LinkedIn alone will limit you as a thought leader

LinkedIn alone will limit you as a thought leader

I know of some people who are working hard to be thought leaders. They pump out content after content, day after day. But they are making a BIG mistake that is going to cost them in the long run:

They make LinkedIn their main content platform.

I’m not saying you cannot be a thought leader if you make this BIG mistake. But you can be much more successful if you avoid making this mistake.

So, why is this a mistake?

LinkedIn owns your audience

The problem with making LinkedIn your main content platform is that it will not give you the email addresses of your subscribers and followers. Consequently, LinkedIn owns your audience. You are just a serf renting your audience from your LinkedIn lord. As Mark Schaefer wrote here,

How many email addresses do you own from the content you publish only on LinkedIn? None. So why is LinkedIn your content platform? They own your audience.

As I wrote in Is your business a serf under social media’s feudalism?,

Your business’s customer/lead list belongs to the social media platform. If your social media lord does not grant access to your own customer/lead list, you effectively have no means of contacting them directly.


More importantly, your business’s customer/lead list is a business asset. A business asset has a tangible monetary value that gives your business a value. You can later sell your business if it has substantial business value.

Your subscribers and followers on LinkedIn will not become a valuable business asset. They have very little worth in terms of commercial value.

But your email list is much more valuable. With that, you can directly communicate with your audience without worrying about the capricious nature of your social media lords. You have more options in nurturing your relationship with your audience with an email list. For example, you can collect information about your audience by inferring from their clicks on your email. With more information, you can personalise your communication with them even further.

Your LinkedIn posts will not be found on Google

As Mark Schaefer wrote,

Now, if somebody wants to find you through search and give you their money, they go to Google and enter juicy keywords. What’s the chance they’re going to find some post you created on LinkedIn? Go ahead and try it. Do LinkedIn posts show up in any Google search? No.

To be found on a Google search, you need to write articles for your own LinkedIn Newsletter. But consider this: Since LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft, which is a competitor of Google, do you think Google will be generous in helping you be found in your LinkedIn Newsletter?

LinkedIn articles and newsletters don’t appear on AI queries

Mark Schaefer wrote,

When she queried AI bots about the top thought leaders in AI and search, none of the familiar experts posting through newsletters and LinkedIn showed up. In fact, all of the information provided by AI bots was absorbed from bloggers she had never heard of (but she is following them now!).

I think this is true for now.

But in future, this may change. As this article reported,

As AI companies keep building bigger and better models, they’re running down a shared problem: sometime soon, the internet won’t be big enough to provide all the data they need.


As the Wall Street Journal reports, some companies are looking for alternative sources of data training now that the internet is growing too small, with things like publicly-available video transcripts and even AI-generated “synthetic data” as options.

To be more precise, AI companies will be running out of PUBLICLY available data to train. Publicly available data include web pages that are accessible by search engines.

It is commonly understood that the surface web, which is publicly accessible and indexed by search engines, makes up a small portion of the total Internet. The deep web, which is not indexed and includes private databases, copyrighted books, membership websites, etc is much larger.

Then there’s the private Internet, which includes your private messages, conversations, and private information you store on apps, etc.

I expect that very soon, Big Tech will revise the T&C and privacy policies to vacuum up your private data to train their AI. With the demise of advertising, AI will be the new reason for the extension of surveillance capitalism. That is when Microsoft may decide to use your LinkedIn content to train their AI. But whether that will benefit you in terms of being found as a thought leader remains to be seen.

Your LinkedIn content will be trapped within the LinkedIn universe

This means that when you use LinkedIn as your main content platform, it will mostly spread within the LinkedIn universe. But to be a thought leader, you will not want to limit yourself to LinkedIn alone. You want to spread your content as far as possible. You want to cast as wide a net as possible. You want to be found not only on LinkedIn but also on Google search, Bing search, generative AI chats like ChatGPT, Copilot, Gemini, other social media platforms and so on.

That is why you need a website

To do that, you need a website with your domain and a means to collect email addresses to publish your blog. Then your fame will spread far beyond LinkedIn. Your strategy will be to direct your subscribers and followers to your website, which is your central focal point. To be a thought leader, you cannot be a serf to your social media lords.

This is something we can help you with. Do not hesitate to talk to us! We are here for you.


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About the Author
Terence Kam Terence Kam
Terence is the founder of Stratigus. See his profile here.

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