“We’re looking for really smart marketers to use our platform in innovative ways” – LinkedIn’s Dan Roth

At Hub Convene, LinkedIn executive editor Dan Roth revealed just how competitive the CEOs on the Influencer program are, along with some useful tips on writing thought leadership content.

On Monday, at the Hub’s first all-day conferene at the W Hotel in San Francisco, editor-in-chief Steve Barrett sat down with Roth, for a Q&A on the power of influence and LinkedIn’s Influencer program.

Launched in October of 2012, the Influencer Program has a roster of 500 top CEOs, experts, celebrities and gurus who write original content to be published on the LinkedIn network. On average, each Influencer post generates approximately 30,000 views and over 100 comments.  Popular Influencers include President Barack Obama and Virgin CEO Richard Branson. Roth said the idea behind the program was that people who wanted to emulate their business idols would want to know how they got there themselves. “The concept was that if you wanted to be Richard Branson, the best person to learn from was Richard Branson,” said Roth.

Roth said the most successful Influencers are those who are willing to debate an issue and engage those who may or may not agree with the opinion presented. Other tips included asking a question at the end of a post, and talking about personal failures. Former head at Merrill Lynch, Sallie Krawcheck’s “What I Learned When I Got Fired (the First Time)”post was one of the most popular articles on LinkedIn, receiving thousands of comments and likes as she openly talked about failing and getting back up again.

He also revealed how competitive the LinkedIn influencers are with each other. “Hunter Walk sends out a tweet every time he surpasses someone famous in number of followers on LinkedIn,” said Roth. “And Conan O’Brien has made a sport of telling everyone who he’s beating.”

Roth also talked about how the Influencer concept was expanded to give all LinkedIn users the ability to post articles of their own. “The total wisdom of the world wasn’t in these 500 [Influencer’s] heads,” said Roth. “There’s something everyone can bring to the table.” By giving everyone the tools to write long form posts on LinkedIn, Roth says it allows writers to be exactly where their audience already is and share who they are as professionals beyond their LinkedIn resume.

In addition to building a personal profile, Roth said the writing feature could be great marketing tool, if used the right way. The program allows companies to promote messages through their experts and ultimately connect them with current and future customers. But Roth said the potential of this feature was still untapped. “We’re looking for smart marketers to come up with innovative ways to use our platform,” said Roth. 

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