My last podcast episode was about building buzz, and using pre-launch content to prime your audience and get them ready for an offer you’re preparing to share with the world. Well, of course as soon as my podcast team uploaded it into the cloud, or wherever it goes – you can tell I don’t do this myself – I realized oh snap, I forgot one of the most important pieces.
So, this podcast episode is all about my LinkedIn Polls strategy to spark conversations with your ideal audience. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be during a pre-launch, as you can use these any time to build community. After all, I define thought leadership as the consistent practice of using our passion, lived experience, and credibility as fuel to spark trust and community as we imagine and shape the future together, for the better.
Keep listening in to steal this strategy for yourself and start building relationships with your people on LinkedIn.
Highlights from the podcast episode:
Building Thought Leadership on LinkedIn with the 3C-Framework
Let me set the stage for why LinkedIn polls, and building community for that matter, is even important. My framework to build a thought leadership personal brand that moves the needle, builds influence, amplifies your voice, and builds your personal-change-making-capacity, so on and so forth, is my 3C-Framework.
You need to have Clarity in your brand message, meaning – understanding who is the leader you’re working towards embodying, why do you solve the problem you solve, what is the transformation you make possible, who are you speaking to – and those foundational things so you can differentiate yourself and stand out as you stand up for your mission.
You need to have Content to disseminate your wisdom and expertise so people can experience it. And if you’ve been listening for any period of time, you know my favorite place to share that content is LinkedIn, so you can get in front of the movers, shakers, clients, referral sources, amplifiers who go on LinkedIn to build their professional network and create impact. Right?
And the third C, is you want to turn your audience into a COMMUNITY that’s ready to roll up their sleeves and help you make shift happen. There’s a nuance right, like what’s the difference between an audience and a community? Answer that for yourself and see what comes up for you. For me, the difference is that you can depend and rely on your community because they’re closer to you. They’re hyping you up in rooms you’re not even in. They’re down to support you because of a deeper “why” and vision that you both share. Something about the way you show up in the world has enrolled them into an experience of realizing they’re not alone with this overarching problem or issue, and they recognize you as a guide.
Building Authentic Relationships on LinkedIn for Sustainable Business Growth
Out of the 3 C’s, I feel like Community is most often the missing piece. Usually when people feel like they’re doing all the right things on LinkedIn but not getting traction, usually this piece of the framework isn’t being done.
Without community, it feels Lonely on LinkedIn. You’re not getting a ton of traction. It feels like a heavy lift. You don’t have anyone to share ideas back and forth, or that’s showing up and amplifying you as you vulnerably share and grow your visibility. And yes, engagement is sometimes considered a vanity metric but I’m not actually just talking about likes and stuff – I’m talking about you showing up and sharing your lived experience and it not being witnessed or received in the way it deserves. When something comes up you want to refer out – you have a network. When you decide you want to try using affiliates for your next launch, you have an immediate list of people you know that will be down.
Without community, it’s harder to know where your next client or opportunity is coming from. You’re not feeding that pipeline so that business and visibility opportunities are just coming in sustainably and naturally. It feels lonely on LinkedIn because you’re not wrapped in a community that wants to support you. You know, INSTAGRAM is all about visuals, TIKTOK is all about entertainment, I feel like the currency of LinkedIn is RELATIONSHIPS.
When you build community on LinkedIn, people are inspired by you and you’re inspired by them, and you’re in this work together. Even if you haven’t met in person, you know your community has your back. The importance of this can’t be overstated when we’re working on big issues like anti-racism in the workplace and mental health for pregnant women or changing the nonprofit landscape to become more equitable. Big visions don’t get accomplished alone.
Part of thought leadership work is engaging with your audience. Your content itself only goes so far. I interviewed my clientfriend Casey Handy-Smith in a previous episode and she said something that lives in my head rent-free. I was like, damn.
Pretty much what she said was, as she started to show up on LinkedIn as a thought leader, the connections she made were more genuine and connections she didn’t think were possible to make online. They were relationships she previously would build by physically attending conferences, speaking at events, and meeting people face-to-face one-on-one.
But showing up as a thought leader means you’re attracting the type of people you want to attract – the ones who have similar desires and journeys. But once your content has attracted them in to your world, building community is the next step. Right?
Content may be king, but non-salesy engagement is Queen – that’s how you build your community ecosystem. And it does not have to feel icky, I promise you.
These LinkedIn poll strategies are non-icky, at least in my opinion, and it can actually feed your creativity, so let’s talk about it.
How I Launched Without a Webinar: The Power of LinkedIn Polls as Pre-Launch Content
So, when I was launching the LinkedIn Content Sprint last quarter, it was a lazy launch, which is so damn on brand for me. What I mean by that is I didn’t do a live webinar, or try to funnel people towards this thing I had to prepare for and stress over and blah blah blah.
Instead, I used a LinkedIn poll strategy, along with other kinds of pre-launch content that I covered in my last episode. I did a LinkedIn poll – which by the way is directly linked in the show notes so you can see what I’m talking about – and asked What keeps you from batching LinkedIn content for your visibility + thought leadership?
