Many of our new clients come to us thinking they have much more influence on LinkedIn than they really do. They have 500+ connections. They visit LinkedIn once or twice a day, join a bunch of groups, post blog articles, and make a comment on a discussion every now and then. Some of them even have their own groups with 100+ members.

But that, my friend, is not enough to make you influential.

What does it mean to be an influencer

When you’re an influencer, you can engage your target audience, provide them value and get them to make a change – either in their minds or their actions. Your messages and discussions resonate with them. When they have a problem in your area of expertise, they think of you.

Influence is not about numbers. It’s not about how many connections or group members you have. It’s not about how many conversations you share. It’s not about how often you check your news feed.

It’s about connecting with the right people, causing change and getting them to take action.

Here are 5 questions to determine if you’re headed in the right direction.

Are your connections the right connections? When our new clients take a good look at their LinkedIn contacts, they find most of them are worthless from a marketing and sales perspective. There are usually far more friends, co-workers, ex-co-workers, and non-prospect business contacts than there are actual potential buyers.

Are you actively connecting with your connections? Most people connect and then move on. To be an influencer you must stay in contact with the right people, contribute and share content that’s of value.

Does your LinkedIn profile make you look like an influencer? Buyers are influenced by people with the expertise to help them solve a problem or take advantage of a situation. Most profiles read like a resume.

Are you providing original content? While it can be useful in some circumstances to share what someone else has published, you won’t do much for your own position as a thought leader if you’re constantly piggybacking off the thought leadership of others.

Are you creating two-way discussions with your target prospects? Influencers provide content that provokes new thoughts and actions. They encourage others to get involved. They don’t use LinkedIn as a platform to just blast out their latest blog post.

How’d you do on the questions? If you answered with all yeses, you’re a pro. If you had some no’s, you’re not alone. But if you want have real influence on LinkedIn you need to be able to answer “yes” to all five questions.

How to get started building your influence.

Begin by updating your personal profile. I’m 99% sure you need a better one. Here’s an article to help you out: The Profile Setup Trap.

Listen to this recent teleseminar where I along with LinkedIn marketing expert Kristina Jaramillo and social content expert Eric Gruber show you how to mix content marketing with LinkedIn marketing to influence purchasing decisions throughout the complete IT buying process. Click here to get access to the recording.