Israeli tech and business influencers have migrated their social-media activity over the past few years, becoming more active on LinkedIn.

In the past, many professionals in the Israeli ecosystem focused more on Facebook. Since the pandemic, however, more Israeli entrepreneurs and investors have been using LinkedIn to cultivate awareness around expertise in a certain area.

With just under 900 million users (and growing), LinkedIn is the most important place for entrepreneurs, investors, and business executives to build meaningful thought leadership online.

According to Influencer Marketing Hub, 55% of decision-makers use LinkedIn content to determine which organization to work with, and “1 in 5 investors says it’s the best platform when you want to learn about a topic.”

As such, many thought leaders built their presence online by parlaying LinkedIn.

Yam Regev, a global marketing executive and adviser, believes that LinkedIn offers a unique opportunity for professionals to share their stories online:

“The opportunity to engage professionals by telling personal stories on a professional-based platform is something that can happen only here, and this is LinkedIn’s secret sauce. After all, we are all humans first and only after that we are professionals,” he says.

“It seems that many Israelis get it as well, and today they leverage the platform to expand their personal brand, company brand and employer branding, by transparently sharing their knowledge and experience. This is breaking the geographical boundaries we struggle with as Israelis, and exposes our initiatives to a wider audience of prospects, employees, investors, etc.”

This, coupled with the fact that LinkedIn acquired Israeli startups such as Oribi, and has opened an office in the Startup Nation, could herald a new era of the use of this platform in the tech community.

The growth of the platform

Since its early days, LinkedIn was focused on job hunting and recruiting, and was a place where people posted their résumé. It was a one-dimensional and transactional platform.

But since Microsoft (also very active in Israel) acquired LinkedIn, that experience changed and greatly improved.

LinkedIn became a place where people networked, shared content on their feeds and conversed about topics that impact everyone — such as the economy, remote work and the future of work.

With close to a billion users, LinkedIn News has greater reach than any other news outlet, and while the content has focused on the world of work, it is still extremely influential.

LinkedIn has worked to engage users with new features such as audio events and made a push to work with creators who have a unique story to share.

A lot of that headway can be credited to an executive originally from Israel: Tomer Cohen, chief product officer at LinkedIn.

“For many professionals around the world, LinkedIn has become the place to grow their careers, share knowledge, learn, feel inspired, hire, market, sell, partner, and do business,” Cohen says.

“On LinkedIn, leaders around the world can authentically engage their community on important conversations in a safe, trusted, and professional environment.”

He adds that LinkedIn sees record levels of member growth and engagement. “Every minute, there are millions of professional updates viewed, with close to a 30% quarter-over-quarter increase in public conversations.”

The place to ask for advice

Ariel Seeber, director of client relationships at Lion Financial, is active in the New York Israeli tech community and hosts audio events around business networking.

He says LinkedIn is a great source of support and encouragement as well as help or advice “because there will undoubtedly be someone that knows someone.”

Seeber relates that after one creator in Israel posted a video of herself playing basketball, he tagged the American Israeli former professional basketball player and current entrepreneur, coach, consultant and motivational speaker Tamir Goodman.

“Soon after, they were working together on various projects … so community leads to relationships which leads to a positive outcome,” says Seeber. “There’s no other platform that is built for that type of collaborative, problem-solving approach, which to me matches well to Israeli culture.”

Nicole Priel, partner and managing director at Ibex Investors, is one of the most active VCs on the platform. She has built engagement through consistent, thoughtful and encouraging commentary.

“People’s personal and professional lives have become intertwined, so LinkedIn’s evolution as a social professional network is a natural one,” Priel says.

She notes as well that “in Israel in particular, the narrative of the tech economy is such a dominant part of discourse, so much so that anything tracking its journey, like LinkedIn, has boomed alongside it.”

Entrepreneurs/creators embrace social

Across all popular platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, creators have taken on a central role. Brands choose to collaborate and partner with influencers and creators who not only have a following, but have legitimacy in certain industries.

LinkedIn is no different. In the Israeli tech ecosystem on LinkedIn, the two groups getting the most engagement are investors and entrepreneurs who lead fast-growing startups.

Oren Toledano, cofounder and CEO of high-tech startup Swimm, has built a significant presence on the platform.

He believes that LinkedIn has taken off because “The Israeli ecosystem is a tight network of smaller networks (IDF units, programs, schools). LinkedIn is a good representation of these real-life networks, when you also have the possibility to leverage these first-degree connections to new layers of connections in Israel and abroad. LinkedIn virality makes it easier.”

He continues that “the Israeli mentality makes it easy to reach out to new people and create professional connections. People are generally curious and open to opportunities to expand their network and connections. The fact that the LinkedIn platform makes possible the expression of more in-depth messages (vs. Twitter) allows me to express more detailed ideas and therefore create more meaningful relations.”

Ways to improve an online presence

There are steps people can take to improve their LinkedIn presence, where they can share the Startup Nation’s story and educate other users on how Israel is using technology to help solve global challenges.

Tomer Cohen says, “Many tech entrepreneurs are using LinkedIn to build thought leadership and grow their businesses. The ones seeing the fastest audience growth and engagement are posting several times per week about their craft, and about topics they care most about. It’s important to also engage with content shared by like-minded professionals, and contribute to ideas and insights, to further connect on a deeper level with your professional community.”

A key principle to remember is that when you post you need to entertain, inform or educate, he says. Keeping this in mind serves as a reminder that you’re posting for other people, and it’s vital to think about how the content will impact them.

As Toledano notes, “You need to make sure you are building a network of people with interests and skills close to yours (at least at first) so you’ll find content that is relevant to you and that will also make it relatively easy to contribute to. Once you engage in professional discussions, you’ll find your tone of voice.”

He cautions not to share for the sake of sharing. “It’s not genuine and people have a very fine radar for BS. Better to write less if you have nothing meaningful to share. People are very interested in learning from other people’s experiences, less in you showing off.”

Post every day

Regev points out that “every day, every entrepreneur is going through things that might be regular to them, but unique to others. Sharing our experience with others is not just an obligation for us as entrepreneurs, but it is also very engaging, content wise.”

He has a methodology that he’s dubbed VAT (vulnerability, authenticity, transparency), and suggests that every post should have those three elements—or at least two of them.

A good rule of thumb is to post four to five times a week, once or twice a day.

Not every post will land, but consistency is key. Reposting popular news items from LinkedIn News is always a good way to take part in topical conversations on the platform as well.

Examples of content could range from personal professional experiences to sharing others’ accomplishments or updates.

In general, an 80% focus on current events and topical industry content, along with 20% on sharing content from your professional perspective, keeps things fresh.

Nicole Priel focuses on the one most important thing a tech entrepreneur can do to build a presence on LinkedIn: “Be open, raw, and vulnerable. Think outside the box and offer a glimpse into what your every day is truly like and how you think as a person. Be a radical voice. If your messaging is too close to your marketing departments, you’re not doing it right.”

Jonathan “Yoni” Frenkel is a content strategist and founder of YKC Media, a digital marketing agency that works with the global tech/venture/startup community.

This article first appeared in Israel21c.

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