July 26, 2023

7-Step LinkedIn Marketing Strategy for 430K+ Followers

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As professionals worldwide scramble to make their mark on LinkedIn, one question remains:

How do you stand out from the crowd?

With an audience of 430K+ followers and thousands of students achieving their 'Aha!' moments after using my methods, I can tell you it's achievable.

But success doesn't come without a carefully devised plan.

That's where this article comes in.

I'll let you in on my tried-and-true 7-step LinkedIn marketing strategy — the same one that catapulted me to the top 1% of creators on the platform.

I've taken the best of what works for me and distilled it into actionable steps to help you create a powerful LinkedIn presence, engage your prospects, and attract the right opportunities.

Let's get into it.

LinkedIn: Not your ordinary resume

What most people do wrong is treat LinkedIn like a traditional social media platform or, worse, an online resume.

They miss out on its true essence — a platform to build meaningful professional relationships, share insightful content, and become thought leaders.

But you're not one of them.

You recognize LinkedIn for what it is:

A goldmine of opportunities.

You understand the importance of a tailored LinkedIn marketing strategy that resonates with your target audience and sets you apart from your competition.

And that's exactly what we're here to explore.

It's time to stand out, not blend in. Let's redefine how you use LinkedIn.

Your 7-Step LinkedIn strategy roadmap

  1. Determine your target audience
  2. Optimize your LinkedIn profile
  3. Turn on Creator mode
  4. Build a strong, relevant network
  5. Publish valuable, shareable content
  6. Engage with your audience
  7. Partner with other industry professionals

Step #1: Determine your target audience

Without clear knowledge of who you're trying to reach, your lead generation efforts on LinkedIn will feel like shouting into the void.

Are you aiming to connect with tech-savvy entrepreneurs? Forward-thinking marketing managers? Passionate sustainability advocates?

Without this crucial puzzle piece, your message will be diluted. Your content will miss the mark. Worst of all, your influence will diminish.

That's why nailing down your target audience is crucial for developing your LinkedIn marketing strategy.

When I honed in on my niche — SaaS executives and leaders seeking scalable growth strategies — my LinkedIn activity began to resonate. My posts got more attention, my inbox was filled with inquiries, and my follower count skyrocketed.

Knowing who you're speaking to is the first step in delivering content that sticks and sparks conversations. It's not about casting a wide net, it's about attracting the right fish.

So ask yourself:

  • What are my passions?
  • What are my strengths?
  • How can my skills help others on LinkedIn?

Then get specific with your answers.

Step #2: Optimize your LinkedIn profile

Your LinkedIn profile is like a landing page for your business and is often the first point of contact for potential followers, clients, or collaborators.

An optimized profile not only showcases your expertise and credibility but also attracts and resonates with your ideal audience.

So let's make every aspect of your profile count, from your banner to your recommendations section.

Your banner

A LinkedIn banner is prime real estate for advertising.

Yet, most people will use a random scenic image or company logo as their banner. That's a huge opportunity missed.

Don't waste precious banner space; it can be the difference between someone clicking 'follow' or moving on to the next profile.

Your banner should instantly communicate who you are and what you do. Don't make people guess because they won't want to.

Keep it simple and clutter-free. Use clear, bold text and compelling visuals.

For example, I'm a course creator. My banner makes this crystal clear.

It has:

  • A digital rendering of my course
  • A clear description of what I offer
  • A website where you can learn more
  • Social proof (places my course has been featured)

Not a course creator? Your call-to-action (CTA) could be to visit your website, sign up for your newsletter, or get in touch for a free consultation.

Pro tip: I recommend using Canva if you've never designed a banner before. It has a bunch of free templates you can use as inspiration to either customize or create your own banner from scratch.

Your headshot

Just like your banner, your headshot is one of the first things people see when they land on your profile.

This isn't the place for a beach photo from your last vacation or your favorite bar selfie. Your headshot should be engaging yet professional. It should represent you as someone others would want to do business with, someone they can trust.

If you can, hire a professional photographer to help with this. The right lighting, angle, and backdrop can really make a difference. Trust me, it’ll be worth every penny.

But if hiring a professional photographer isn't in the cards right now, don't worry. You can still get a solid headshot using your smartphone. Use Portrait mode to capture a crisp photo with a blurred background. Then, hire someone on Fiverr to polish it up for you for around $15.

Think of your headshot like a firm, friendly handshake. It's the first step in building a relationship with your LinkedIn audience, so make an impact!

Your tagline

Here's another common mistake I see on LinkedIn:

People treat their tagline as another place to display their current job title.

"Product Manager at X Company" or "CEO of Y Startup."

But this approach isn't doing them any favors.

Your tagline should be a succinct, high-impact statement that spells out:

  • What you do
  • Who you help
  • What results you bring

It's one of the first things people see when they visit your profile and can influence whether or not they stick around.

Let's say you're a SaaS sales consultant. Instead of "Sales Consultant at Z Consulting," consider something more specific and results-oriented, like "Helping SaaS companies accelerate growth and increase average revenue by 300% with strategic sales solutions."

