How to Become a Thought Leader on LinkedIn. Guest: Ashley Faus

How to Become a Thought Leader on LinkedIn. Guest: Ashley Faus

Episode Overview

What exactly is a thought leader, and can anyone become one on LinkedIn? Ashley Faus joins the Good for Business Show to share her expert thoughts on how you too can build your personal brand and become a thought leader on LinkedIn.

Host Michelle J Raymond asks –

  • Are thought leaders born or made?
  • What is the difference between an Influencer vs Subject Matter Expert vs Thought Leader?
  • Ashley’s Four Pillars of Thought Leadership
  • Can Organisations be Thought Leaders?

Ashley Faus is Director of Integrated Product Marketing, Atlassian. Marketer, writer, speaker by day… singer, actor, fitness fiend by night! All views are her own.


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Good for Business Show Full Transcript

Michelle J Raymond: [00:00:00] It’s a global greetings to everyone that’s joined us for the Good for Business Show. Welcome everybody. This week I’m excited to be talking to the wonderful Ashley Faus, who is joining me to talk about a topic that you and I have discussed so much in the comments, it’s crazy. Thought Leadership. What is it? Who can be one? Is it the same thing as subject matter expertise? And also, I think it’s a dirty word, Influencer. Can I even say it? So Ashley, welcome to the show.

Ashley Faus: Yeah, I’m super excited about this. I know we’ve been joking about keeping it to a reasonable amount of time, but I believe in us, I think we can do it.

And we can always unpack any outstanding comments in the comments later.

Michelle J Raymond: Exactly because I’m very confident that there’s gonna be a lot of opinions on this particular topic, because I don’t think it’s something that’s clearly defined, but before we jump into your framework and discussing your views on this, I told you that I was gonna ask you, who are you? What do you do? And who do you help? So if you could to introduce [00:01:00] yourself, that would be amazing.

Ashley Faus: Sure. I’m Ashley. I am a marketer, writer and speaker by day and a singer, actor and fitness fiend by night. And so I do like to combine the personal and the professional, and you’ll see that as we talk through this, but I’ll bring in some examples from both personal and professional life.

I currently work for Atlassian, so we’re a collaboration software maker on a mission to unleash the potential of every team. We make products like Jira, Trello and Confluence are some of our big products.

In terms of who we help, so there’s kind of two sides to this again. There’s the personal side and professional side. So from a day job standpoint, I’m on the product marketing team, marketing to developers, primarily in Agile and DevOps space. And then on the personal side really thinking through, for businesses and for other marketing leaders and practitioners, how do they do better in their industry. And how do we do better in our craft?

Michelle J Raymond: Now there’s a couple of things that we’re gonna go into today and [00:02:00] I’m gonna start with one to get the brain flowing and not something that you often talk about. Do you think that thought leaders, and we’ll define them a little clearly in a moment, but do you think that they’re born or made? Is it nature or nurture?

Ashley Faus: It is like 98% nurture. I think thought leaders are made a nd I think there are a number of very smart, very capable, very visionary, very innovative, all the positive words about that forward thinking mindset. But if that is not harnessed in the right way, if it’s not put out into the world in the right way, if the timing is off, if the messaging is off, if the profile is off, if people don’t know who you are, if you’re just super smart sitting in your own little corner, you are not a thought leader.

And so that’s why I am so insistent that it is 98% nurture. I also think that people can acquire new skills, acquire new knowledge. They can reframe their [00:03:00] perspective, they can have a growth mindset and so even if you are not innately this visionary forward thinking innovative creative person, I actually think that’s a skill that you can build to get you into that thought leadership status.

Michelle J Raymond: So that therefore means whether I’m an extrovert or introvert that doesn’t have an impact, would you agree with that?

Ashley Faus: I would agree with that. I also get very annoyed about the extrovert introvert thing, because it’s a, it’s an energy thing. It’s not a talkative thing. And I say that as I am off the charts extroverted.

