How LinkedIn Groups Can Benefit Your Business
LinkedIn is not only a great resource to individual business professionals, but to companies as well. One way to reap the benefits of LinkedIn from a company perspective is by getting involved with LinkedIn groups. Similar to Facebook fan pages, LinkedIn groups serve as an outlet for businesses to build leadership, market their brand, share expertise, grow their network, and create a free-flowing communicative environment for their audience. In order to get the most out of LinkedIn groups, you must manage, engage, share, and promote.
Before starting a group on LinkedIn, it’s important to thoroughly plan out what you want your group to be about. While your main intent may be to market your business, making your group only about you will turn away prospective members. Remember, your LinkedIn group is supposed to be engaging for its members, not a blatant self-promotional outlet. Search for topics in the Groups Directory and see what other groups are already doing. Try to narrow down your focus as much as possible to allow your group to stand out. The next step is naming your group. While you might be quick to name your group after your company or brand, remember that some potential members are not familiar with your brand and could potentially turn away membership. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. What sort of group name would entice you to join? Consider what kind of name you would like showing up on your LinkedIn profile.
Now that you have a plan in place, you can begin creating your group. Write a well thought out description, using keywords that will help people find you. List your group in the Groups Directory and share links to valuable articles, tips, upcoming events or specials, and other interesting bits of material. Begin promoting your LinkedIn group on your other social media outlets, in your Email signature, on your company website, and on your blog. Shy away from the generic, “Join my group!” and let your future members know what they will actually get out of joining your group. Send group invitations to people in your network on LinkedIn, and allow them to invite people they know as well.
LinkedIn groups require plenty of nurturing in order to thrive effectively. As a group owner, you have access to email your members. Be sure to send a note to welcome them when joining the group and email them with necessary updates. Connect with your members on your group page by polling and asking questions, starting discussions, participating in discussion threads, and stimulating communication. Soon you’ll be engaging members, growing your network, and ultimately generating more brand retention with your audience.