This kind of tagline not only shows what you do (SaaS sales consulting) but also who you help (SaaS companies) and the results you deliver (300% average revenue increase). It's a micro elevator pitch that intrigues visitors and invites them to learn more about you and your work.

When crafting your tagline, be as specific as possible. Make it easy for your ideal audience to know you're the expert they've been searching for.

Your Featured section

The Featured section is another area often misunderstood.

It's not uncommon to see people using this space to highlight their top-performing posts, regardless of whether they align with their offer. While the viral posts might be impressive, they aren't the best representation of what you offer.

Instead, think of your Featured section as your LinkedIn storefront.

Clearly showcase what you offer — be it a product, a service, or a link to sign up for your newsletter. This is where you get to direct your audience's attention toward what you want them to know and do.

Pro tip: A cohesive brand is a powerful brand. Invest in on-brand cover photos for each item you feature. These images should tie into your overall branding theme, echoing the fonts, colors, and design style in your banner and profile picture.

Your About section

The About section is your opportunity to tell a story that resonates with your target audience. The framework I've found to work wonders here is the pain, agitation, and solution approach.

Hook your reader by identifying their pain. What is the biggest challenge your target audience faces? Get specific. The more you understand their struggles, the more your audience will feel seen and heard. For example, if your target audience is SaaS founders, a key pain point might be their struggles with building a consistent sales pipeline.

Next, agitate that pain. Dive deeper into the implications of this challenge. In the case of SaaS founders, not having a consistent sales pipeline might mean unpredictable revenue, an inability to forecast growth, or challenges in scaling their business.

Finally, present your solution. How do you, or your product or service, solve this pain point? For example, you might offer a proven system to help SaaS founders build a robust sales pipeline to drive consistent revenue and sustainable growth.

In short, your About section should be a clear and compelling narrative that connects with your audience on an emotional level. Make them feel that you get their struggles, then offer a solution.

Besides telling an impactful story, don't shy away from sharing social proof (testimonials) and noteworthy accomplishments here.

Your Experience section

Contrary to what most might think, your Experience section isn't just a list of your past job titles. It's a strategic opportunity to showcase your value and improve your visibility on LinkedIn.

When crafting your Experience section, keep LinkedIn SEO in mind (yes, it's a thing).

For those unfamiliar, SEO is all about using specific, relevant keywords to help your profile show up in search results. LinkedIn, like Google, uses algorithms to determine what content to show when someone conducts a search. By using relevant keywords in your Experience section, you increase your chances of appearing in search results when someone looks up those terms.

Let's say you're a digital marketing consultant who specializes in SEO. In the role descriptions, you might include keywords like:

  • SEO strategy
  • Digital Marketing
  • Search engine optimization

But SEO isn't the only thing to keep in mind.

You also want to be specific about the scope of each role and the impact you made. Use quantifiable results wherever possible. For example, instead of writing "increased website traffic," write "boosted website traffic by 48% in 7 months through targeted SEO strategies."

Also, make sure the experiences you list are relevant to your target audience. If you're now in a SaaS sales role but previously worked as a cashier at a retail store, focus on the transferable skills you gained that are valuable in your current role.

Finally, break up large blocks of text with bullet points and be concise for readability. Attention spans are short. The more scannable your Experience section is, the more likely people are to read it all the way through.

Your Recommendations section

Testimonials are powerful because they provide social proof, an outside voice validating your skills, expertise, and results. Many people tend to trust third-party opinions about you more than your own claims. They're unbiased, credible, and, most importantly, convincing.

And the good news?

Getting recommendations is simpler than you might think.

Often, all it takes is reaching out to satisfied clients or former bosses and asking if they'd be willing to share their positive experiences working with you on your LinkedIn profile. Be specific about what aspects you'd like them to highlight in their recommendation to make it easier for them.

For example, you might point them toward your ability to:

  • Meet deadlines
  • Deliver quality work quickly
  • Work with little to no handholding
  • Improve your craft with constructive feedback
  • Collaborate with a team but also work well independently

Your work doesn't stop after getting recommendations, though.

Not everyone will scroll to the very bottom of your LinkedIn profile to see these reviews.

So, you need to share them:

  • Feature them in newsletter emails
  • Reshare onto your company LinkedIn page
  • Screenshot and repurpose them on your website
  • Include snippets in your About section to boost credibility
  • Showcase them on social networks like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter
  • Create LinkedIn posts to showcase your success stories (through the lens of your clients)

Step #3: Turn on Creator Mode

Turning on Creator Mode amplifies your content and places it front and center on your profile. It's like flipping the switch from 'browse' to 'broadcast.' Instead of passively participating in conversations, you become a conversation starter, a thought leader, and, well… a creator.

Creator Mode allows you to add up to 5 hashtags that represent your areas of interest or expertise. These hashtags aren't just labels, they're windows into the subjects you're passionate about. They help others see what you bring to the table.

When I started using relevant hashtags, my content started reaching professionals who were genuinely interested in my insights.

