LinkedIn Groups have a bad rap. Often times, they are filled with useless information, people you don’t actually want to connect with, and for businesses, look like they offer less value for broad engagement.
However, the way we market to consumers on LinkedIn is different.
In the way that Twitter and Facebook give us the broad audience exposure, and Instagram engages the consumer in a creative way, business should think of LinkedIn as a forum, the online place of meaning.
A place for meaningful connection that can generate business, new employees, partnerships, leads, and even research! Sharing content creates meaningful engagement with your audience (and for entrepreneurs, that meaningful connection is your competitive edge – FYI). You can also use that group to generate ideas and learn more about your demographic.
Creating a LinkedIn group isn’t hard – it only takes a few simple steps.
1. Go to LinkedIn.com/groups (and login to LinkedIn).
2. Click “My Groups.”
3. Hit the “Create Group” button.
4. Breathe, the easy part is over.
5. What’s the goal of the group? A user group? Engaging with brand ambassadors? A way for you to find leads? Sharing ideas? Collecting data? Think about that so you know what content you’re going for.
6. You need to make your group a good place to be, so encourage welcoming posts. Propose an introductory post (share your name, how long you’ve used a product or service, and how it benefits you, for example).
7. Set group rules that facilitate professional and meaningful interactions (and hold people to it).
8. Engage with comments and messages to create meaningful relationships with the purpose of your group.
9. Read LinkedIn’s tips on growth – always think of how to use this tool.
11. Maintain the group – it’s part of your job now, leader. And not managing well hurts your brand, and you don’t want that.
LinkedIn is a powerful tool, and LinkedIn Groups aren’t the grandma way to engage your people. We want meaningful contacts on LinkedIn, and you want to build a reputation as a thought leader and a meaningful engager.
So get a group started, run it properly, and don’t treat it like another public page. It’s all about the value here, friend!