My LinkedIn followers are quickly approaching 10,000. Not bad for someone who isn’t famous. It’s taken a number of years and a lot of work but I’m carving out my niche. If I can do it, so can you.
What am I doing to consistently build my followers and connections? I’d say the number one thing is content. I’ve shared A LOT of content over the years: blog posts, articles for periodicals, videos, podcasts I’ve been on, and more. As the old parable of the tortoise and the hare teaches; slow and steady wins the race. There are no shortcuts. I started small and continually added new ways to share.
Content is king because it’s your opportunity to tap into the principle of authority. Authority in a nutshell says two people can say the very same thing but the person who is perceived to be an expert is the one who will be listened to and followed. Content is your opportunity to share your expertise and build your online presence.
People will reach out to connect with you when they believe you have something to offer that is of interest or might help them. But it’s not likely they’ll know about your skills, knowledge or expertise unless you’re consistently sharing online. There are lots of avenues for doing this and I’ve listed a few below.
Writing is a great way to organize your thoughts and share your insights. This can actually help your speaking opportunities when they come about because writing forces you to organize your thoughts. There are many ways to approach writing. Starting a blog, guest blogging for others, or writing articles for different websites are great ways to get the ball rolling.
Writing a book is an even bigger credibility factor. In fact, it’s huge! Writing a book has nothing to do with speaking but you’ll get more speaking engagements if you’ve published a book. Like a degree, a book is used in the selection process by many organizations looking for speakers. If you approach your writing opportunities in a thoughtful, systematic way you’ll be amazed at the content you’ll accumulate for your first book.
When people hear you articulate your thoughts that’s even more impactful than most writing opportunities. Two ways to get going here would be to start a podcast or connect with podcasters to get on their shows.
Podcasting is a natural next step in content sharing and it removes the fear of public speaking that so many get when they know all eyes are on them. Most podcasts I’ve been on are very conversational in nature so they’re fun and easy.
Make sure you have something worthwhile to say then target the right podcasts and audiences to get the most bang for the buck.
Take every opportunity you can to get in front of groups to speak! If you don’t like this because you get nervous then join Toastmasters or some other public speaking group. I see this as one step up from podcasts because, in addition to hearing you, people get to see you and that can make you more memorable. There’s an immense credibility factor that comes when you speak and carry yourself with confidence.
Whenever possible, record your presentations because you’ll be able to pull clips to showcase your skills online and with prospective clients. If you can’t get on stage, create your own videos, share clips of online courses you may have done, and look to get on shows that will be recorded.
A key to increasing your online network is to become a magnet for people. That means you have to be someone people want to reach out to. Your first step is to do whatever you can to showcase your expertise and content is tops in my book.
Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An author, TEDx speaker, international trainer, coach, and consultant, he’s one of only 20 people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the science of ethical influence.
Brian’s first book, Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical, was named one of the 100 Best Influence Books of All Time by BookAuthority. His second book, Persuasive Selling for Relationship Driven Insurance Agents, was a new release bestseller in several Amazon categories.
Brian’s LinkedIn Learning courses on the application of persuasion in sales and coaching have been viewed by more than 100,000 people around the world.