A podcast in March 2021 described Richard van der Blom as the Bob Dylan of LinkedIn. Many other musicians have cited Bob Dylan as a huge influence, and the podcast host, Mark McInnes, suggested that he is the quintessential ‘musician’s musician’. He went on to suggest that Richard van der Blom is the LinkedIn authority that other LinkedIn authorities quote.
But what exactly is Richard’s unique selling point? Why is he such an authority on LinkedIn? There are several reasons for Mark McInnes’ enthusiasm, and his opinion is certainly shared by plenty of others.
Richard regularly shares tips for success on LinkedIn
Richard’s personal LinkedIn account and the account of his company, Just Connecting, both publish tips on how to get the best out of LinkedIn. However, he is very much not your standard LinkedIn influencer or lead generator. He certainly won’t be spamming you with promises to generate leads, or to connect because you apparently share a mutual field of interest that had somehow escaped you. These tips are genuine and useful—and the engagement that they generate shows their value to his readers.
The tips are backed by a detailed annual research report on the LinkedIn algorithm
One of the reasons that Richard is able to deliver reliable, valuable insights into how to use LinkedIn is that his company carries out detailed research into the algorithm behind the site. Each year, it publishes this information, and Richard makes himself available for further social media activity, interviews and podcasts to provide more information. The report itself is interesting enough, but the comments on it also add value. For example, one comment highlighted the most important insights mentioned by others, as a way to summarise the extensive findings.
Richard acts on his own tips to demonstrate their value
One of the more interesting aspects of Richard’s social media activity is that he clearly believes his own tips, because he is prepared to act on them. Unlike so many people who simply post content for clicks and likes, he demonstrates the value of his insights in his own actions. For example, when he suggests that it may be a good idea to share other people’s posts to ensure that good content is widely viewed, he does so via a post that shares tips from someone else.
Richard is fully engaged with his community
Unlike many so-called gurus, Richard is not a social media ‘broadcaster’ (someone who only puts out information and never responds to comments). His posts generally include questions at the end, to encourage comments. He also engages fully with his readers, responding to comments in detail. If you look at his activity log, there is generally a post, followed by several records of likes and replies to comments. His responses are also very much not standard responses like ‘thank you for commenting’ or ‘it’s good to have your views’, but engaged and considered. Similarly, he never falls into the social media trap of only creating his own posts, but engages with and comments on other people’s content.
Richard is recognised by others as a LinkedIn influencer
It’s not just Mark McInnes who recognises Richard as a LinkedIn influencer. Other LinkedIn guides also value his expertise, as shown in a recent post from John Espirian on LinkedIn experts to follow. This post was simple: a list of LinkedIn experts that Espirian recommended, with a brief round-up about each. It suggests that anyone who wants to find out about the LinkedIn algorithm would do well to follow Richard, and hire him for help with social selling.
As well as social media posts, the company also shares a monthly newsletter
Just Connected publishes a monthly newsletter of “Insights, Strategies and Tictacs [sic]” to use the power of LinkedIn for sales, marketing and HR. In line with his usual approach of engagement, Richard consulted his community to see if that would be a welcome addition to the range of materials provided by his company. A poll on the post suggested that more than three-quarters would be interested—and shortly afterwards, the first edition was published.