From Zero to 10k: How I Gained Real LinkedIn Followers [Case Study]

Linkedin is a social network for professionals. When I first joined Linkedin a few years back, I was a university student with no real knowledge about the platform. I thought of it as a "boring platform" with not much to do on it. As years passed by and I walked towards the beginning of my professional career, I realized Linkedin was not just some platform that I could ignore. Linkedin was an opportunity to expand my own startups and excel in my professional career!

Linkedin was launched in 2003 as a professional network targeting individuals that were career oriented. The platform has grown into a strong niche-based social network and is gaining more audience with the passage of time. Linkedin now attracts organizations, startups, job seekers, and even entrepreneurs. The purpose of this platform is to connect with like-minded individuals and to build a strong network with professionals. 

In this case study, I'll reveal the secrets to my Linkedin success. I began Linkedin with 0 followers and as of today (30th April 2023), I have more than 10000 Linkedin followers and each of them is a legit follower. I was able to build this small audience by following smart social media growth techniques and did not feel the need to buy any bot followers, which are useless.

So if you're someone who's searching for a legitimate Linkedin growth strategy, this case study is for you. By the end of this study, you will know what exactly you need to do to reach your first 10K followers milestone on Linkedin.

What You Should Do Before Making a Linkedin Growth Plan?

Linkedin is all about quality professional content. Before beginning your Linkedin growth process, you should first ask yourself the following questions:

  • How many followers do I want and in what time duration?
  • What is my area of expertise?
  • How many posts can I easily write in a given week?
  • Which industries am I interested in?
  • What is my target audience?
  • How Can I make my Linkedin account stand out?

These are some questions that you must ask yourself before implementing any Linkedin strategy. When I first made an account on Linkedin, I did not know what to post. Back then, I had launched a new website so I started sharing its links on Linkedin. That was all of my content on the platform.

This, however, was a very unprofessional approach. Linkedin was not just another social networking site where I could post anything that I wanted. To be successful on Linkedin, I had to be more professional and plan my content categories. To do that, I sat down one day and thought about what my expertise was.

  • Content writing was my passion. 
  • I loved product development.
  • I was into data analysis.
  • Some of my friends told me I was a good motivational speaker.

This was the summary of what I had in mind. So instead of choosing a single topic, I decided to create content based on the combination of topics mentioned above. My aim was to gain followers on Linkedin with the passage of time and build a strong professional network.

How I Gained My First 10K Followers on Linkedin?

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Now comes the part where I reveal the secrets to Linkedin success. Linkedin is a platform where you can make yourself a brand. A good brand is trusted by people and everyone likes to make it a part of their life. So the first thing I did was, took a professional photo to use as my Linkedin display picture. Next, I created a background profile banner using a free theme available at Canva. 

The profile banner had my area of expertise mentioned and my name on it. This is a good way to highlight what you're good at. Net, I started adding experiences to my profile, certifications, skills, volunteer work, achievements, and all the basic steps that are required to complete a Linkedin profile. 

The important thing to keep in mind is that I kept everything extremely professional. You can visit my Linkedin profile to have a look at the structure of my profile and how I have organized my content. 

In addition the all the basic steps, I added a "Featured Posts" section at the top. Every post that was worthy of being there was added to the section as soon as it got some response from the audience. Apart from these steps, here's how I gained 10K followers on Linkedin:

1. Posted Textual and Visual Content on Linkedin Regularly

When my Linkedin account was new, I decided to post regularly on the platform to gain visibility. I had already added around 30-40 people on Linkedin that I knew from work and school. I published 4-5 short posts on Linkedin every month. Yes, that's right. I'm not talking about 5 posts a week but 5 posts a month. 

Normally, when you ask someone for tips to grow your Linkedin following, they'd suggest you post regularly every week. In my experience, posting the right content is important and not the number of posts. Posting too much on Linkedin can annoy your target audience since it's relatively a smaller social network compared to Facebook and Twitter and your posts are more likely to reach more audiences.

What I noticed was that posting new content attracted new connection requests. Since I have a creator account on Linkedin, I got on average 3-4 connection requests and 1-2 followers every time I posted a piece of content that was interesting for users.

2. What Type of Content Did I Post?

This is an important question that will help you out in making an effective Linkedin growth strategy. Not all types of content are good for your Linkedin profile. Some types of content can backfire. For example, as I mentioned in the beginning, I used to publish website links on Linkedin at the beginning. 

