LinkedIn Groups are Your Marketing Weapon!
LinkedIn is the go-to social network for business professionals. Relationship building in your industry is easy with LinkedIn, and the discussions that build those relationships happen within LinkedIn groups. These groups give you ample opportunity to accomplish several business activities. Your personal LinkedIn profile allows you to join and display up to 50 groups that you belong to, which you can then use as a way to demonstrate your areas of expertise.
Most importantly, building relationships through groups helps you with marketing your company’s services once group members begin to trust you as an industry expert. Of course, you should never abuse this ability and always engage with other discussions in a group. Here we will cover the benefits of groups and how you can use them in marketing yourself and your company.
Open and Closed LinkedIn Groups: What’s the difference?
Groups can either be open or closed. If you join an open group you immediately become a member, whereas a closed group requires review of your profile by the group admin.
Open groups are important because their content can be easily indexed by search engines (e.g. Google, Bing, Yahoo) while a closed group’s content cannot. Closed groups are great for controlling content, building exclusivity in the industry, generating membership oriented groups/associations, or even alumni networks that require you to have actually attended a specific school. Overall, groups are an important strategy to attract industry professionals to a specific topic, and use as a marketing vehicle.
Join Groups and Engage in Them: Build Industry Relationships
Search for LinkedIn Groups related to your industry – just type into the search box and select the ‘groups’ option. It’s best to join larger groups that are active. You can see how active a group is based on the buttons indicating how active and how many people in your network participate in that group (see green and orange text in image below).
The reasons for joining groups with these two things in mind is that it can give your posts a larger reach capability. When you join a new group, start by introducing yourself with a discussion post. Share with the group your reasons for joining, what your professional interests are and request a connection. Focus on relationship building and do not be too self-promotional or sales-oriented. Provide useful or educational information, perhaps industry news, and let the user decide whether to contact you. The number one rule for any social media interaction is to provide value, then ask for value in return. So, before you ask for people to sign up for and attend your webcast, post some relevant articles and engage with others by commenting on group posts. Be a contributer and a leader – don’t just watch the conversation!
Build your Network Through LinkedIn Groups
Some of us are inherently social and have no issues in generating a LinkedIn network, whether it be through all of the live networking events we do, connections from various companies we’ve worked at and with, and so on. On the other hand, if building connections is something you’re working on, LinkedIn allows you to easily network with anyone in the entire world at the click of a button. LinkedIn limits your ability to connect with someone by requiring you to check off how you know the person. Groups can bridge a connection with someone that you may not have previously known. Within a group, you can look at the members list and within that list, you can see who you are already connected with, and those who you are not yet connected to. Request a connection with anyone in that group by going to group member profiles, click on “invite to connect”, then select Groups, and what group you would like to connect with them through (you may belong to multiple groups with one person). If you’ve already joined your maximum of 50 groups, leave a smaller group and join a new one to grow your network and follow the steps above.
LinkedIn Group Administration
Being able to manage a group yields several opportunities for the person who is the group administrator. The manage controls content, so if someone is abusing the group guidelines or policies the administrator can remove their post, and even remove them from the group if the post was inappropriate.
Linkedin Group Anouncements and Emails
Previously as group administrator you could capture everyone’s emails in one fell swoop. Now, you must connect with that individual directly to obtain their email, and then export your connections through your personal profile. Or, you can message the entire group quickly through your group admin by sending a ‘Group Announcement.’ This will allow you to send a message to all members of the group, and even a test email to yourself. The announcement will go straight to the email associated with their LinkedIn profile – only you will not be able to see that email address. It is recommended to own a group because it showcases your industry expertise and elevates you to be seen as a subject matter expert within your LinkedIn network .
Another alternative to emailing a select group of people in your industry, whether it be to market your company’s services or generate and build new relationships, is Linkedin Inmails. InMails do require you to pay a small fee in order to reach out to those professionals that you think would benefit from your product or service, however it allows you to bypass a connection request or supply info on how you know the individual.
Hopefully these two blogs have motivated you to improve your LinkedIn presence through your individual Linkedin profile and company page. Please share your experiences on how you’ve utilized LinkedIn groups below. Let us know what has or has not worked with your groups, and how you’ve leveraged those groups for marketing yourself and your company. Also retweet, facebook like and share this post with your colleagues.