As of April 2017, LinkedIn had 500+ million members in 200 countries, with more than 106 million monthly active users.
Of course, the professional social network is a great place for businesses to share content, promote brands and find talent. However, it’s also effective for cultivating a valuable community, in the form of LinkedIn Groups.
No more hunting for your target clients – instead meet them in a community where they are more likely to connect with you.
This active community is a prime audience for the content you’re creating. Sharing valuable insights will increase your brand awareness and direct traffic to your content.
Be sure to cater to your fellow group members’ needs. Answer their questions, offer encouragement, and add value to discussions. All will help convince people around you to endorse your brand and invest in you.
Let’s say you’ve already developed a relationship with your group members. Most happen to be in your target market. These count as engaged individuals, and should be primed for conversion. What’s more, they can direct you to leads outside of your group, through their wider connections.
How to succeed:
Leveraging existing groups
Step one: Find the right groups
There are thousands of groups at your disposal. It’s important to ensure you end up in the same ones as your potential clients. Set specific search terms that reflect your current goals and match your buyer personas.
Once you’ve narrowed down the subject, ensure that the group is active.
Review the dates of posts, making sure they’re recent, Assess the quality of conversation. You don’t want to be spending valuable time on badly run groups full of spammers.
When you’ve found a selection of groups, narrow them down. Focus on the ones which you feel offer the most potential for getting results.
Step two: Be human (not a company)
‘People do business with people’ may be an old adage but it’s still relevant in a social media world. Always post in groups as yourself, using your own tone of voice, to engage authentically with individuals.
Now you’re growing your reach and status on LinkedIn. Ensure your profile is up to date and properly filled in. You’re acting as the face of your brand; make sure you’re showing its best side.
Step three: Get engaged
Engaging with other LinkedIn group members is a vital part of your strategy.
Spend time interacting with members and the group’s content. Take time to like, comment and participate. Get to know the tone and rules of the group before you begin sharing your own content.
Step four: Offer value
Once you’ve taken the time to engage with others, it’s time to think about what, and how often, you post. Consider the value to your audience of the content you’re sharing. Don’t be that person who is obviously in a group purely to self-promote.
Your posts should contain plenty of information and demonstrate your expertise. Be careful to not come across as too promotional.
Be careful if you post the same content in multiple groups. It’s likely that you may be talking to some of the same people who are members across groups. Take time to craft and tailor each message, to increase long-term trust.
Growing your own LinkedIn group
Step one: Establish your group
When setting up a group, decide who your group is going to serve, and how you’re going to serve them. Make your group about your potential clients, and the problems you solve for them.
You can have up to 20,000 members in a group
For your group to stand out from the thousands of others, you need to meet a need. Figure out how to serve your target audience by answering the question ‘what makes us different?’.
Once you’ve defined a purpose it’s important to reflect that in your set up. Use relevant keywords in your title and description.
Step two: Build members
You don’t have to look far for your first round of members. The best pioneers for your group include co-workers, clients, peers and any relevant first-level connections.
The next step is to search for people that you believe are a good match for your group. Branch out to your second- and third-level connections, only inviting people who are relevant. Accepting anyone and everyone will leave you with unengaged members.
This is where you can also make use of the profile you’ve built up in other LinkedIn groups. If people in other groups are relevant to topics you cover, invite them to join. Send personalised invitations that highlight the benefits of being part of the group
Step three: The right content experience
Take the time to welcome and individually engage with new additions to the group. A group full of active, insightful discussions will prove appealing to potential members.
You can’t rely on your group members to keep the conversation going. Post regularly (multiple times per week) and start discussion topics.
The same rule applies to your own group as it does for others.
Carefully consider the value each post and don’t spam your members. Yes, your group is a great place to share your content. However, the primary goal should be to get your members discussing and engaging with each other, as well as your brand.
“Keep in mind an 80/20 rule when posting promotional content – 80% of pieces should be informational; 20% promotional.”
Step four: Keep it active
If you’ve followed the above steps you will be the proud owner of a healthy and active LinkedIn Group.
Of course, the work doesn’t stop there.
Refer back to Step three, and encourage discussion with new members. Make sure you moderate content in your group, purging it of spam and irrelevant conversations.
Chief Nation tip: Stop this happening by setting up some group rules. Make them clear, easily found (either within the group or via onboarding emails), and show members you take action when necessary.
Don’t just reach your members on LinkedIn. Set up weekly emails that inform your members of the latest and most interesting activity. You can also promote your group on other social networks and encourage your happy members to do the same.
When your group starts to grow faster, consider creating subgroups that hone in on popular topic areas or demographics. If you have members who are advocates of your group, you could invite them to an exclusive subgroup, reserved for high-level discussion topics.
Want some help building your community across LinkedIn and other channels? Get in touch with us and let’s see how we can help.