LinkedIn is a huge social networking platform for professionals. LinkedIn Groups is an overlooked part LinkedIn useful for targeting individuals with similar interests. Here’s how to make the most of your LinkedIn Groups.
With all the attention spent on profiles and networks, there’s a part of LinkedIn that is often overlooked. A subset of LinkedIn known as LinkedIn Groups allows users to target people with similar interests on a myriad of topics. Out of the hundreds of millions of people using LinkedIn on any given day, you can target people you’re interested in if you create engaging LinkedIn Groups from which they can be found.
With 500 million users, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional social network. This means that in today’s social era, it’s a requirement and expected to have a LinkedIn profile and to keep it up-to-date.
You might describe a LinkedIn profile to a virtual business card combined with a résumé. As a result, most of us spend a great deal of time creating a thorough profile and simultaneously building our networks.
According to Dara Fontein, a blogger for Hootsuite, “In building a LinkedIn Group, a brand (whether consumer, business or personal) creates a forum for its customers and audience to connect.
A LinkedIn Group isn’t a place to blast advertisements. It’s a channel to share content to those who will find it most valuable. This allows for not only higher engagement, but more quality interactions.”
Planning and Setting Objectives to Create Engaging LinkedIn Groups
But, how much time do YOU REALLY spend on LinkedIn Groups? How many LinkedIn Groups have you joined? How often do you post or comment on content posted in LinkedIn Groups? Perhaps, to become more invested in LinkedIn Groups, the solution is to create one of your own. Here are five tips to create engaging LinkedIn Groups.
Before creating a Group, determine five objectives. You may think that new product or service ideas will be discussed before a product or service launch. Or you may think that current employees will have a venue to discuss your corporate culture. Or you may use your Group as a forum for professionals in your industry to gather and shoot the breeze. Whatever the purpose may be, determine five objectives and refer to them regularly as your Group evolves.
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Future members will have legitimate questions when evaluating your Group, so keep the following questions in mind as you develop your overall strategy:
- What are the Group rules?
- Do a good majority of the discussions involve questions and dialogue?
- Are there lots of promotional links or an abundance of “self-promotional” updates?
- Is the Group manager among the top influencers?
Go Public and Strategize Regular Posts
Plan a strategy for regular posts. In social media, there is nothing more annoying than visiting a page or social platform and seeing silence, or in other words, a lack of consistency when it comes to posts. LinkedIn Groups are unique because so many people can actually post. Invite several people to be group managers and determine a strategy for several to monitor the discussion threads and comment.
One way to do this might be for one person to handle Monday, another to handle Tuesday, another to handle Wednesday, and so on. Person “Monday” would know that every Monday would be his or her day to monitor the discussions or posts, comment, pose questions, etc.
Use the Group as a virtual water cooler. When members notice people with similar areas of expertise, they can easily connect. Due to the Group affiliation, members are able to email each other directly, even if they’re not first-degree connections in each other’s network.
Members can reach out with a LinkedIn message: “We are both members of the XYZ Marketing Network, and I noticed that you lead marketing at Rose Flowers Company. I’d like to introduce myself. Let’s connect here on LinkedIn.”
So what are you waiting for? What type of LinkedIn Group are you thinking of starting? Or, what’s your fave Group and why? Please chime in.