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How to become a LinkedIn Influencer

Here's two Linkedin Influencers
Here's two Linkedin InfluencersPhoto by Neilson Barnard

One particularly exclusive group on LinkedIn consists of LinkedIn Influencers. These are people who LinkedIn recognizes as industry leaders having particular expertise and standing in their communities and who have shown an interest in publishing on the platform. Influencers are hand-selected by LinkedIn to engage with professionals through discussions on a variety of topics.

LinkedIn is one of the most popular social networks around for those interested in business connections and business development. It is often compared to Facebook, minus the occasional crudeness and often, the humor. Still, it is popular enough to reliably get listed in the top five social networking sites, usually behind leaders Facebook and Twitter.

LinkedIn is very useful for business research. Want some insights into public relations? Type it in the Groups search box and you’ll see a large listing pop up which you can narrow down to base on your connections. There are also alumni groups to help you get in touch with your alma mater or from jobs past. Many groups are open; others request some information about you before allowing you in.

LinkedIn Publishing Opening Up To All Members

The initial LinkedIn Influencers were industry superstars like Richard Branson and Ariana Huffington, to name just two whose names pop up a lot on my LinkedIn homepage. (Am I the only one who hears Huffington’s voice as I read her articles?)

But in February, LinkedIn announced it was opening up this powerful publishing soundboard to members to give them an opportunity to build or burnish their brands. It started by inviting 25,000 users who regularly post their work on the site and is inviting others to apply. It also added new Influencers who they somehow overlooked, including Suze Orman and the CEOs of Nissan and the AOL Brand Group.

Why open up to so many others? Well, perhaps it is a way to thank people who regularly add content to LinkedIn. It will no doubt encourage these 25,000 or so to visit the site even more often and perhaps evangelize it. Those who take up LinkedIn’s offer will have their content shared with far more than their immediate contacts; according to Social Media Today, there are about 225 million other potential readers who will see it along with your brother, cousin, and clients with whom you have Linked. This does not include the people who see your Tweets and Facebook business posts.

According to the LinkedIn Help Center, "[t]here is no longer an application process for LinkedIn Influencer. LinkedIn Influencer is invitation-only, so Influencers must be invited by LinkedIn to participate." If you were not part of the initial outreach or lucky enough to be one of approximately 500 current LinkedIn Influencers, you can apply directly to LinkedIn for early access to long-form publishing via their publishing platform. Otherwise, stay tuned for a notification on your homepage after LinkedIn rolls out the publishing tool feature to all members in the next few months.

A Few Rules For LinkedIn Influencers To Follow

Once you send a post to LinkedIn to publish, they will of course check it to ensure it follows their guidelines, which really are quite reasonable. SMT points out a couple of other items:

    • This is not an ad or marketing opportunity for your services. Do not mention your work except in context of the post topic. Sir Richard may write about his favorite space action movie, but he may not mention if it is on the Virgin Airways entertainment console or compare it to his space shuttle.
    • LinkedIn, on the other hand, can annotate to your content and sell advertising on your content page.

It is also a good idea to review LinkedIn’s official Community Guidelines, which is common sense; I wish the guidelines were more standard throughout the Internet.