do
- Things that get people talking
Start creating content based on these three things.
Ask for followers / influencers to weigh in on relevant topics but don’t do this in every post. It’s pretty obvious when people are doing it to game the algorithm.
Here are the things that I’ve seen work the best:
- Use your own backstory and experiences to contextualise the advice you’re giving
- Downplay your own achievements and showcase the great work of others
- Add value for others without an agenda
If you need some inspiration, here are a few posts from my account that have performed pretty well. It’s worth noting that I definitely don’t consider myself some kind of influencer, but I have seen a lift in my stats since I started following the advice in this post:
- A quick story about a recent project
- A longer and more personal story
- Some very specific advice for a specific group of people
4 – Be consistent
At first you’ll find commenting and creating content hard. The longer you do this the better you’ll get and the more natural it will feel. Over time you’ll build up a natural sense of what should work and what won’t.
Although you’ll never for sure until it’s live…
Eventually, you’ll have formed relationships with all of the top influencers in your niche and have connected with hundreds of people who are passionate about what you do.
You’ll have become part of a community.
This process on its own will have increased awareness of you and your business.
But you can now leverage this audience to:
- Get speaking gigs
- Conduct research
- Co-create content
- Appear on other people’s channels
The key thing here is consistency.
Do this for a few weeks and you won’t see much impact. Do it for six months, you’ll be impressed. Do it for a year, you’ll be amazed.
If you’ve got any questions about anything I’ve mentioned, feel free to drop me a line and I’ll see if I can help.