It’s a specific question that’s directly related and rooted in the transformation that’s promised inside the offer I was launching, which was to batch 6 months worth of content in a one-month sprint.
So take a moment to consider: what is the problem that you solve and the transformation you provide? What stops people from getting there on their own? Can you do a poll about it? Or, if you don’t want to live in the barriers, maybe you could ask about, what is their ultimate vision, dream, and goal if they were able to do this thing? Don’t overthink it. Probably the first thing that came up for you is perfect. A good check or gauge, is whether or not you could talk at length about those 2, 3, or 4 answers in the poll, easefully.
61 people voted in the poll. And with LinkedIn polls, I can see how folks respond but it’s externally confidential, meaning other people can’t see how other folks vote, they can just see the results in terms of percentages. And that’s good, especially if you work on an issue that’s stigmatized and misunderstood. And who doesn’t, really? If you’re worried about whether a poll is too “something” or that nobody will participate, it doesn’t hurt to try it.
Actually, a lot of people say to me, well, I haven’t done polls because I’m afraid nobody will respond. And here’s the thing, when you’re scrolling LinkedIn and you see a poll with 1 or 2 or NO responses, do you ever think to yourself, “Man, that person is a LOSER!” No, you probably don’t think about it at all, which is why you’re like huh I’ve never actually noticed that about other’s people’s polls. It’s the same thing here. In undergrad psych, I learned about a thing called the Spotlight Effect. Humans tend to overestimate how much other people think about us or notice what we’re doing.
Actually, there was a study done by a Cornell research team about this. The researchers asked a college student to wear a bright yellow Barry Manilow t-shirt and walk into a room of strangers. The students assumed that everyone in the room would notice them and remember that embarrassing shirt when asked about it later. It turns out, only about 20% of them noticed them at all.
It’s the same thing here. Don’t worry about looking dumb … it’s hard enough to get people to look at you and remember you at all. Not you, you, but any aspiring thought leader, coach, consultant, service provider, or social entrepreneur. That’s why consistency is key. OK, that was enough of a tangent, let me get back to the strategy.
61 people voted on the poll. As the creator of the poll, I can see how people voted and also, there’s a little message button next to each person so that I can easily send them a DM which also sends along the results of the poll with my message. It’s a circle with a little blue arrow. But when reaching out to them, I wanted to send something helpful, based on them taking the time to vote in the poll and share something about themselves with me.
So, I actually recorded an entire podcast episode about Breaking Down the Barriers Behind Batching LinkedIn Content, based on the poll results. It came out as I launched the Sprint officially so that people could enroll. And so, I sent a private message to each person who voted in the poll, using the little button so they would remember the poll I was even talking about. And I said, Hey, *niceties* Thanks for voting in this LinkedIn poll. This is what you voted for. I took the poll results and created a short podcast episode to help folks overcome these barriers. Let me know if it would be helpful to send over the link!
I didn’t just send the link immediately though. To me, that feels icky or spammy. Instead, I leaned on permission-based conversation and waited for them to say yeah, I actually do want that! Thanks! And about half of them, or 30 people said yes. So I sent the podcast link to them then, and invited them to reach out with any questions that came up for them.
How cool is that? By voting in the poll, they were essentially raising their hand to say, this is relevant to me and I fit into your equation somehow. By saying yes to the podcast link, they were essentially leaning in for more information. And because they were also seeing my other launch-related content, they knew there was an offer or solution available to them in that moment to solve that problem.
You might be saying well I don’t have a podcast! That’s totally fine! Do a blog, instead. Or, literally my favorite tool is Loom. Talk for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, whatever about each of the answers you’ve included in your poll and your perspective on those things. Provide value and actionable insights. Share your unique opinion, so people can get a glimpse of what it would be like to work with you and if they vibe. And remember, what you share in that piece could be the spark that inspires someone to get out of precontemplation and into action. That’s awesome! And that’s a win, no matter what.
Creative Ways to Use LinkedIn Polls
Another, more fun and creative way to get to know your audience is just to do a LinkedIn poll asking about something fun, that showcases your personality, interests, or something you geek out about.
Some of those examples I’ve done in the past include a poll around: What Hogwarts house do you belong to? Gryffindor was the clear winner, although I’m a Ravenclaw. That’s fine. Another favorite poll was: Fellow kids of Asian parents: Which kind of fruit did your parents cut for you most growing up? If you know, you know. Apples was the winner although for me personally, it was always oranges. And you know what? The comments section on those polls were popping off. I linked the fruit poll in the show notes so you can check it out. Talk about building community in the comments section! We understood each other and had a shared language to relate to each other based on our experience as children of Asian parents, generally immigrants.
What’s something personal and unique to your perspective and lived experience that you could share?
Have fun with it! You can do it! And when you do your poll, send it to me as a LinkedIn message so I can vote and participate. Can’t wait, friend!
Connect with me:
LinkedIn: Tania Bhattacharyya