Best Practices for Linkedin Group Management

Linkedin groups can be a powerful way to connect with other business people in a meaningful way. People are just discovering the potential, and there aren’t a lot of guides to group management on Linkedin, so I came up with some tips that would be useful for beginning community managers as well as experienced ones just learning the ins and outs of Linkedin groups. Remember, creating the group is only the first step. It won’t thrive if you don’t nurture it.

Manage

  • The most important thing is to be an active manager. Every registration needs to be manually approved, preferably with a welcome email telling them how they can use the group, interact with you and how to get in touch with you.
  • Regularly contact members directly with helpful (not sales) information.
  • Scan Linkedin and your other networks for likely members and invite them through InMail or get introductions from members
  • When a user becomes prominent as a poster support them and encourage them. These are the catalyst to a thriving group.
  • Even if somebody is a bit obstreperous, unless they openly attack someone they can be good to stimulate the community. Handle them with care and they can turn into evangelists.
  • Are people continually posting off-topic discussions like jobs? Give them a place to post those and point them to the jobs board in the group.
  • Contact non-linked in members and ask them to join your group (did you know Linkedin requires this in the group agreement?)
  • Linkedin offers a host of useful tools to manage your Linkedin contacts.
  • Export your Linkedin contacts to outlook

Engage

  • Remember this is about COMMUNITY not YOU. You should participate by all means, but to support the community not sell yourself or your services.
  • As the group grows think of other ways to connect people. Meetups, teleclasses, webinars and online chat are great options.
  • Periodically take the temperature of the group. Poll or ask questions.
  • Listen to discussions and see if users are looking for added feature, if there are ways you can offer assistance yourself or point them to assistance off site. The goal is to become a source users rely on, not make the whole show about you.
  • In the development stage of the group, or later if discussion slows down, start discussions. These should be open ended posts to stimulate discussion, not statements. Give the users room to add their perspective
  • Brainstorm with your key community members within and outside of the group to get new ideas flowing.
  • Remember to thank people for their participation to the group. Feature people on occasion for their contributions.

Share

  • When new features are added to Linkedin, share how to use them with the group, ask for success stories and examples
  • Make connections and suggest connections between users where appropriate
  • Take the time to point out new features on Linkedin and how to use them for best advantage
  • Create a way for users to showcase their talents. Sharing Slideshare presentations, Visual CV‘s links to new work if appropriate to the group’s goals

Promote

  • Promote your Linkedin group von linked in itself by sharing it with your Linkedin network and ask users to do the same
  • Post the group URL on your website and related social media sites to encourage growth
  • Create a badge for users to put on their websites linking to the group
  • Talk about the group and feature conversations (with permission) on your other networks (Twitter, Facebook etc)
  • Use both Facebook and Linkedin Ads to promote your group
  • Whenever your do a presentation or attend a conference spread the word about your group

Have fun. The whole idea behind starting a group is to create a place where you, your peers and friends learn together and share ideas. Do take the time to enjoy the group and the people in it.

I know this just scratches the surface of what you can do with Linkedin groups. Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments!

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 44 comments
Laura Book

Hi..this is great…can you let me know if there is a way to use slideshare without linking it to your personal profile but post a slideshare presentation in appropriate groups that you belong to?

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fouts

Sure, just post a link directly to your Slideshare presentation. You can add a link to pretty much anything. However, it will still be associated with your user name in the groups.

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Khuram Malik

Hi Janet,

This is a great post. Thank you for this.

I have a LinkedIn group that has grown of its own accord to 45members, which for me is quite decent. Im dissapointed by some of LinkedIn’s features because its difficult for me to manage the group as i might do on say Facebook etc.

Anyhow, the group i created is called Entrepreneurs Exchange, and i just havent been able to figure out how to engage the audience, but im going to try some of your tips.

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Mathieu Stroh

Janet, thanks for this insight – it’s great. I’m curious to get your counsel regarding how to handle clients vs. prospects in our group. We offer a web-based SaaS application for financial advisers and I’m curious if I should run this group exclusively for clients or open it up to any adviser. I could make a separate group for clients or can I give members a client designation that would be displayed for other members to see that a person was also a client of Tamarac? Or can I limit access/functionality to non-client members?

