Jessie van Breugel x Pragya from Shield
Being a creator is amazing, but without an audience, you’re nowhere.
In this article, you learn how to build an engaged audience with 5 key activities
Growing a large following on LinkedIn is hard. It requires a lot of work and requires you to create quality content consistently. But we've all seen a lot of Influencers on LinkedIn with a large number of followers but their content barely gets likes or comments. What's going on there? It's simple, their audience is not engaged. An audience merely follows you, an engaged audience is a whole other game. It won’t be a surprise the key difference is engagement.
Let's dive into 5 strategic activities you can focus on to grow your audience on LinkedIn and make sure they are engaged.
Part 1: Posting consistently
The key to growing an audience is by creating and publishing content. To create content that resonates with your audience, you first have to understand which problem you want to solve for your potential audience. Knowing this problem gives you the right direction and it shows your target audience to who you’re speaking. Once you’ve identified this, you can now define your content pillars. These are the key 3-5 topics you build your content around.
Having these ready allows you to strategically create content that addresses the problems and pain points of your audience. Think about 3-5 topics that you are good at, are passionate about, and what others want to learn about.
It’s recommended to keep it at 3-5 for a couple of reasons:
When you keep the number of topics small, you’re focused
When you repeat your message, you attract exactly the right audience
Your audience knows what to expect from you and comes back for more
Once you know which content you’d like to create and get started, it’s time to think about becoming consistent with your output. You might ask:
"Why does this matter? Well, do you still remember the creators that went viral once in the last year, but then disappeared? No, right?"
But we all know the creators who show up every single day on our timeline. We build a sense of familiarity with them. You even recognize their profile picture and the style of their content without reading their names. That right there is the power of branding, built by consistency.
Consistency outweighs virality in the long run.
In the world of creators and audience-building, it’s better to show up 365 days in a row with 7/10 quality content than 12 times a year with 9/10 quality content.
You want to focus on consistency.
Here’s our content creation - and management system to help you get started.
Define the problem you want to solve
List 3-5 subtopics you can speak about
Publish every day at the same time
Part 2: Engage consistently
The keywords here? Make yourself visible. You can have the best content in the world, but without a network, it’s hard to get seen.
If you think that your content will magically arrive on the feed of like-minded creators, you have to be real: it won’t. Social platforms are extremely busy. Every day, 2+ million posts, articles, and videos are published on LinkedIn. If you think that you can build an engaged audience by publishing content alone, you're a bit off.
The key to audience building is you want to make yourself visible to the right people first. It’s your responsibility to find and connect with the right people. You want to tap into their audiences. Engagement and interaction are elements of building an audience that requires you to do things that don’t scale. Especially in the beginning, you have to engage more than you create.
A recommended rule of thumb here: spend 90% engaging and 10% creating.
When you interact with other accounts by commenting on their tweets or sharing their posts, you bring additional attention to your account. That’s when you can start publishing content that makes a difference, content that will build your audience and grow your brand.
Ring the bell of your favorite creators so that you get notified the second they publish a post.
Interact with their content by providing value or initiating conversations.
Do this for 30 days straight and watch your engagement blow up.
For an in-depth look at engagement and how to connect with like-minded creators on LinkedIn, this guide is for you.
Part 3: Build relationships
Connect with new connections
When you just had someone new follow your account, this offers a great opportunity to start the connection off on the right foot. Send that person a personalized connection request and open the conversation. This way, you build engaged and real relationships, one step at a time.
In a previous article, we shared 5 real-life examples of how to initiate conversations with anyone.
Reach out frequently
Everyone is busy, but going the extra mile will definitely bring you a lot.
Reach out to the people you like hanging out with and check in with them regularly. You don’t have to message them every day, but once in a while, it’s an amazing idea to ask them how they’re doing and what they’re working on.
This will further foster the relationship and potentially bring in new opportunities.
An Idea to try: schedule one Zoom call per week
Once you’ve built a relationship with someone by engaging in their content, you can take audience-building one step further: Hopping on a 1:1 Zoom call. Scary, right?
The goal here is to network and learn about each other. What are people working on? Perhaps you can help or you can get inspired. You never know what’s possible.
Broadly speaking, you can decide to speak with 3 types of people:
People with interesting profiles
This part of audience-building is definitely an element that sets you apart from most creators. It builds your network and pipeline like no other, whilst having fun doing it.
Easy to follow tips to get practical:
Make it a daily habit to reach out to 5-10 creators every day
Initiate great conversations
Tip: steal SHIELDs DM prompts to get started.
Part 4: Collaborate
As an independent creator, you only get so far by yourself. Remember the saying:
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
That’s why you want to collaborate with relevant and like-minded creators. Two of the biggest LinkedIn creators, Austin Belcak and Justin Welsh, are in a very powerful alliance. Combined their audience covers nearly 2 million followers. How did that start? With a simple DM.
The full story:
Easy to follow tips to get practical:
Reach to one of your close connections who you see as a fit for a collaboration.
Propose a small project you can collaborate on.
Create together and have fun in the process.
Part 5: Be inspired daily
The content you consume has a big impact on the content you produce. Without good input, you can’t produce good output. Inspiration often comes from interacting and engaging with other creators. Especially once you have found relevant creators to engage with.
Use the comments you place on other creators' content as stand-alone posts for yourself or as inspiration to expand on. That’s why it’s recommended to keep a note-taking system so you can capture your genuineness. The ways to do this are abundant:
Some creators swear by the simple note-taking on their phones, and others build a fancy note-taking dashboard in Notion or Evernote. Don’t get lost in the complexity as there’s no such thing as the perfect system. Just document your inspiration when it strikes.
Easy to follow tips to get practical:
Make a swipe file for interesting content.
Save the content you like or see performing well.
Go through it once a week.
Your online audience is the currency of the future. Treat your audience with respect and work on nurturing relationships every day. Doing this right will set you up for an exciting and prosperous future with endless possibilites.
Create valuable content to attract like-minded people. Interact with your audience and engage with them through private conversations. Invest in those around you and watch your audience turn into your most valuable asset.