Melvin Mathews, Maritime Director from Eniram, has about six times the number of followers on LinkedIn than Lloyd’s List. Let's find out how he leveraged his LinkedIn brand and emerged as a thought leader.
Melvin Mathews’s LinkedIn journey did not start as a conscious attempt to build a brand or establish a presence online. He first started to build his network when he was an MBA student at the University of Greenwich.
“I first founded a group between like-minded classmates. There were about 60 of us sharing thoughts, ideas and research information. Then people started asking if they could join us – first juniors, then seniors. Now this same group has about 5500 members!”
Today, Mathews is among the most connected and followed people on LinkedIn. His network is not limited to shipping or power industries but includes people from a wide variety of industries and business areas. The list was first put together in 2016 and, at the time, Mathews didn’t fit in: he held the 130th spot.
Now he has more than 29,000 followers on LinkedIn. About 70% of them are relevant for Wärtsilä which means that they are employees, experts and decision-makers in the industry Wärtsilä operates in. Mathews has calculated that when you put all his followers and their connections together, it’s possible to reach upwards of 21 million people.
But there’s more to LinkedIn than just the number of connections. Key to Mathews’s success have been the various articles and publications he posts on the site. A fundamental aspect of his approach is seeing the act of sharing thoughts, ideas and topics as a two-way street.
“I am not a hoarder. I do not like to keep information with myself and if it is useful, I feel that I should share it with everyone,” he says. “And that goes the other way as well, with people willing to share information with me, information that I, otherwise, would not have had the good fortune to see or hear.”
And the views these get are a crucial tool that helps him open the doors to more opportunities. For instance, his analysis of his followers indicates that 2400 are senior level decision-makers, like CEOs or managing directors from the marine industry. Getting his views and ideas seen by them enables him to connect with them more easily.
“One of the posts I shared recently has to date been viewed by about 42,500 people, including 2255 CEOs and executive directors,” he declares. “They decide what products or services their respective organisations, need, buy and the fact they have viewed my article or post makes it easy to get in touch with them.”
One such example of direct access took place around the time Eniram was acquired by Wärtsilä. Mathews directly sent a message to the CEO of Wärtsilä asking for a meeting and was very impressed when the company responded positively.
“Unlike the past where such access was rare, today, through social media, you can even get in touch with the likes of Elon Musk or Donald Trump through a simple post,” he explains. “That is the power of social media and I have been using it even outside Wärtsilä as well.”
While social media platforms like LinkedIn act as enabling tools, Mathews warns people against thinking that digital social network is merely a numbers game.
“The way that I look at it is that the people who choose to connect with or follow anyone are the ones who are interested in the material being posted or published. They have similar interests. If they see that the material is not relevant, they will stop following. So, you have to keep that in mind when you are being active here,” he warns.
And while Mathews’s success on LinkedIn cannot be understated, he claims it doesn’t require him to be online constantly.
“I travel a lot and so my activity here is determined by the free time I get. I devote maybe the first 5-10 minutes of my day to update myself reading and then sharing relevant articles. Sometimes, when I am working, I log onto social media to take a break and start my next project afresh. It varies from person to person, and everyone has to find their own groove,” he concludes.
My profile is open for everybody to see and to follow. I have also been open to introducing people to each other if asked. It generates goodwill and I don’t have anything to lose doing that.
I write about and share things that I am passionate about. For me, these topics are environmental issues, oil & gas, energy & power, shipping, etc. I never share anything that I don’t find interesting myself.
Your posts must have relevance. Otherwise, followers may relate to it as spamming and may not read it, like or share it. By using LinkedIn statistics, I have noticed that on average about 1500 people read the content posted by me daily, but the number can be as high as 65,000, depending on the subject.
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