The Importance of Becoming a Thought Leader on LinkedIn in 2023

LinkedIn’s Increased Focus on Expert Content and Connections

LinkedIn has always been an outlier in the world of “social media platforms.” Instead of sharing clever jokes, or back-to-school pictures of kids, users go to LinkedIn to search for jobs, gather information on where their former coworkers work, or see business-related articles.

Although this is great for professional networking, it has sometimes made it hard to navigate as a marketing and public relations professional. It’s a platform with a huge user base, (950 million users by the most recent count), but how do we best use it to highlight the achievements of our companies and to build our brands in a way that is authentic?

Fortunately, LinkedIn recently gave us some insight via a variety of interviews surrounding their 2023 Talent Connect summit, and with recent release of new features, algorithm changes, and AI powered tools. LinkedIn is increasing their emphasis on business conversations, education, and experts. This gives savvy marketers a clear strategy for how the platform can be used for branding themselves and their company through the right sort of interaction and conversation.

Algorithm Changes:  LinkedIn Is NOT Instagram

In June 2023, LinkedIn made some major changes to its algorithm and how it values the content that is being posted. Where Instagram and Facebook have played with putting more “sponsored content” in users’ streams, LinkedIn is moving in the opposite direction.  They have stated that their overall goal is eliminate “irrelevant content.”  In this article they stated that they actually DO NOT want content to go “viral” in the sense that something is just shared over and over.  They want real conversation, so real connection can occur.

Content is always going to be most relevant to your followers, but LinkedIn is now also rewarding good content, with good conversation, placing it into feeds of those who would find it useful. This change is allowing experts to reach people beyond their network. In the article above they state that “LinkedIn has seen a nearly 40% increase in “people checking out and viewing content that is grounded in knowledge from people that are out of their network.”

So, what is the “good” content you need to get in front of people? It helps if you are already an expert in the area. The new algorithm is using AI to consider both your profile, your audience, and what you’re writing about to determine how large of an audience it will show the content to.

The other piece of getting a spot in newsfeeds is the community reaction and comments themselves. While getting an “I agree!” when you post is always nice, LinkedIn is now looking for posts that seem to attract meaningful comments that go beyond the surface from other people in your field. They have also announced that very relevant conversations and content will remain in feeds for much longer than something would traditionally stay in a Facebook or Instagram feed.

What Does it Mean for You and Your Company

One of the results of these changes is that, instead of focusing on just getting followers, connections and likes, as a representative for your company you should be focus on getting the “right” people engaged. Users should be considering what sort of thought leader they want to be and posting relevant content that enforces that they are an expert in the area and have meaningful advice to give. Encourage discussion and interaction with your audience and be sure to participate in other people’s conversations as well. With this sort of strategy, you should be able to reach an audience beyond just your initial circle, bringing in new business and getting more eyes on your brand and company’s achievements.

Collaborative Articles

Another feature that launched in March is collaborative articles.  Collaborative articles on LinkedIn are meant to help build the overall knowledge base for users searching for particular topics and connect them with experts in these fields. The articles are AI generated by LinkedIn, but invite users to engage with the content by commenting, or making suggestions.

From LinkedIn:

Collaborative articles are a new type of article, published by LinkedIn with insights from the LinkedIn community. These articles begin as AI-powered conversation starters, developed with our editorial team, but they aren’t complete without perspectives from experts like you. We’re inviting you to share your own ideas, examples, and personal experiences directly into sections of the articles, so our members can learn from you.”

These articles offer a huge opportunity for marketers to establish themselves experts in their field and get more eyes on their brand. The overall idea is that LinkedIn uses AI to start the conversation, but then the response is crowd-sourced. For example, if I type into LinkedIn search, a question about “setting social media goals,” I find an article where I can both comment and see what other commenters have said.

LinkedIn Collaborative Article


What Does it Mean for You and Your Company 

Obviously, commenting on articles you are an expert on is a wonderful way to gain visibility with readers searching for answers or solutions. It also helps you build your reputation for LinkedIn’s algorithm. But there is another significant benefit to participating in collaborative articles.

Since they launched in March, these articles have gained top placements in Google Search, very, very quickly. In the example above, the article is already ranked in the Top 20 in a Google Search for the term.

LinkedIn Collaborative Article in Search Result

LinkedIn has said these articles are now the number 1 traffic driver to their platform. And there are already tens of thousands of articles up on pretty much any topic a searcher can dream of.  So even if your company’s website lacks a ranking for an extremely competitive search term, a potential customer could still get to you and your business through a collaborative article that ranks well.

So Get Posting and Commenting

It is clear, with the addition of these features and changes in the feed, LinkedIn is keen on moving away from being a social media platform where clout is built through sheer number of followers and connections, to one where the emphasis is on learning and connecting communities. This makes it an even more valuable Marketing tool for business owners and professionals. LinkedIn has cut down on the general noise, and focused in on getting the conversation to people who are relevant in your industry, and to you, as potential partners and customers.

Commenting on this article with your own point of view is a great start.

Further Reading