[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Recently, I attended the Elite Hearing Network Business Summit with my wife in Puerto Rico. My wife is an audiologist and was there on business as a part of her continuing education.

The vendors expo included a nice meal and open bar. The expo was well attended by several of the world’s largest hearing aid manufactures, and many other companies both directly and indirectly related to the industry. I was of course drawn to the LinkedIn booth. As I was mingling with folks in front of the booth, I struck up a conversation with a lady who is in HR for her company. She was there talking to LinkedIn about their latest features for recruiters. As we were talking about what I do and my blogs on LinkedIn, she asked me:

Are you a LinkedIn Influencer?

I stumbled on the question. Nobody had ever asked me that before. I was flattered. My mind started to go blank, I blurted out, “no, I’m not.” Then I changed it to, “yes, I am.” Finally, “I mean no I’m NOT an Influencer.” By this time, I think she was beginning to wonder how many pina coladas I had consumed at the open bar. Finally, I got a hold of myself. I explained that while I was not an official LinkedIn Influencer, I had been told by several of my readers that my blogs have influenced them.

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That exchange got me thinking about the Influencer program. Here are a couple questions I had and the answers I found on LinkedIn’s help page.

How many Influencers are there?

LinkedIn Influencer is a designation given to approximately 500 professionals who’ve been invited to publish on LinkedIn.

How does one become a LinkedIn Influencer?

There is no longer an application process for LinkedIn Influencer. LinkedIn Influencer is invitation-only, so Influencers must be invited by LinkedIn to participate. However, we are continuing to release the ability to publish long-form content to all LinkedIn members.

LinkedIn lists its current user count at 347,000,000. So, if there are only 500 users with the designation of Influencer, your chances are better at winning the lottery than you receiving an email from LinkedIn saying you’ve been selected for the Influencer program.

So then are the Influencers the only ones that can be influential on LinkedIn? Absolutely not! I don’t know about you but since LinkedIn opened its publishing platform, I find myself drawn to the content of regular members more than the appointed Influencers. I find the content from regular members to be more real and relevant to what is actually trending within the business world.

Here are 7 ways that you can be influential on LinkedIn without winning the Influencer lottery.

1) Actively engage on the posts of the people on LinkedIn you would like to influence. Repeat after me: “read, like, comment, share.” [Click to Tweet]

2) Select 2 or 3 groups that best fit your LinkedIn professional goals and dive in head first. Aim to achieve top contributor status within those groups. This pins your name, photo, header, and clickable link to your profile at the top of the page for everybody to see when they visit the group!

3) Emphasize the areas of expertise on your profile that you want to be known for, and make sure your profile is connection ready. When people visit your profile they should be compelled to connect to you.

4) Be a connector. Introduce people to one another from within your network that you feel would benefit from knowing one another. Make sure to build value surrounding the intro. If you can pull this off, you will become known within your network as a connector and somebody that is a highly skilled networker.

5) Send personalized connection requests to those on LinkedIn that you would like to influence. Make sure to add value to your connection requests by providing a couple reasons to the person why connecting with you will benefit them.

6) Share influential content with your network that demonstrates you are a thought leader and expert in your field.

7) Start blogging on LinkedIn. For it what it’s worth, nobody ever asked me if I was a LinkedIn Influencer prior to me blogging.

Well there you have it. Now you too can be a LinkedIn Influencer. Err, I mean probably not an Influencer, but definitely an influencer. Ah what the heck! You know what I mean.

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About the Author: John White is the LinkedIn group owner of Publishers & Bloggers, Social Media Marketing Director at Social Business Strategies and CareerToolBox, a proud dad, MBA candidate, and contributor to Dice.com. Please visit my profile to connect with me on LinkedIn and on Twitter @juanblanco76 and @CareerToolboxUS.
For the latest in personal branding via social media and career related content, check out other stories on our CareerBlog at CareerToolbox here.



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