Leading a community rec center is no easy task. As central hubs for their communities, YMCA and JCC leaders have a considerable level of influence on who they meet.
But it can be hard reaching out to everyone within your area even when social media reigns supreme. Luckily, using LinkedIn is an excellent way to expand your reach and showcase your effectiveness as a thought leader.
There are currently over 830 million users on LinkedIn. That massive number means there are undoubtedly hundreds of people with the platform based in your community.
Here are a few tips and strategies for using LinkedIn to maximize thought leadership in your area and beyond.
First things first. Before you start posting content, make sure your profile picture, bio and banner image are all updated.
Don’t run the risk of hurting your posts and ideas with a page that doesn’t clearly show you are serious about being a leader.
“There’s no need to overthink style with the profile picture,” said Josh Stemie of Entrepreneur Magazine. “Going with a solid neutral background and professional dress is best. With the banner photo, think of it as a personal billboard. Use the free real estate to your advantage with taglines to reinforce your brand’s overall message.”
Now that your profile is ready, focus on tailoring your content so your intended audience can engage with you. Make your posts topical with current trends or recent news, and regularly create conversations with others in the industry.
However, be mindful of touchy subjects and don’t try to conjure up drama with anyone. Post with empathy and consider people of all backgrounds who will be seeing your content. Keep the focus of your posts narrowly centered on a single topic at a time and make your content inclusive so everyone can enjoy.
Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Sure, not everyone is going to be a dedicated follower of what you post. And yes, some people might even unfollow you over time.
But showcasing the real you — while still maintaining a professional tone — will make your content stronger.
If you don’t have a unique tone or any flavor in your writing then your content may come across as boring or uninteresting. There is a fine line between having an overly professional or unprofessional voice. Walk that line but have the majority of your toes on the professional side.
“What you share instantly lets others know more about what areas are of interest to you and your personality and communication style,” advised Stemie. “This matters immensely to those who are considering working with you. In addition, these talking points increase the reach of your network, which in time creates conversations with others in your industry.”
Finally, you have to be diligent. Making a post or engaging with people once every few weeks or so will not grow your base. Set a schedule for yourself and make multiple posts every week.
“I’ve found that you can create connections and build your network on LinkedIn in as little as 15 minutes three times a week,” said Christina Hager of Forbes Magazine. “Create an event on your calendar just like you would for any other meeting, and then be faithful to the calendar.”
Be prepared not to have a ton of engagement or new connections right off the start. In fact, it could take months before your profile has the type of following you want.
The solution to this is to simply keep going. You know it takes time and patience to grow into an effective leader, and LinkedIn is no different.
Keep at it and your audience will develop strongly overtime if you follow these strategies. In turn, your organization will reap the benefits.
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