Thinking of starting your own LinkedIn group?

A LinkedIn group can be a great way to build a community of people with similar interests.? As group management requires a great deal of energy and commitment, before you start your own group, consider the following:

  • Check if there’s already a similar group
  • Are they doing a good job? Perhaps they would appreciate some help?
  • Offer to manage or moderate an existing group
  • Post articles, ask/answer questions and engage in the community

If starting a group is for you and your business, this quick guide will help get you started.

  1. Strategy

What is the purpose of your group?

  • Is it for staff engagement, customer engagement, or competitive positioning?
  • Is it ‘Trojan horse’ designed to give you access to a specific community? For example, if your company specialised in a sales methodology for high-end technology companies, would it be more effective to start a community for sales and marketing managers of technology companies, or start a group named after your company?
  • Which is more likely to attract members and encourage meaningful discussion?

2. Structure

  • Will the group be an ‘open group’ or invitation only?
  • What is the membership criteria?
  • What is the participation criteria
  • Will there be just one group or will you need to segment into subgroups?

3. Process

  • What are the Membership and Participation guidelines?
  • How will you moderate and manage the group?
  • Where and how will you source content?
  • What will you do in the event of a dispute either with or between members?

4. People

  • Where will you draw your membership from?
  • Who will be your contributors?
  • Who will help with group moderation?
  • Does the group need additional support in group management?
  • Will you seek industry support?
  • Who are the key influencers?

These questions are designed to stimulate your thinking and to encourage you to think strategically about establishing a LinkedIn group.

It is tempting to just start a group and ‘hope for the best’ because it looks easy, right? In reality the decision to start a LinkedIn group is a strategic decision, not a tactical action. It requires a substantial level of strategic thought and consideration.

In a future post we will be publishing a case study on the Next Director group, a community of >3,000 global company directors.

Contributor:

Michael Field, Director at Michael Field Pty Ltd.

LinkedIn Groups – How to harness the power of LinkedIn groups to grow your business

As an active user of LinkedIn, I find LinkedIn Groups to be one of the most powerful ways to connect with peers, industry experts, prospective clients, suppliers and new recruits.

For the purposes of this post, the focus is on business growth and connecting with prospective clients.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

-Join groups that are populated by prospective clients. Don’t limit your group membership to your own professional industry organisation ? unless you only want to speak to your competitors.

If your business services the hospitality or catering industry, join the groups where the restaurant owners, chefs and food service people are.

If you are an accountant and you specialise in medium sized business-to-business clients, you probably won’t find them in your CPA group, but you might find them in a business network group.

-Once you have joined the group, get involved:

  • Start discussions
  • Post news articles. If you are a member of more than one group, and your article is RELEVANT, cross-post your articles across all groups. This simple strategy can increase your reach to tens of thousands, rather than a few direct contacts.

-Review the people who engage with your content, and (if suitable and relevant) invite them to connect. It is (mostly) free to connect if you share a group together, allowing you to save InMails for more targeted connections outside of your network.

-Search groups through the ‘advanced search’ function and narrow down members to connect with based on your specific need or circumstance (industry/role/company size etc…)

-Connect with relevant people and build your connections

-Treat each post as a marketing ‘touch point’ that communicates your unique value, interests and expertise

-Be patient with the process and accept it takes time to build a genuine network

-Be helpful, decent and non-judgmental

-Remember to respect the individuals privacy and connection settings, do not spam or bulk-post marketing messages

Once you have mastered group membership, you may wish to consider starting your own group. Before you do, take a look at this (article coming soon)

Contributor:

Michael Field, Director at Michael Field Pty Ltd.