How to Win Friends and Influence People on LinkedIn
The road to 25,000 connections and infinitely more exposure.
In August 2018 I decided to give Linkedin a shot. As a coach and writer, I’d heard mixed things about the platform. I was under the impression that it wouldn’t do much for my business. From my experience, however, when it comes to career success, building relationships, and gaining a genuine following, few platforms can compete.
Over the last two years, I’ve not only gained 25K in followers, but I’ve tripled my coaching income, appeared on 150+ podcasts, and I’ve received hundreds of thousands of views of my content.
By increasing your social media presence, especially on LinkedIn, you can have more of a relationship with your customers. I’ve picked up some awesome insights as I’ve grown and achieved some influence on the platform. Here’s how you can too.
Selectively seek out particular micro-influencers
In order to effectively show up on LinkedIn, I thought it would be wise to emulate those who already had significant influence. But I didn’t want to follow people like Arianna Huffington or Marshall Goldsmith who had millions of followers. Their success was too distant. Rather, I focused my attention on people who had influence whose results were more attainable. They were closer to where I was on my journey.
Find people posting frequently who have between 10 and 30 thousand followers. Study their posts. Look at the way they respond to people’s comments. Comment on their posts with meaningful thoughts and questions as opposed to just a “nice post” or “love this!”
Muster up the courage to reach out to these micro-influencers. Personalize each message and share a specific post of theirs that you enjoyed most. Make a simple ask for a 15–20-minute chat to get some advice.
0% responded to my messages and agreed to share their stories. The funny thing about people is they love to help others if given a chance.
Connecting with these micro-influencers via phone did two main things for me. First, I understood exactly how and why they got to where they were on the platform. Second, they now knew who I was. So they were more likely to support my posts, upping my credibility and increasing my potential views on the platform.
Get involved in a pod
A pod is a small group of people who are supporting one another during their growth on a particular endeavor. Along with a group of Medium writers who were all looking to gain exposure on LinkedIn, I also decided to join a pre-existing pod of people with friends and influence on the site.
Seek out patterns. Notice the same people commenting on people’s posts in your feed. Then simply reach out to some of these people saying you enjoy their content. Invite them to be a part of your journey by forming a pod.
Once in the pod, I shared ideas. I edited posts. I commented, and liked, and supported whatever people were putting out there. In turn, others did the same for me.
Focus on others more than yourself
Once I began to post my own content on LinkedIn, I actually doubled my focus on other people. Before posting, I was analyzing and commenting on five posts a day. But when I transitioned to posting, I decided to comment on ten posts before sharing my own.
This will help you craft your own posts. It shows your commitment to helping others. People will see you’re showing up for them, not just for you.
When people begin to create content, it’s common to forget to consume it. I’d argue the exact opposite. Double down on how much you bring to others and in return, the reward will come back to you.
Additionally, my posts were often about other people. Whether I was quoting something they shared or sharing something they were promoting, my own personal growth journey on LinkedIn was largely rooted in supporting others.
Put out content that shows who you are, not what you do
I read an awesome study from an acting coach. Alexander M. Combstrong introduces himself to his students with two sets of accurate information. In the first set, he speaks about his celebrity friends, the places he’s been because of movies, the luxurious lifestyle he gets to experience.
In the second set, he talks about getting into acting because of crippling social anxiety. He vulnerably describes how he consistently thinks he’s not good enough and doesn’t belong where he is. He then asks his students which set they warm up to the most.
They pick the second set every single time.
Many aspiring influencers looking to make connections, network well, and grow a brand or business believe that flaunting their accomplishments will push them to greatness.
They’ll write about client success stories. They’ll show how many likes or views or comments their posts have gotten in the past. But this doesn’t create real influence. Rather, it creates further separation between the influencer and the influenced, making the influenced feel like they can never amount to what the influencer is doing. But this can’t be the case. Influence is about inspiration.
Something that greatly benefitted on LinkedIn was understanding and appreciating what other people were doing, and then going in the total opposite direction. Everything was about work, business, and profitability.
I focused on humanity. I posted videos of “cloud nine moments” where I’d share short clips of somebody describing the happiest moment in their lives.
I also had a consistent posting schedule.
- Mondays I shared a quote from somebody else in my network in an activity called #quoteyourconnections that I created with Michael Thompson and Niklas Göke and Brian Pennie.
- Tuesdays I shared cloud nine moments. I did the same on Thursday to spark positive energy.
- Wednesday’s varied, but I mostly updated people on my LinkedIn journey, encouraging them to go on one themselves.
- Fridays I asked a question and gathered insights from my connections to make them feel heard and empowered.
Respond to every comment. Read and answer every message. Reach out to people. Thank them personally for showing up on your feed time and time again. This leads to everlasting relationships and opportunities.
Show up no matter what
When I started my journey to win friends and influence people on LinkedIn, I made a pact with myself that I would show up Monday through Friday for a full year.
Despite travel, illness, or an urge to not click on that blue L on a particular morning, I’ve been on LinkedIn for at least 30 minutes a day for a full year straight.
Give people a sense of security. Let them know you will be there to listen, share, and inspire.
“Getting an audience is hard. Sustaining an audience is hard. It demands a consistency of thought, of purpose and of action over a long period of time.” — Bruce Springsteen
How to win friends and influence people anywhere
Whether on LinkedIn, when running your business or in the room at a networking event, becoming influential has a certain pattern to it.
- Study the people who are where you want to be.
- Connect and seek advice.
- Bring people along with you on your journey.
- Do what you can to support others.
- Don’t be overly self-promotional.
- Be vulnerable and share who you are.
If you do this consistently it’s only a matter of time before you build win-win relationships with the right people.
Sharing personal development through creative storytelling