I get recharged. Like You drop me in a room at our conference, with 5,000 people and I’m like, “guys this is my favourite. Like, all my friends are here and you’re telling me that I get to be on.” People are like, you have a lot of energy and I frequently have to be like, yes, let’s be a professional adult right now.

But then at a conference with 5,000 people, you’re telling me I get to be up here and everyone else is like that for three days. This is my happy [00:04:00] place. So I actually think that there are some amazing thought leaders who are introverts or quiet, like even Brene Brown she is an excellent example of somebody who is a thought leader in her field, but who is not what you would traditionally think of as, powerful or pushing or whatever things you wanna associate with kind of that traditional mindset around thought leadership.

Michelle J Raymond: Exactly and I wanted to bring that up because I think sometimes people like to hide behind that. I don’t like to be centre stage. I don’t want people to pay attention to me. I don’t want to be out front and center. People like you and me, Ashley, I’m the same. Throw me in the biggest crowd possible. It’s why I love New York city. I like make me a little ant in amongst all of that energy and let me just have fun, that’s amazing.

But working from home by myself. Yeah. That comes another whole set of other challenges. So I really want people to listen in, to what we’ve got to say over the next 25 minutes, because the opportunity, I’m with you, I believe it’s there for [00:05:00] everybody.

Everybody has a voice. I wanted to have this conversation because I want to encourage more people to share their voice. Share their thoughts. I read one of your posts, just this morning that said it’s not about being contrarian. Like you don’t have to go against the grain. Do you wanna just explain that post a little bit more for people that may not have seen it?

Ashley Faus: Sure. So you’ll often hear people talk about that you must be contrarian. If you’re a thought leader, then you have to be saying something that no one else is saying. And I actually disagree with that. I do agree that you need to be shaping the conversation. You do have to have unique thoughts. You do have to be adding to the conversation and pushing it forward. That is very different than just saying the opposite of what everyone else is saying. Those are not the same thing, number one.

Number two, if you really wanna dig into it, there’s nothing new under the sun. This is another common pushback where people are like, oh, somebody’s already said this and oh, these ideas, everybody’s just saying the same thing. Um, well actually if you go back 50 years, [00:06:00] this organisation, or this field was saying this 50 years ago, so this is nothing new.

And so the thing that makes it unique is your personal experience, your personal expertise, your knowledge, and your spin on it. And so this idea that if I just start saying no. If I come out and say, yes, I think it’s nurture and you come out and say, no, it’s nature.

Michelle J Raymond: That makes us politicians.

Ashley Faus: Yeah. You’re not a thought leader just because you disagreed with me. That’s not how this works. I think that’s a big thing of just like saying no or being contrarian, just to be contrarian. That’s just being contrarian. That’s not being a thought leader.

Michelle J Raymond: Exactly. Now let’s jump onto it, cause we’ve danced around it a little bit. For people that are listening in, I did a post because I said before I was on LinkedIn full time as my proper job, as opposed to it being a part of what I used to do in my sales leadership career, that I never even heard the word thought leader.

To me, it’s just a thing that gets thrown [00:07:00] around on LinkedIn. Probably more so, comfortable with terms like subject matter expert. I worked in my career with a lot of technical experts in different fields. And so I wanted to get your thoughts on what’s the difference between an influencer, a subject matter expert and a thought leader based on your framework.

Ashley Faus: Sure. I’ll just give a quick overview of the pillars of the framework, cause I think the nuance does matter and this is a problem that I wrestled with and I’m not a hundred percent sure that I have it solved, but it seems to be working well from a practical standpoint for me. And it seems to resonate externally, so I’ll say it.

The four pillars are credibility, profile, being prolific and strong depth of ideas. And so for you to become a thought leader, you need to be strong in all four of those pillars. They all work together. If you’re an influencer or subject matter, you’re weaker in some pillars. One thing that I always say, and I know we talked about this a little bit, in the comments, on the promo for this, of like [00:08:00] “is influencer a dirty word? like, is it only for the Kardashians?” And I’m like, oh, I hope not. Goodness. I actually tried to frame this up in my mind.