Thank you,
Matt

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Janet

You can’t offer different levels of membership to the same Linkedin group yet, all members have the same permissions. I do have a client who runs a very large private group and offers memberships to vendors only if they abide by certain guidelines, revokable at any time for any reason. That way you can allow advisors and give them a set of rules to participate by. Does that make sense?

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shedlord

“Remember this is about COMMUNITY not YOU. You should participate by all means, but to support the community not sell yourself or your services.”

In my experience this is where Linkedin groups turn out much inferior to other kinds of forum. Everyone is so busy trying to sell their service and networking that there's no room for real debate. Example: A Linkedin group about the South Africa world cup – someone started a thread on security concerns – just about everyone on there had a finger in the tourist industry so had a vested interest in security not appearing to be an issue – cue lots of poo-pooing of media 'scare stories' etc. Yes some of these people are experts but how can you trust answers when the responder has something to gain?

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Janet Fouts

Judging by your email address you were interested in it too…(the url is related to the thread mentioned above. Notice how the “s” word is carefully worked in twice and then the “e” word. If I repeat them in my comment they will get even more SEO value. Still this is a very good example of an SEO post that adds value so I'm going to leave it.)
In fact you're right, on Linkedin people post wildly off topic and users are beginning to drop groups that would have been useful but for these off topic posts.

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shedlord

Hi Janet,

I'll freely admit I did join discussions on that particular group partly to promote one of my own websites, but it's a completely non-commercial site and I don't particulalry mind if 10 or 10,000 people use it. Regardless, as someone who enjoys a good old-fashioned forum debate, I find Linkedin's take on this is missing something.

I know you can hardly expect someone heavily involved in South African tourism to do anything but reject all claims of danger to people visiting the place. They may well be speaking exactly the truth as they see it. Trouble is, it undermines the discussion if you don't know whether the people (experts) involved are being straight with you or selling a line.

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shedlord

I shouldn't have skim-read your reply first time. You're suggesting I posted here for SEO reasons?!
Believe it or not, I was looking for somewhere to have a gripe about how lacking Linkedin's group debates are. Looking at the s and e words you must be pointing out, those aren't words I would be targeting for my site at all – I'm guessing you haven't seen it or you would realise that.
Please feel free to delete my replies.

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Janet Fouts

I stand corrected!

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shedlord

No problem. It can be hard to tell the difference between real posts and clever spamming these days.

I don't have an issue at all with people promoting their services on Linkedin. My take on this is that some degree of self-promotion is fine & doesn't need to be hidden, as long as it comes along with content that is useful and relevant in some way. My only gripe is with the way it can neuter debates on the groups.

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Janet Fouts

“neuter debates ” is exactly right. When the thread goes way off topic can really kill things. I think it's OK to self promote, that's what LinkedIn exists for< but it needs to be in some logical context.

As for clever spam tactics, now that many of the spam comments are done by real people it's quite hard to tell the difference. They NEVER respond back though, so that is still one way to tell. ( :

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ppalme Cont.Learning

This is an excellent summary of best practices to build a strong group on linkedin. I also joined some of the existing top ten largest groups on linkedin: http://tinyurl.com/2vcpvor to see how some of these best practices are applied. This is a good way to learn.

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ppalme Cont.Learning

This is an excellent summary of best practices to build a strong group on linkedin. I also joined some of the existing top ten largest groups on linkedin: http://tinyurl.com/2vcpvor to see how some of these best practices are applied. This is a good way to learn.

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Robin Wolstenholme

Hi Janet,

I was just wondering how you post presentations to a Group? I might have missed something but I couldn't work out how.

Great tips for managers. I think “being there” pretty much sums it up, so I'll work on being in several places at once!

Thanks
Robin

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LisaL

Do you have an example of group participation guidelines that speak to the issue of people inappropriately advertising their products and services in discussions? Trying to help someone out who is managing a large linked in group and experiencing such issues. Thanks

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affilojetpack

this is a great list of best practices

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Tag My Friends

LinkedIn is not a group of widgets, as Facebook does not supporters of pages, but this does not mean you can invite more members outside the group blog LinkedIn.Announce, create and add a button to add time to your tweet on the blog sidebar your team – do everything possible to spread the word.

