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How to Use LinkedIn for B2B Thought Leadership

Posted by Wendy Marx



(Updated: January 31, 2017)

With over 433 million registed LinkedIn users, there is no denying that LinkedIn is one of the most powerful tools in business -- especially for B2B thought leadership! According to a 2016 survey of LinkedIn, there are over 106 million unique members who who visit LinkedIn every month, and 40% of all users check LinkedIn on a daily basis. How can you leverage this network to position yourself as a thought leader?

If you've enjoyed this post in the past, we've updated it just for you. Learn about even more great ways to leverage content, SEO, and your own authenticity to establish thought leadership in your industry. 


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What is B2B Thought Leadership?                                                  B2B Thought Leadership

In the simplest of terms, the combination of thought and leadership makes up the foundation of a thought leader. By definition, a thought leader is “one whose views on a subject are taken to be authoritative and influential.” The bottom line is that anyone can become a thought leader by providing interesting, helpful and relevant information. People build relationships with and follow those they consider to be thought leaders in their field.

Becoming an authority in the field will pay off in higher recognition and trust --Bob Ruffolo


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How Can LinkedIn Expand My B2B Thought Leadership?


“One of the great things about LinkedIn is it isn’t the same kind of networking that happens at conventions, where you’re wearing a name tag, trying to meet strangers, and awkwardly attempting to make small talk. LinkedIn is networking without the pressure.” ~ Melanie B2B PR tips for LinkedINPinola 


Many people use LinkedIn as a professional networking tool which is perfectly fine. However, there is more to it than meets the eye. While B2B executives may be using their LinkedIn profile as an online resume, they neglect to focus on their personal brand and how they want to be perceived in the industry. This is where thought leadership comes into play. Here are some tips for using LinkedIn to position yourself as a B2B thought leader.

  • Determine how you want to be thought of. Think beyond your professional experience and consider how you want to be perceived. Do you want to be known as a particular type of expert? Call attention to these attributes by making them the focal point of your profile so that others can find you and easily discern what knowledge you bring to the table. If you want to see thought leadership firsthand on LinkedIn check out Facebook marketing expert, Mari Smith! 


Active participation on LinkedIn is the best way to say, ‘Look at me!’ without saying ‘Look at me!' - Bobby Darnell B2B PR Tips for LinkedIn


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  • Use Keywords. SEO isn't just for blogs anymore. It can be used in many places to boost your visibility -- especially LinkedIn! Determine what keywords will give you the best results and fit in with your thought leadership goals, and then use them throughout your profile and headline to reinforce your presence. 
This will make your profile more discoverable in LinkedIn (and Google) search results, and will hone in on who you are and what you specialize in. A great example of keywords put to good use is:
Kipp Bodnar of Hubspot's profile

If you search B2B marketing, you are bound to find Kipp. 

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Here are few keys to using keywords throughout LinkedIn to boost your visibility:

  • Choose 2-3 keywords that best fit your business and thought leadership goals.
  • Use these in your headline and throughout the body of your summary.
  • Personalize your URL to include a descriptive keyword -- it boosts SEO and makes you easier to find than janedoe3050.
  • Craft an appropriate headline. These are 120 characters of prime real estate! It's the first thing people will scan as they sift through the myriads of LinkedIn profiles. It can make the difference between a more thorough read, or a simple "pass." Make it relevant to your background and expertise -- but also make it stand out from the crowd, and as individual as you are.
You can probably imagine how many digital marketers, web developers, and entrepreneurs there are across LinkedIn. How do you stand out among this sea of blank faces? B2B influencer marketing is more powerful than ever, so you want to stand out as someone who is influential as a leader. 
Make your headline say more than the ordinary. Here are a few points that will boost your headline to grab any reader's attention:
  • Use three or four keywords that represent who you are and what you do.

  • Identify what decision-makers care about when looking for someone like you.

  • Be specific.

  • Be human.

Avoid tooting your own horn with titles like guru, visionary, or best in class -- it's better to let others describe you that way. Don't call yourself a professional -- it's one of those words that is so overused it has lost all meaning. And drop the "seeking new opportunities" -- it wreaks of desperation, and it won't catch anyone's attention.

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Here are a few examples to inspire you:

20+ years of experience providing financial security to thousands, and advising on their next big move.

I back up your company's data and deepest secrets before trojans (and their virus side-kicks) can invade your IT defenses.

I'm a copywriting wordsmith with the power to transform boring industry jargon into must-read works of art.

What will your next headline be?


  • Publish content on LinkedIn.  LinkedIn allows all users to publish content directly on the site. Plus, if enough people engage with your content -- read, share, like or comment on it -- it will be given a wider distribution and more visibility. This is a fantastic opportunity for B2B executives to share compelling content with their network and gain credibility. 

Here are a few points to keep in mind when you get ready to publish content on LinkedIn:

  • Publish content that is unique to LinkedIn -- don't just copy and paste from your blog.
  • Publish on a weekly basis -- enough to satisfy LinkedIn's algorithm, but not too much as to be considered spam.
  • Use visuals at the top of every post that will resonate with your audience.
  • Share your post inside and outside of LinkedIn's platform for maximum results.

Writing and publishing content is a key way to show off your thought leadership skills on and off of LinkedIn. Make sure you are leveraging this arrangement as much as possible.

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How to Publish B2B Content on LinkedIn

Over time your network will see you as the go-to person in your field...as long as your content is high quality! --Melanie Dodaro

  • Be authentic and credible. LinkedIn may be focused on business, but let’s not forget who is behind those businesses: people. Share content that shows you are relatable and credible. Showcase your amazing employees, or highlight some of the good things your company is doing to help customers.
Don't be afraid to share some personal details about yourself that make you more authentic and distinctive. Do you have a favorite hobby? A volunteer project? Passionate about a sports team? People will want to engage with you because they can personally relate to you and your brand.
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A Few Points to Keep In Mind...

  • Have clearly in mind how you want to be perceived by your audience.
  • Craft a headline that will get people's attention, and entice them to read more about you.
  • Publish leading content on your industry, and distribute it on and off of LinkedIn.
  • Be authentic and human in your approach throughout LinkedIn -- let people see the real you.

By implementing these best practices you can establish yourself as a “real” B2B thought leader that people want to hear from time and time again. With the right mix of a solid profile, shareable content and authenticity, you should be able to effectively utilize LinkedIn to truly demonstrate your B2B thought leadership.

What are you doing now on LinkedIn to advance your thought leadership? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below. 

And don't forget to snag your guide on how to create a LinkedIn company page below. Every powerful B2B thought leader should know how to rock LinkedIn for their brand, too!

And learn how to strengthen your PR strategy and transform your brand from anonymity to industry icon with our free Storypress Technique.


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Topics: LinkedIn, Thought Leadership

Dec 11, 2015