In the world of social media, LinkedIn isn’t as hip or trendy as other platforms such as Instagram or Snapchat. With more than 562 million users, it has got a little more than half of the number of Instagram users and about a quarter of the number of users on Facebook. Influencers on LinkedIn aren’t going to start any fashion trends or introduce the world to the successor to avocado toast. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look for and find LinkedIn influencers.
LinkedIn is pretty good at doing what it claims to do and to living up to expectations. It bills itself as the “world’s largest professional network“. It gives its users plenty of opportunities to connect with others. And it helps them establish themselves as leaders and influencers in their fields.
LinkedIn influencers are different from influencers on Instagram, Snapchat, or Facebook. One might look at an Instagrammer’s follower count and engagement rate for an idea of their scope of influence. On LinkedIn, you’re more likely looking for demonstrable expertise and know-how in an influencer.
As Fast Company notes, it’s trickier to be a fake influence on LinkedIn. Influencers on the platform have some evidence such as longform posts or articles on a specific topic or demonstrable experience in a particular industry to back up their influencer claims. That’s not to say there aren’t fake LinkedIn profiles out there. However, usually it’s easier to spot the fakes and find the people who have real influence on the platform.
Why Find LinkedIn Influencers?
Why bother to find LinkedIn influencers? For the right sort of business or brand, LinkedIn is a better fit for influencer marketing than Instagram or other platforms. If your brand is focused on business or offers a service or product that is going to appeal to people in a specific industry, working with LinkedIn influencers is likely to provide a greater return on investment compared to working with influencers on another platform.
How to Find LinkedIn Influencers
There are multiple ways to find LinkedIn influencers. First, it’s important to understand that “influencer” has two meanings on the professional networking platform. LinkedIn has its own influencer program, appropriately called “LinkedIn Influencers.”
LinkedIn Influencers is an invitation-only program that highlights the thoughts and opinions of more than 500 influencers from around the world. LinkedIn’s official influencers have included the likes of Bill Gates and Richard Branson as well as some lesser known or more niche influencers. These influencers work with the platform and produce thought leadership articles and essays.
In addition to LinkedIn’s specially chosen influencers, there are plenty of other people on the platform who have experience, expertise, and influence that aren’t part of the official program. You can identify those influencers by doing a search for specific keywords relevant to your industry or brand, then by evaluating a potential influencer’s profile.
While only a select few can be invited to the official LinkedIn Influencers program, anyone with an account on the network is welcome to publish articles on the site. Those articles are connected to a user’s profile and can be found through a search, provided the user has made the articles public.
Confirming a person has published articles on LinkedIn and then reading them can give you an idea of whether or not they’re an influencer you’d want to work with. You want to pay attention to the quality of the article and what the person is saying through it.
You also want to look at how many other people are commenting on it, giving it a “thumbs up” or sharing it with their followers. If someone’s publishing a lot on LinkedIn but they’re not getting much or any traction, they’re not an influencer.
Manually Find LinkedIn Influencers
Now you know what it takes to be an influencer on LinkedIn. So how do you find influencers on the platform? There are two options. Plan A involves searching the platform itself. To follow Plan A, you’d take the following steps:
- Head to LinkedIn.
- Enter keywords or phrases that are relevant to your industry or your intended influencer campaign in the search box.
- You’ll get a list of people who fit those keywords and who are second level connections to you. (This means they have at least shared connection).
- View the profiles of people who interest you to get a better idea of who they are and what they do. They might have some articles available, which can provide you with more insight into how influential they are.
- Connect with the influencers who interest you. You can send a message to them through LinkedIn or ask to connect with them. When introducing yourself, give them the full details about what you’re after and why you think they are a good match.
- Wait to hear back. Some influencers will be happy to partner with you, others will decline, and a few might never respond.
Find LinkedIn Influencers With Software
With Plan A you need to hunt around for relevant influencers. When you do find them, they might not even be interested in working with you.
Plan B for finding influencers on LinkedIn involves using an influencer marketplace to search out people who are genuinely interested in influencer/brand partnerships. The key thing is to choose a marketplace that lets you search by platform and that includes LinkedIn. Not all do.
Use the marketplace to search for influencers on LinkedIn with specific keywords or phrases. You can also narrow down your search even further, looking for influencers based on geographic location and age range.
When you do find LinkedIn influencers using the marketplace, you can often contact them directly through the platform, saving yourself at least one step. Additionally, you can usually manage every other aspect of your influencer campaign through the marketplace and influencer marketing platform. This makes it easy for you to track the performance of your LinkedIn influencers. It allows you to verify that your influencer campaign is providing the results you expect.