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Glen

Really interesting post and I will be bookmarking these helpful points for when I am ready to launch my own LinkedIn Group. Thank you. 

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Nixon Virtual Strategies

Okay, regarding LinkedIn groups, I have said this over and over.  You cannot just create a group and expect people to show up and make it happen for you.  I started a group called Collaborative Women Connect and I managed that group like it was a job.  Spam posts were moderated swiftly, I posted new content regularly and then followed up on every single comment that was left.  This is business, people, and there are actually jobs for group moderators so it makes sense if you’re going to bother creating a group to make it the best it can be.  

There is a way to make your groups successful and I can show you exactly how!  Read on and feel free to ask questions.  My group was so successful it granted me face time with the Managing Editor of Forbes Magazine and interviews with some incredibly notable individuals for my blog.  Use your groups to your best advantage.

http://www.nixonvs.com/linkedin-groups-101-design-before-sending-invitations/ 

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Industrial Monitor

You can access the Facebook help centre by clicking on the arrow found in
the top right of your Page right next to the Home navigation button. All too
often someone has asked for the same help as you so you are likely to find the
answer you’re looking for.

 

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Nixon Virtual Strategies

Did you ever launch that group, Glen?

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SEO Services

LinkedIn is great list ans place to meet many companies and business mens.
Thanks nice post.

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Home Remedies

LinkedIn is nice place to discuss and meet new members, related to business, we gain lots of information.

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christianity

Hey, awesome site. I came across this on Yahoo, and I am really
happy that I did. I will definitely be revisiting here more regularly.
Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table,
but am just reading as much info as I can at the moment.
 

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mountain bike skills

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Simple Tax Appeals Illinois

Thanks for this article, I have read your blog it is very helpful for
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Dominique Levin

Hi Janet, thank you for this article. Are you familiar with tools that can monitor LinkedIn groups? Like social listening tools so I am sure not to miss a conversation that mentions my brand?

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fouts

Unfortunately not. It’s too bad too because an RSS feed or alerts would help us moderators out quite a bit!

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logan heinrich

Dominique, have you found any sort of social listening tool for LinkedIn groups? I have been looking for this sort of thing too.

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Jorge Araluce

Hi Iogan , I just reply to Dominique, I am working in a startup to help get the relevant conversations out of linkedin groups .. we will run a alpha test in a few weeks so if you are interested just let me know

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Jigar P

I need one example of Linkedin group announcement.

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Michael Ehrlich

excellent write-up and so true that you should never overtly market your product or business..that will come by default and the credibility you gain will make you the go-to person and a community leader. I also have strict rules regarding members marketing their business–i don’t allow it…however, if they write up an informative, educational, (unique content) piece that would be of interest to the community, then I will post on their behalf and provide a link that allows the group member to provide their contact info if they would like to speak with the author..the software I use is Clearslide (no, i don’t work for clearslide)–great stuff!

Michael Ehrlich
Thomson Reuters
Group Owner, Secondary Marketing Resource Group

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Anant Goel

Collaborative Social Network for People of the World…
http://www.LeRumbaSocial.com

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IgorDR

Hello everyone, I have been commissioned by a company to manage the company’s LinkedIn profile, sharing on LinkedIn groups the articles that are published.
The problem is that only the personal profiles can subscribe to groups (not corporate pages) and I’m already a member of 50 groups of another sector. How web agencies handle these cases? Do you create a fake personal profile? Do you ask to have access to a profile of an employee of the client and sign it up to the groups?

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fouts

You really need to identify one or more people within the company who can authentically participate in groups.If you create a fake persona it will soon be discovered and reflect on the company negatively. Where is the value in using a fake profile if it can’t create relationships and conversations?
On a few occasions I have started conversations as an employee of the company after quite a bit of study and embedding in the company culture. I represented as a contract employee. Still not as good as a c-level team member.

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