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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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 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!