Activating Creator Mode is simple:

  1. Click the 'Me' button on the top right of the home page
  2. Select 'View profile'
  3. Scroll to find 'Resources'
  4. Toggle 'On' for Creator mode

From there, add the topics you want your profile to showcase.

Curious about the top hashtags? I share a handy list of them with students in my course, The Operating System.

Step #4: Build a strong, relevant network

Networking on LinkedIn isn't about connecting with every Tom, Dawn, and Harry in an attempt to inflate your connection count. It's about building a relevant and robust network.

Most people new to the platform will connect left, right, and center, playing the numbers game in the hope that more connections will equate to more opportunities. But what they end up with is a diluted network full of people who could care less about what they do.

Don't be like most people. Focus on quality over quantity. Foster relationships that can enrich your professional journey and theirs, too.

Connecting with other people in your field is a good place to start.

For example, if you're a freelance writer, you may connect with:

  • Other freelance writers
  • Directors of content
  • Content managers
  • SEO experts
  • Editors

Pro tip: Always personalize connection requests. Let people know why you want to connect and what shared interests or goals led you to their profile. It'll increase your chances of acceptance and be a winning conversation starter.

Step #5: Publish valuable, shareable content

LinkedIn isn't just a networking platform. It's a virtual stage where you can share your insights and expertise.

And the best way to show people you're an expert in your field?

Valuable, shareable content.

Your content shouldn't mirror what everyone else is saying. It should inspire, challenge, and educate. It should solve problems, open up new thought avenues, and stimulate meaningful conversations.

When you create high-quality and helpful content, people will want to share it. They'll want their network to see what they've found and join the conversation. Your reach expands each time someone shares your content. And when you reach more people, you gain more followers and build your reputation as a thought leader.

It's a beautiful domino effect.

Remember: Content is king, but value is queen. So don't just create content. Create value.

Step #6: Engage with your audience

Here's the thing — creating quality content is only half the battle.

The other half? Interacting with your audience.

Like your real-life relationships, LinkedIn is a two-way street.

I've made it a habit to reply to every meaningful comment I receive within 45 minutes of my posts going live each morning. It's not just a cursory 'thanks for commenting,' but a thoughtful, in-depth response that furthers the conversation.

This isn't just about me, though. Everyone involved in the conversation benefits.

When you engage with my content, especially early on, you're doing more than just contributing to the conversation. You're putting yourself in the spotlight. Other viewers will see your comment, find value in your insights, and often click through to your profile. This can lead to engagement on your posts, an increase in followers, and new connection requests.

It's a win-win. We both build our LinkedIn presence, foster deeper connections, and share our expertise with a larger audience.

TLDR: Don't just post and ghost. Stick around, engage, and create a community. That's how we all thrive on LinkedIn.

Step #7: Partner with other industry professionals

Collaboration is a game-changer for your LinkedIn journey. It's an opportunity to leverage the audiences of other professionals in your field and expand your reach.

There are plenty of ways to partner with other people. One of my personal favorites is being a guest on a podcast. This not only allows me to share my insights with a wider audience but also gives me the chance to build deeper connections with industry leaders (podcast hosts).

Besides podcasting, consider working with others on content creation. Feature each other's insights in your posts or articles. This cross-promotion can attract new followers from both networks.

Interviews are another excellent way to collaborate. Host a LinkedIn Live or do an interview series where you exchange ideas with other creators. Your audience will appreciate the diverse perspectives and fresh content.

Ultimately, collaboration is about creating mutual growth opportunities. Nobody gets to the top without help along the way and we're always stronger together.

So reach out, propose a collaboration, and see how it elevates your LinkedIn presence.

Get started with your LinkedIn marketing strategy

Cracking the Linkedin marketing code may seem intimidating at first.

It's a platform loaded with opportunities. But without a roadmap, it can feel like navigating a labyrinth while blindfolded.

So, the steps you can take today:

  1. Determine who your target audience is
  2. Optimize your profile for peak performance
  3. Activate Creator mode and be an authority in your niche
  4. Build a relevant and meaningful network
  5. Create standout content people want to share
  6. Engage thoughtfully with your audience
  7. Collaborate with industry professionals

There you have it — an actionable, effective LinkedIn marketing strategy that can propel you to success.

Ready to accelerate your LinkedIn growth even further? Check out my course, The Operating System. I've designed it specifically to help people like you master the platform and unlock its potential for your personal brand and business.

In it, I cover:

  • Building relationships
  • My top content strategies
  • Generating brand awareness
  • Creating a robust content calendar
  • The importance of content marketing
  • Making the LinkedIn algorithm work for you

That's a wrap.

Now get out there and make your mark on LinkedIn.

I’m rooting for you.

Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

1. ​The LinkedIn Operating System:​ Join 16,000 students and 30 LinkedIn Top Voices inside of The LinkedIn Operating System. This comprehensive course will teach you the system I used to grow from 0 to 470,000+ followers and $4.8M in income.

2. ​The Content Operating System​: A multi-step system for creating a high-quality newsletter and 6-12 pieces of high-performance social media content each week. Join 7,000 students here.

3. ​Promote yourself to 175,000+ subscribers​ by sponsoring this newsletter.

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