This is really about knowledge workers or, it could be scientists or whatever, but I come from software as a service, B2B marketing and so I’m a bit biased in that way, that I actually think you can be very effective both on behalf of the organisation, in your teams and in your career without being fully a thought leader.

And so if we take those pillars and we say, okay, a thought leader is quite strong in all of them, what are the differences then for an influencer versus a subject matter expert? And so what I would say is that subject matter experts have very high credibility, but they have a very low profile. And in most cases they’re not particularly prolific. And they’re a little bit, in some cases, weak on depth of ideas. They know the problem space very well. They know the existing solutions space very well.

That does give them kind of an unfair advantage [00:09:00] in looking at potential solutions for the future and how you iterate or, potentially seeing where the problem space is going in the future. So I think they can be strong in depth of ideas, but in most cases, they’re really just inside their teams or inside their small industry and they’re not really prolific, they’re sharing their knowledge on maybe a one to one basis or in a small venue. So that’s where I would say that’s the difference between those two.

Influencers on the other hand, tend to be weaker in that depth of ideas but tend to be very strong in having a strong profile and then usually being prolific in one channel. So I think they also are probably around in the middle of credibility because you wouldn’t consider someone to have influence if no one trusts them. If no one believes what they’re saying, then they’re not gonna have influence. Like in the Kardashian case, that’s just famous.

Michelle J Raymond: Look, I just think that there’s a general assumption if I say the word influencer, there’s a general assumption that the term influencer [00:10:00] has a negative connotation. God forbid that somebody gets paid to promote something else, and I think we’re all getting paid in some way, shape or form, to promote goods, product, services.

But for me, I think influencer, the word has become tainted. And for most people, if I went to them and said, Ashley, you’re an influencer, not a thought leader, would you be offended by that?

Ashley Faus: It’s funny, a number of people have tried to say that I am a thought leader on thought leadership and I’m like, oh, according to my own framework, I’m not a thought leader. I actually reject both of those. People asked me when I also posted a little bit of this difference and I think it dovetailed with something you said, and that’s where we connected. I’m like, oh my gosh, we need to talk about this on the podcast. And somebody in the comments asked me basically how would I score myself?

And I said, I am probably most aligned with the subject matter expert. I’ve got numbers and all sorts of things to set baselines BMI framework and I would score myself as probably a subject matter expert, but I do hope to [00:11:00] continue growing into that thought leadership piece.

And there’s so many people, myself included, where I’ve almost said that the thought leadership is tainted. I don’t think I would be offended at being called an influencer. I think I would just disagree. I don’t think my profile is big enough. I would agree if somebody said, oh, you’re a micro influencer in the marketing community. I could agree with that.

I actually think it’s less that I’m like, Ugh, don’t call me that. And more that I’m like, I don’t actually think I’m on that level. I don’t think that my profile is big enough to be considered an influencer. I don’t think that my credibility outside of marketing is high enough for me to really be considered a thought leader.

I also think my depth of ideas. I think theres I’ve done some fine work, but I don’t think I’m quite at that level where the depth of ideas has that influence beyond that smaller community, to where I would say I’m at that influencer or thought leadership level, like I’m weaker in some pillars, so it’s less offense and more, [00:12:00] I think I have more room to grow.

Michelle J Raymond: There’s steps to go. On LinkedIn, we’re measured by numbers. So number of followers, connections, those kind of things. Do you think there’s a certain number that someone has to have before they qualify for influencer or thought leader? If they’re prolific, I can see the number of posts or content that they put out could be part of being prolific and that’s easily measured, but is there an actual number? Because I feel as a LinkedIn trainer, I’ve got like 10,000 connections slash followers now. I feel like if people put me side by side with another person offering similar services, they would look and say 10,000 versus 20,000, that other person, I think they would give more credibility to. Do you think that’s how we work on social media?

Ashley Faus: I do. And I, when I initially was trying to put some things down to solve this from a practical standpoint of like, how do I make it so that other people internally can look at [00:13:00] this and have some sense of progress and baselines and those kinds of things, and the numbers that I actually initially put down.