While this was an easy way to post more content, I noticed that my links had a very less reach and I didn't get much engagement from the audience. Maybe because posting just links seem like a spammy tactic and wasn't liked much on the platform. 

I then began publishing textual and visual content. Following are some types of content that I published on Linkedin and in the brackets at the end I've written "G" to represent content that to me a good response and a "WR" to represent content that got a weak response.

  1. My personal milestones such as starting a new position, launching something, etc. (G)
  2. Motivational quotes. (WR)
  3. Content related to trending news globally such as Sri Lanka getting bankrupt. (G)
  4. Personal experience in my professional life. (G)
  5. Reposts from other users. (WR)
  6. Completing a course on Linkedin Learning. (WR)
  7. My ongoing projects. (G)
  8. Analysis of a product that I launched. (G)
  9. My workplace achievements. (G)
  10. My opinions on current workplace/business practices. (G)
  11. Content related to product development. (G)
  12. Content related to data analysis. (G)
  13. One-line content with no real value. (WR)
  14. Text content. (G)
  15. Image content (WR/G)

As a beginner, you should focus on creating content that is likely to get a good response from the audience. You can still experiment with WR content on Linkedin. However, if your content provides value to readers, your WR content can turn into a G content as well.

3. Is Using Hashtags Recommended on Linkedin?

In my personal experience, no. I know you'd be surprised by this but I've noticed that the posts I published using hashtags got fewer impressions than the posts I published without hashtags on Linkedin. My assumption is that when we use hashtags on Linkedin, the platform focuses on making your content visible to people of similar interests only. 

So for example, If I use #SEO in my post, people with an interest in SEO are most likely to see my content. But what about people who have not mentioned their interest in SEO on Linkedin?

When I published content without hashtags, I got more impressions on Linkedin and as a result, the engagements on my posts grew. So for me, using hashtags is not very ideal on Linkedin. You can experiment by using hashtags on some posts and see if it makes a difference for you. 

How Did I Manage to Post Regularly on Linkedin?

A serious obstacle between you and getting thousands of Linkedin followers is poor time management skills. It's not a weakness, sometimes we're actually so busy that we're unable to make time for social media networks at all. What I did to resolve this problem is that I downloaded multiple free social media schedulers like Hootsuite and Buffer and started scheduling my posts on these platforms.

Instead of needing time daily to post on Linkedin, I now just needed 1-2 days every month to plan and schedule my content. Schedulers are an important tool for social media marketing. Many famous influencers that you see on social networks use scheduling tools to plan their monthly content. To promote your Linked account organically, scheduling tools can act as support platforms for you. 

I usually plan my Linkedin content on a Sunday and then use the auto-scheduling feature to schedule it evenly across the month. This way, I stay stress-free for the next 30 days at least!

It is important to engage your audience regularly to get the maximum results on this professional platform. These smart social media tactics can easily help you get more followers on Linkedin. 

How Long Did It Take Me to Reach 10K Followers on Linkedin?

I've been on Linkedin for years but technically, I started using Linkedin properly in 2022. I haven't been very regular, I'll admit, so it took me around 1 year to cross the 10K mark. Even if now you visit my Linkedin profile, you won't see many posts every week, just a few posts every month. This is because I believe in sharing value with my followers instead of just posting stuff to get impressions on Linkedin.

You can reach the 10K milestone quicker than me by posting a bit more regularly. However, make sure that your content is providing value to users and avoid any spamming tactics such as using ChatGPT for sharing unoriginal content on the platform. 

You can publish more content using AI tools but it would never be as effective as your own unique thoughts and ideas. I'd recommend you use AI tools only to get ideas for Linkedin content but write everything yourself. Make your content relatable by adding your own personal experiences. 

Is Having More Legitimate Followers on Linkedin Beneficial for You?

Well, the answer to this question is a big YES. I've been networking on Linkedin for a long time now and just because I have more followers, my posts get a good reach. Here are some benefits that I've noticed of networking on Linkedin:

  1. Stronger visibility in front of professionals from different industries.
  2. You get recognized for your work.
  3. You're approached by employers.
  4. You're approached by influencers and interviewers.
  5. You can get more support for your startups.
  6. An easy method to promote your services for free.
  7. Good for self-branding and professional insights from other individuals. 

Having a strong Linkedin profile can increase your trust score when it comes to searching for potential employers, business partners, or even investors. Linkedin is like your portfolio, you can share your profile link with anyone to tell them who you are and what exactly are you good at.

This was all from my side. If you found this case study helpful, do share it with your friends. Keep visiting us for more interesting content!

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