Part of finding investors through LinkedIn entails having a robust personal profile and company page demonstrating thought leadership. A profile detailing your accomplishments and knowledge of your industry creates trust and shows your knowledge is up to date on industry trends. This inspires investors to take a chance and engage with you.
What is Thought Leadership?
Thought leadership is a term coined by Joel Kurtzman in 1994, defined as people who have “business ideas which merited attention.” Thought leadership cannot be claimed by an individual; it is a status bestowed to a person by their community. Rather than just having extensive niche or expert knowledge, thought leaders share their knowledge in various venues.
Daniel Rasmus provided this definition:
Thought leadership should be an entry point to a relationship. Thought leadership should intrigue, challenge, and inspire even people already familiar with a company. It should help start a relationship where none exists, and it should enhance existing relationships.
On meriting attention, Brian Clark of copyblogger.com stated,
In the realm of content marketing, authority is demonstrated, not claimed. Which means leaders are not born or made — they’re selected by the intended audience (much more in line with my more egalitarian experience of how content marketing works). If you have the attention of an audience, you’re a leader already. And great leaders plan, listen, observe, inspire, and then give direction. But most of all they continue to demonstrate, in this case by freely sharing their valuable knowledge via content.
Thought leaders not only share their knowledge nor hold the attention of an audience, they pave a path for the future and causes disruption. Investors that you connect with need to be able to share the same vision of the future as you.
Within your LinkedIn profile, you can utilize the Headline, Summary, Update, Publication, and Reading List sections in addition to integrating Slideshare. The Headline and Summary section should mention important content that you have written, such as books. The Summary can also be used to list articles and professional papers you have written or contributed towards. Updates should be posted once daily with original or curated content you find valuable. Updates are visible only to your network but can be changed to public. The Publication section is used to link to books, articles, white papers and other professional written materials authored by you. The Reading List section shows books you have read and/or are currently reading. This is useful for showing that you’re staying on top of the latest information in your field. Integrating Slideshare is good for providing additional original content and even past presentation slides.
Rather than just staying on your profile to demonstrate thought leadership, using Groups, Answers and Polls are good ways to be recognized by your community as a thought leader. With Groups, you can submit your own content for discussion or join discussions by asking thoughtful questions. This is a good way to be known then eventually recognized as someone with valuable knowledge. LinkedIn allows joining up to 50 groups, so take the offer and join 50! Answers is another great way to show your thought leadership in niche areas because there are many categories and subcategories. This allows targeting specific audiences. To take it a step further, Polls asks the public to engage with you and share their thoughts without requiring comments. Conducting a Poll can bring awareness towards you as the person who submitted the Poll and may lead to further discussions of the topic. You don’t have to be an acclaimed thought leader, but sharing original and curated content shows a high level of credibility in your space. Typically, it will eventually lead to “capitalizing on the dramatically enhanced brand equity attained by being a thought leader.” In other words, it will help lead to investors investing in you.