I was like, let’s keep this simple, let’s say there’s three levels, for each pillar. And so I initially said if you’ve got less than a thousand followers, like no, Just no. Yeah. Not happening. Yeah. And then I said at this pillar, whatever the middle tier, I said if you’ve got more than 5,000 followers, you’re doing okay.

And then at the top tier call it more than 10,000. I think that it is highly dependent on the niche, who your audience is, who you’re trying to help , the level, even if we start thinking about how this is gonna influence things like brand or deal velocity or deal size, getting into some of those terms that you know about from a sales perspective, that is gonna vary. And all of these pillars work together in tandem, right? There’s also an element, not just in terms of number of followers, but also the prestige of the places where you show up. If the only place you show up is on LinkedIn or Twitter and you’re not showing on [00:14:00] podcasts or webinars or conference stages, or third party outlets where you’re publishing that have that prestige, you start getting into a little bit of that kind of Kardashian effect where it’s like you have a million followers, like why, what are you do ? And then you start getting into that. Okay.

From a credibility standpoint, how much credibility you actually have with them, and how much are you actually influencing them? Because a million people. That’s a, that’s so many, but how many are you actually influencing? I would argue, especially for you, you’re a super connector like, you know, freaking everybody.

And so even though your following might be relatively smaller, like you’ve picked an excellent niche, your ideal customer, you have made excellent connections. Deep connections, right? Again, this conversation I’m like, oh, I’m talking to my old friends, Michelle, we know each other. Like we know each other. And on one hand, yes. I think that the follower count does matter. On the other hand, I struggle to put [00:15:00] a hard number to it because I think there’s so many different factors and the quality of those connections and the influence and credibility with those followers does matter.

Michelle J Raymond: And I think the one thing maybe that you didn’t talk about just then that I’d like to add in is about the time on the platform, because we’re now seeing the platform is roughly divided between Gen Z, Millennials, Boomers, they’re on LinkedIn in equal numbers. And we’re looking at it now going okay. If you’ve just been on the platform for five minutes and you’ve grown really quickly, and we’re seeing that right now, like the numbers for some of these young Gen Z, Millennial people that are coming onto LinkedIn are growing. Like they make my eyes water.. Yeah. Now is that more valuable than to someone like me I’ve been using LinkedIn for around eight years.

There are people that’ve been using it for nearly 20 years that have their full 30,000 of connections. That just because of the time that they’ve been on the platform is how they’ve actually arrived at having those kind of numbers. So I like the idea that you said, I think it’s the depth of the relationships.

Like [00:16:00] how many people could I reach out to? Have an invitation to them to say “come on my show” or something different, whatever it is, but have that ability to have an in depth conversation. And I think that’s a measure that people should pay attention to. Where are they getting invited? Where are they showing up?

Like Ashley, I know you do presentations, externally you’re a speaker, it might be for HubSpots Inbound all kinds of different places. So from that perspective, I think people need to untrain their social media brain and just not measure on those numbers. The numbers are a one measure, but I think that the quality of comments like Danielle Guzman is my favorite commenter on LinkedIn fullstop.

I’m sure she could have way more connections if that was her goal. But for me personally, like she is the bomb, for the connections, the commenting, the original thought leadership. So you know, her and yourself are the two people that I go, I want to know what you are saying. I think that’s the difference.

There are a lot of people in my [00:17:00] community that I’m like. Yeah. You know, If I see it, it’s nice, but yours and hers specifically, I go looking for it. So if anyone hasn’t gone to Ashley’s profile, go to her profile top right hand corner, just under the cover image is a little bell. I suggest that you ring that bell and click all posts.

Because I know that every single one that you get is valuable. So that’s for me personally I wholeheartedly endorse you because I just love that you make me think, and I think that. Part of it is that I don’t just read your post and think, oh, I’ve heard that all before. It actually makes me question what I think, and I think that’s the important part of thought leadership.

