How I got 200,000 LinkedIn Followers

by Colin Shaw on September 8, 2015

So you want to get followers on LinkedIn and elsewhere? Here is how I have just surpassed the 200,000 followers on LinkedIn. First and foremost I was selected by LinkedIn as one of the world’s top 150 business influencers. Why? Well, you need to ask them…but I suppose it’s because I have always been trying to push the Thought Leadership of my topic, Customer Experience. Moreover, I have always shared my knowledge. I live by this quote from Oscar Wilde:

“There is only one thing worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

I believe if I share my knowledge I will get paid back (in being talked about…or argued with in many cases!). I have devoted many late nights, long transatlantic flights, train rides, and evenings spent in nondescript hotel rooms to my belief. I have been at it for years; maybe longer than content marketing has even been a thing. With all this time and energy invested in writing books, writing posts came naturally to me.

Having said all of this, if I don’t write what people want then I don’t get people reading. So here are my tips and examples for those of you that want to increase your followership:

  1. Be original – don’t copy people.
  2. Don’t shy away from controversy – controversy can be good. It causes debate.
  3. Be yourself – people can tell if you are not.
  4. Be grounded – Don’t take yourself too seriously. I am not a rock star or even a Z-list celebrity, I am just a guy or as we would say in England, a bloke.
  5. Be prepared to make mistakes and learn from them – When this happens in social media it can hurt! But don’t take it personally. Learn from it and move on.

Here are some of my examples of the tips:

My most viewed post:
15 Statistics That Should Change The Business World—But Haven’t

Views:         More Than 189,000

Tip:              Headlines that are a surprise draw more clicks; but you have to deliver the goods in the content, too. People like stats.

I am pleased this post performed well. Unlike some of my other posts that received lots of views, it is in my area of expertise, my industry. When a post like this reaches a lot of viewers, I feel like  I am helping progress the field. In this case, my headline promised what my content delivered so the views rolled in. This is the most important thing to know about content marketing: headlines matter. A lot.

My most well liked post:
Secrets of Being Promoted and Earning More Money

Views:             179,074

Likes:              1,784

Tip:              Secrets are good, but revealed secrets are even better.

This post had great views also, but it garnered more likes. Why? Titles are VERY important. People like to hear secrets! This particular post talked about different personality types at many organizations, too, which was of interest to many people that probably recognized themselves or some of their co-workers. While it isn’t necessarily in my field of expertise, this post was fun to write, and my hope is that it helped those readers that wanted to get promoted and earn more money do exactly that. I think it’s important that people see more than one dimension of you and that you are a real person.

My favorite post that flopped:
The Gender Experience-Math, Cars & Vanilla?

Views:         747

Likes:          8

Tip:              Headlines and images are important. Really important.

I am fascinated by the difference between men and women as it pertains to Customer Experience (as to all the other ways, I’m interested in that, too! Lol.) So I wrote a post about how little changes to the experience, i.e. adding vanilla scent to the documents they were working with changed the emotional reactions of women to a certain, anxiety-inducing situation. I published it, ready for the debate and engagement my posts typically enjoyed. The debate and engagement were nowhere to be found. Looking back at this post, I think the image and the headline weren’t as good as they could have been, nor did my story have the same kind of connections drawn to my field as I typically do these days. Maybe I’ll have to pursue a rewrite here…stay tuned!

My biggest mistake:
The Good, The Bad and the Ugly in Customer Experience Recently

Views:         23, 969

Likes:              246

Tips:            Use humor wisely.

When I first started researching this post, I didn’t know who Lululemon was. I’m not what you might call a “Yogi.” But I like to chronicle the Customer Experience journey big brands make because even if I don’t know who the brand is, the readers do. I also like to use humor in my posts whenever possible. I learnt that sometime this can backfire if people don’t ‘get it’. However, in this particular post, I made an error in judgment that I regretted as soon as the first angry comments rolled in from my female readers. Originally, on the “Ugly” point, I made the joke, “It’s Never the Woman’s Fault.” I meant that as a dig at CEO Chip Wilson who blamed women’s bodies for the poor performance of their yoga pants, but my readers interpreted that as my opinion that women can’t accept the fact that they are ever wrong—which is not at all what I meant. I changed it and apologized. All this to say, be careful with your humor.

Content marketing is a great way to share ideas with your audience. I hope these insights help. If you are one of my followers, I sincerely thank you for continuing to read and engage.

I am grateful for the time and attention and only hope that my thoughts and words help my readers have the career and the Customer Experiences they want for themselves and their business. I also hope these tips help each of you in your Content Marketing journey.

What tips do you have for people?  We’d all love to hear your insight in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:


Colin Shaw
is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s leading Customer experience consultancy & training organizations. Colin is an international author of five bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Colin ShawHow I got 200,000 LinkedIn Followers