Influencers Hiding in Plain Sight on LinkedIn Communications

Find key reporters covering your market. Check. Engage influencers who can propel your message. Check. Spark conversations with your audience. Check. LinkedIn provides these and other opportunities, but PR execs for the most part continue to give the social network short shrift. That’s a mistake. With 364 million-plus members, the site can seriously augment your PR strategy.

1. Update Your Profile with a Purpose

To take your personal profile to pro-level, start using LinkedIn’s plug-in features. Click “add a link” or “upload a file” to insert interactive links to Slide Share, YouTube, websites or PDFs to your profile. These can highlight your experience and add visual appeal to a text-heavy profile.

2. Share Your Knowledge to Create Inbound Marketing Opportunities

To best showcase your industry expertise and your brand, take advantage of the LinkedIn “Create a Post” feature. By clicking “Create a Post” in your updates box on the homepage, you will be led to a text editor that looks for similar formats used for blogs.

You can use this feature to write and post pictures for your network to see. Use informative and eye-catching titles and pictures and write short posts about your industry, product or service.

Think of this as a chance to write an article for your followers. What do you know that would benefit your followers?

3. Maximize the Interests Section’s Full Potential

The “Interests” tab on LinkedIn can be your best tool to connect with others and explore the many opportunities LinkedIn provides to your and your company outside of uploading a resume and a headshot. Currently, LinkedIn provides “Groups,” “Companies,” “Pulse” and “Education” as interests that you can explore.

Explore the “Interests” tab to move your LinkedIn experience from passive to active. Follow your own company or create a company page to showcase your business or organization’s value. See the “Pulse” area to follow LinkedIn influencers and learn how they write posts to continually improve upon your own.

4. Make New Connections With Group Members

Join LinkedIn Groups in your areas of interest, alumni status and hobbies. Use the search bar to find business groups that fit your interests, industry and background. Join these groups and then become an active member.

Be sure to read the group rules that are posted in the description of the group. Post a message on the main message boards with the links to personal posts about your industry and ask for feedback. Ask questions about your industry or recent events and see if you get answers from fellow group members. Offer to mentor young alumni from your university about your industry.

5. Take Online Connections Offline For Future Opportunities

Once you have completed the above steps, you will be ready to take your online connections offline for future opportunities. This is a process.

First, consider reconnecting with connections from the past. Look at the “Connections” tab on LinkedIn and review by recent conversations, last name, first name and new search options.

Has one of your connections experienced a job change? How about a job anniversary? These are great opportunities to write a message to your contact congratulating them, catching up and reminding them to reach out to you if you can help them in any way. If your message is genuine, more than likely people will respond.

Source: Susan Chesley Fant is the masters of science in marketing corporate director and instructor of digital and social media marketing at The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce. The above content is an excerpt from PR News’ Book of Social Media Strategies & Tactics. To order a copy, go to

This article originally appeared in the June 1, 2015 issue of PR News. Read more subscriber-only content by becoming a PR News subscriber today.