LinkedIn‘s Rising Prominence for Influencer Marketing
With over 810 million members globally, LinkedIn has become a magnet for influential thought leaders and subject matter experts. As per HubSpot, over 61% of marketers have allocated budget towards LinkedIn influencer marketing, indicating its growing importance.
I have partnered with LinkedIn influencers across multiple industries to run successful campaigns driving website traffic, leads and revenue for brands. Based on my first-hand experience, I firmly believe that engaging relevant influencers on LinkedIn can greatly impact your marketing KPIs.
But first, let‘s understand why LinkedIn influencers hold such appeal.
The Business Appeal of LinkedIn Influencers
Unlike influencers on Instagram or Youtube, LinkedIn influencers are followed mainly for their business insights, not entertainment value. They are C-suite executives, best-selling authors, renowned consultants, global entrepreneurs and industry veterans nurturing an engaged professional community.
According to a LinkedIn study, 93% of senior executives rely on third-party thought leadership to guide business decisions. This highlights the immense trust and credibility LinkedIn influencers enjoy in the B2B space.
Let‘s look at some of the data-backed benefits of leveraging them:
- 72% senior executives made a purchase decision based on LinkedIn content from influencers (Edelman)
- Business decision makers are 70% more likely to trust a source they follow (ExpertVoice)
- Thought leadership content receives 86% more views than traditional company-published content (MDG)
Clearly, tapping into LinkedIn influencers provides unmatched opportunities to engage the world‘s most influential B2B audience. But strategically identifying the right influencers for your brand is key.
How to Identify the Top LinkedIn Influencers
Based on my social media marketing experience, here are the five criteria I use to evaluate LinkedIn influencers:
Influencers with larger follower bases can help brands access wider reach. For instance, Bill Gates has over 45 million followers, making him one of the most impactful people to tap.
However, mid-tier influencers in the 30K-80K range often make great partners as they offer meaningful engagement and reasonable costs.
The best LinkedIn influencers publish frequent, high-quality content. They share well-researched insights, recent data, actionable tips and compelling viewpoints.
Prioritize influencers who invest significant time creating content optimized for the LinkedIn audience rather than just aggregating content.
Engagement metrics such as likes, comments and shares indicate audience interest and content quality.
Tools like Buzzstream or Followerwonk help analyze this. As a rule of thumb, I aim for influencers with engagement rates over 5%.
The top influencers are recognized as thought leaders in their niches. They have relevant educational backgrounds, work experience and published works on those topics.
For instance, Josh Fechter is an authority on SaaS and sales, with over 14 years of industry experience. His content provides immense value on those subjects.
Indicators like LinkedIn‘s own Top Voice badges, external influencer ranking lists and recommendations from industry peers further validate influence.
Combining all these parameters gives the best assessment of a LinkedIn influencer‘s reach and credibility. Now let‘s look at the top names spanning different focus areas.
35 Top LinkedIn Influencers To Follow
Here are 35 LinkedIn thought leaders making an exceptional impact through their content and community-building efforts on the platform.
LinkedIn Marketing Influencers
Ann Handley – Ann is the Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs. She has authored bestselling books like Everybody Writes and speaks globally on digital marketing. With 440K+ followers, she is one of the most influential female voices shaping marketing conversations on LinkedIn.
Michael Stelzner – As the founder of Social Media Examiner, Michael is a pioneer in social media strategy, tools and education for marketers. With over 310K followers, he is a highly sought-after industry speaker and contrarian voice on LinkedIn debates.
Pam Moore – Pam delivers marketing workshops for Fortune 500 companies as CEO of Marketing Nutz. Her varied experience as a business coach, brand psychologist and podcaster makes her a very versatile thought leader to follow.
Jay Baer – With 30 years of experience in digital marketing and customer experience, Jay provides valuable authoritative perspectives. His content cuts through the noise by delivering clear data-backed advice to over 140K followers.
LinkedIn Business and Leadership Influencers
Richard Branson – This self-made British entrepreneur and philanthropist has built Virgin Group into a multinational powerhouse spanning travel, entertainment, technology and health. His candid storytelling and growth mindset make him a widely followed leadership icon.
Bill Gates – In my opinion, no other account offers the unparalleled insights into business, technology, world affairs and philanthropy than Bill Gates with over 45 million engaged followers. Despite his other platforms, the world still keenly follows Bill‘s messages on LinkedIn.
Gary Vaynerchuk – Gary needs no introduction to those following marketing and personal branding discussions online. His refreshingly blunt thought leadership style strikes a chord with audiences globally.
LinkedIn Women Empowerment Influencers
Melinda Gates – After being the GM at Microsoft for 9 years earlier, Melinda today puts the spotlight firmly on advancing equality through her philanthropy work across global health, education and gender issues. Her leadership continues to inspire millions of women.
Hannah Morgan – I highly recommend Hannah for career-minded women as she provides excellent job search and growth strategies. Her topical career advice empowers everyone from entry-level applicants to senior executives.
Liz Ryan – Through her thought-provoking visual quotes and columns, Liz tackles workplace concerns plaguing modern women. As CEO of Human Workplace, she influences critical DEI decisions in global boardrooms.
Other Top LinkedIn Influencers
Beyond these categories, many cross-industry specialists deliver immense value through their consistently stellar content that should be on your radar.
A few top names I‘d highlight are:
Simon Sinek for elevating leadership conversations
Bernard Marr for data intelligence and AI
Daniel Goleman for emotional intelligence
Beth Kanter for non-profits and social impact
Katy Andresen for customer experience
Review the complete list of 35 experts across niches like marketing, business, leadership, women empowerment and emerging technologies to identify ones most relevant to you.
Engaging LinkedIn Influencers: 5 Solid Tactics
With this comprehensive list, you can pinpoint the right LinkedIn influencers for your brand. But how do you strategically engage them for partnerships?
Here are 5 proven and ethical tactics I recommend based on my own influencer collaborations:
Social Selling – Like, comment and share their posts to grab their attention before pitching ideas like giving testimonials or guest posting.
Personalized Outreach – Introduce yourself and your company, highlighting common passions and interests to build authentic relationships.
Insights Exchange – Set up informational interviews to provide your own expertise on their topics of interest before proposing collaborations.
Co-created Content – Brainstorm fresh content ideas combining your subject expertise like an insightful statistics report or trends forecast.
Influencer Takeovers – Invite them to ‘take over‘ your LinkedIn Page to develop an ongoing partnership leveraging each other‘s audiences.
There are many right ways to mutually benefit from building relationships with leading LinkedIn authorities. My best advice would be think long-term and aim to become a trusted ally they wish to proactively co-create content with.
LinkedIn marketing is at the intersection of content and connections. LinkedIn‘s influential experts have mastered this by nurturing engaged communities with valuable insights. Learn from these thought leaders to enhance your own content strategy, positioning and networking on LinkedIn.
I hope this guide gave you clarity on recognizing and engaging LinkedIn influencers who can drive more visibility and credibility for your brand this coming year. Remember to always put user value at the core when collaborating.
What other LinkedIn authorities impress you? Which advice from this post resonated most? Share your thoughts and I‘d be happy to further this discussion with you!