LinkedIn groups are a great way to network, build your business’ credibility and drive traffic via social media. Running one requires a time investment, but unlike simply participating in other LinkedIn group discussions, now you can set the agenda and effectively work towards establishing yourself as a thought leader in your field. Here’s a quick list of 10 top tips to get you started on this important and oft-neglected social media channel:
1. Check your competition
If you are setting up a group, sounds obvious but do a quick search on LinkedIn to see if someone is already doing something similar. You can still set up your group but think – perhaps there is a more niche area of your business that you could talk about that is really going to add value and attract members?
2. Work the title
If it’s likely that your area of expertise is going to overlap with someone else’s, give thought to what you are going to call your group – is it obvious what people are going to get if they join? Does it contain keywords that are going to show up in a search? Likewise your group description should be worded in such as way as to really encourage people to click through. Always communicate what is in it for them – what are they going to get out of joining this group? Google’s Hummingbird update has opened the door for more creative and intuitive titular content in this respect.
3. Make your own rules
When you’re setting up a group, you’ll be given the option to set some group rules. If you’re stumped, check out what other groups have set out as their ground rules – mostly, people ask for civility and respect. But you can also spell out that discussions must stay on topic – pictures of cute cats are best left to Facebook.
4. Lead by example
It’s no good setting up a group then leaving it dormant. You need to actually lead it and be the most active member. Share thought leadership and ask questions to spark discussion. LinkedIn polls are still possible within groups and these can be a great way of getting conversation and engagement going.
5. Feed your content
Use the results of these discussions to feed content you publish elsewhere – could the results of your group poll work as a blog topic? You’re interacting – hopefully – with a group of your peers so use polls as a method of market research. You can then publish the results in an infographic and use it in your next email newsletter. Likewise, if you’ve got a new blog or ‘how to’ video, share it with your group. Each platform can feed into the other – it’s a groovy, two-way street of sharing.
6. Grow your group
You can invite people in your network via the channel itself but LinkedIn doesn’t allow for personalisation in bulk invites. Opt for an email introducing your group to your mailing list, spell out what the benefits of joining are and (obviously!) provide them with a link to click-through. Joining a LinkedIn group is less of a commitment than signing up for something that requires that person to submit their company information or telephone number. You get to introduce them to what you’re all about and show off your expertise in a more non-threatening, unobtrusive way.
7. Don’t be too salesy
Don’t be too salesy with members of your group – the content you share with the group should be of value and help to build trust.
8. Advertise your group
Advertise your group on all your B2B communications – have a link to it on your website if possible or include a link to it at the bottom of your blog. Your group is another way for people to interact with your company online and keep you front of mind.
9. Announce to your group
Use LinkedIn Group Announcements. You can set them up to be mailed directly to your members’ inboxes (once a week is plenty) and they can be a great way to share more helpful content – a link to your recent whitepaper or webinar perhaps. Just remember to craft a killer subject line.
10. Take the long view
A LinkedIn group is unlikely to result in sales or tangible ROI straight away. Indeed, proving ROI from social media marketing is still difficult – though some companies say they are finally seeing ROI from social media now. It’s a relationship builder, a chance to expand your company’s profile and establish you as an authority in your field. These are key elements of a successful content marketing strategy.
And finally, we’re shortlisted!
On a final side note, we’d just like to say an enormous THANK YOU to everybody that voted for us in the 2014 National UK Blog Awards. We are delighted to announce that The Southerly Blog has been shortlisted for the final! The awards ceremony is on 25 April in Central London, and you better believe we’ll be there with fingers, toes, legs, necks and eyebrows firmly crossed.