And I see on LinkedIn, I call them the regurgitators and they drive me crazy because all they do is one person posts and it’s borderline plagiarism. And there’s structures and formats, and we’re just gonna post the same stuff. There’s no originality like, and I think that to me is something that’s, really important.

I know this conversation’s kind of gone around a few different ways and maybe we’ve of [00:18:00] covered this, but just so that we’ve got it clear, the four pillars of your thought leadership framework. Can you just go over those again so that people can really get an understanding?

Ashley Faus: Yeah. First is credibility .This is really about do people believe what you say? Do they trust you? Do they think that you are an expert on this topic? So that I would say is that’s a key for both the subject matter experts and for the thought leaders. Next is profile. So this is how many people know you and that’s inside and outside your circle.

So one way I like to think about this is the nature of the connections. So when you’re just starting it’s probably. 90% you actually know this person, you’ve met them at an event, you’ve worked together. As you grow. It’s actually flipped. It’s 90% know you, but you only know 10% of them. The other piece in this profile pillar is around where you show up. So it’s not just your social media followings, but it’s also, what are the stages that you get on? There’s a big difference between speaking at an internal town hall and speaking on the [00:19:00] TED stage, there is a big difference between writing a blog post for your company and getting featured in the New York Times.

And so when you start thinking about profiles and you think about a New York Times best selling author or a TED speaker, that has a different amount of cache than, I spoke in Atlassian town hall. Again, even from an audience perspective, right? The TED audience is very select. It might only be a thousand people and depending on how big your company is, your town hall might be bigger, but it’s just your town hall.

So that’s another good caveat for profiles. Being prolific. So this is about how much content you are sharing and how many different places that you’re showing up. So again and I think this is actually great from like a LinkedIn perspective where if people are just looking and saying, oh, if the only place you’re on is LinkedIn.

If you’re not writing articles, you’re not publishing in other places. You’re not showing up on other, speaking engagements and those kinds of things. Okay. Are you actually prolific or you are just focused on this one platform. So again, influencers are a great example. Particularly if you look at [00:20:00] something like, TikTok, they’ve got a million followers on TikTok and it’s okay, but they’re only on TikTok. They’re nowhere else, but they’re not, or they’re only on Instagram, for example, if that’s another big one. So this is especially from a business perspective and a knowledge worker perspective.

You have to be on multiple platforms, you have to be doing different content types and you have to be doing that regularly. And then the last one is depth of ideas. And this is really what I think a lot of people attach to thought leaderships, it’s this sense that you’re visionary, right? But you’re driving the conversation.

You’re shaping the conversation. You’re you know, making it in a way that people point to it and say, have you seen what this person has said? It’s really influenced how I think about things or what I put into practice. And the other way that I think about this is it’s the biggest compliment to me where if I go present at a conference for somebody to email me afterwards and be like, Hey, I was using your framework to create and I had a question and I’m like, it works. It’s not just me. It works right. This is where you [00:21:00] really start to get beyond just, I have a skill in my day job to really thinking about, okay, I have expertise or I have knowledge that I’ve developed and have now shared with somebody else.

And they’ve actually been able to take action or iterate or build on it. And so it’s beyond just teaching someone a specific skill that. Oh, I did this in the past and here’s how it worked for me. And it’s more about, again, this framework where I get people all the time who are like wanting to really pin down very specific things.

And I’m like no, no, no, it’s a framework. It’s not rules. It’s a framework.

Michelle J Raymond: It’s really funny. So. I am going to confess that when I started out setting up my business two years ago, I had no intentions of becoming a thought leader. Like that wasn’t even part of, I was just trying to make money to pay bills, like that was that’s where I was.

And yeah, I just happened to spot a niche around company pages and just went hard on that. And then it [00:22:00] evolved over time. I never set out to be the world’s expert on company pages. It was something that just kind of took time. You know, It didn’t happen just because I said it would. So things practically, so I can share with other people, things that I do to help me be seen as that, is obviously creating content.

That’s a big part of my strategy, supporting others to get the most out of company page is a huge part of what I do and should never be underrated. Like most people know how much I will go outta my way to help shine a light to help other people grow their company pages, answer quick problems. There’s that. That led to the opportunity to write Business Gold, which is a shameless plug and I didn’t realize how much that would have an impact on how other people saw me.

You know, I was like, Okay. So I wrote a book they’re like, Michelle, you wrote a book, right? Yeah. And I’m sitting here going yep. I wrote a book and I didn’t recognise, I really didn’t recognise genuinely the impact [00:23:00] that would have on how other people saw me. So everyone would be excited to know there’s another book coming that I’m writing with somebody else at the end of this year.

So stay tuned. I can’t share, but there’s another one coming I’m but.

Ashley Faus: I’m excited about this.

Michelle J Raymond: Yeah. So I’m excited about it as well, because it compliments that book. So that’s all I can say on this show, but November 18, it will come out. It’s my birthday. I launched the last book on my birthday. So shhh. My co-author’s probably going Michelle. But the other thing that I’ve done as part of my strategy, is having this show.

So I get to have cool people like you come on the show and then that gives me credibility, because look who I can get on my show. I can get Ashley. I can get Danielle. I can get the LinkedIn pages team. I can get Mark Firth next week. I can get all kinds of people. The flip side is I go and be a guest on other people’s show and they set me up as the expert.

And, I always walk away going. Wow. That’s how they see me. That [00:24:00] endorsement backs it up. So there’s lots of little collaborative ways that you can do it. Helping others, appearing as a guest on podcasts, Lives, LinkedIn Audio is now available. So look for a way that you’re comfortable with know that these things, I think have a cumulative effect over time.

You can’t just go hard for a month and disappear, to go with what you said, thought leaders aren’t born overnight.

Ashley Faus: Exactly it. And you have to get that social proof, right? Getting that first, the first time you’re a guest on a podcast or the first time you’re writing for, a third party outlet.

Right. people don’t know, are you gonna freak out? Are you bad on camera? Am I gonna be this person? That’s just like this? And you’re like, why are you creepy? Like, why can’t you be on camera in a decent way? Are you gonna get on stage and just freak out? And so the more that you can show up consistently, the more people are like, oh you know what you’re talking about?

You didn’t just memorize the script for this one thing, or you didn’t have this one article heavily edited and now you [00:25:00] can’t write or whatever the thing is. So it’s not just the cumulative so that you keep showing up. It’s also cumulative. So you keep getting invited back.

Michelle J Raymond: And you can’t outsource it. You can’t get somebody else to write your thought leadership.

So for those people that reach out to me, want me to write their content so they can become a thought leader. That’s not gonna happen. Conscious of time, conscious that I wanna cover off this ’cause I love B2B. I come at it from a sales perspective, social selling perspective, but can organizations be thought leaders or does it just need to be individuals?

Ashley Faus: I think organizations can be thought leaders, but they have to go through people. So if you think about, and this is particularly true with a lot of the big consultancies Deloitte or McKenzie or BCG, if something comes out of those, if it’s like, I asked a study from Deloitte, you’re like, oh, this is serious time Deloitte did this right. Or, oh, BCG has come out with a new framework. You’re like, okay, I need to look at this framework. The reason that is true is [00:26:00] because they have been consistently sending their people, you know, talking, sharing, writing, et cetera. Somebody, a human had to do the research, had to write the report, had to distribute it, right? There’s a human behind that brand. So yes, I think organisations can be thought leaders. I think that if you, especially, if you are a smaller business and you’re just starting up in this space and no one knows who you are, you’re gonna be better served by having a couple of people who are the face of the brand.

You can actually attach things to those different people, that your brand then stands for. So when you become a big brand like a Deloitte or a BCG or something like that, then sure that halo goes onto the face. If you’re just starting out the face gives a halo to the brand. So it’s gotta be a symbiotic relationship.

I think that you can’t just choose one or the other. I do think organisations can be thought leaders. Um, It is harder for organisations because they tend to veer into sales pitches and [00:27:00] insisting that like we’re doing thought leadership about why our product solves this best. I’m like, no that’s sales content.

And again, this is a whole other topic that like all content

Michelle J Raymond: Don’t go dissin sales.

Ashley Faus: All content should be quality content. If somebody wants to buy something that should be a positive quality experience, that sales experience should be quality. But, insisting that your product or approach or service is the right way to solve a problem is not thought leadership that is sales.

Thought leadership is about, defining the problems space, defining the solution space, pushing the problem space forward, pushing the solutions space forward. So yes, that is a bit of a long-winded tangent to say yes, I think organisations can be thought leaders, but there’s gotta be a symbiotic relationship between the faceless company and the face of the brand in terms of, their employees or whoever they basically their


Michelle J Raymond: Look, absolutely. I call it synergy. That’s what my whole product line is built [00:28:00] on. It’s getting the best out of the company brand to amplify personal brands, using personal brands to amplify the company and having them both work together.

So exactly you and I are on the same part. Now, the last question that I have, and before we wrap this up is that each week, every episode, I like to make sure that if someone has been listening along and they’re inspired to take some more action, what is one thing specifically on LinkedIn that you think is something that they can take away today and start doing that would start the journey to position themselves as a thought leader?

Ashley Faus: Sure. So I think the first step is that is often the hardest is people don’t know what to write about. And so they get very stressed because they don’t know how to start creating content. So I have two prompts that I love because you can take them in a bunch of different ways. So the first is share a question that you have asked today.

It could be personal, it could be professional, something that is a question that you’ve asked today. Put that out. Did you find an answer to [00:29:00] it? Are you still asking that question? Do you still need help with it? Did that spark some other questions in your mind? You can take that in whatever way it leads you.

The second question is, a question that you’ve answered today and again, personal professional, big, small, what was the answer like? Why did that person think that you have the expertise for it? Why is this top of mind? How does this relate to your job? So those are two very specific questions prompts that you can use as a jumping off point.

And if you’re sitting there saying, my kid asked me what we’re having for dinner. Why would I post that on LinkedIn? You tell me, what is it like to be a working parent? How do you deal with work life balance or your work life integrator or work life balancer? How do you go about doing your meal planning and how does that translate into the project management that you do for work?

Those are three things that I can talk about that I can relate those back to something professional on LinkedIn, if you need that tie in. So that would be just a suggestion to say start thinking beyond just I’ve determined that I am a marketer who talks about the content [00:30:00] things and therefore I shall no, that’s not how any, that’s not how people work.

A question you asked and a question you answered and wherever that kind of takes you start to experiment and see, and just start getting in that habit and looking at the conversations that, that generates as your next jumping off point for more content.

Michelle J Raymond: I love it. So I’m gonna give people a tip that actually came from my mum when I was 17 and let’s just say I wasn’t an angel teenager and she gave me a lesson, which I did not take at that time, but I keep saying it all the time now. She says, “Michelle, if you hang out with garbage, you smell like it.” And I translate that onto LinkedIn, that if you hang around people that keep you low. That are just talking rubbish that are really just out to cause trouble on the platform you are guilty by association and never going to be a thought leader. Conversely, go soar with the eagles and find those people that are really that next level up for where you wanna get to. Support their content, involve yourself in their conversations and be surrounded [00:31:00] by those people that can really lift you up.

That to me is my goal for this year is to just keep lifting myself up and looking for people that challenge me to grow, make me think. Ashley, you are one of those people. I appreciate you for coming on the show. I appreciate you for your content. That makes me think, I think you’re a thought leader. I don’t care about the size or whatever you say.

For me personally, I think a thought leader is someone that when I see their content, it makes me think, makes me be better and you qualify for that. So thank you for coming. Thank you, everyone else that’s joined this week’s episode. Next week we’re gonna be talking about how people can use B2B events on LinkedIn to generate leads with Mark Firth.

So of course I love a good LinkedIn Live, LinkedIn audio, so it will be fun. So I do hope everyone can come next week as well. On that note it’s been fun and thank you again, Ashley. Cheers. Yeah. Thank you. Bye.

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