It’s easy to set up a LinkedIn group.
But it’s remarkably difficult to find really valuable ones.
Either they’re full of spam, or cover such a broad range of topics that the majority are irrelevant to you.
Some groups are hijacked by the same people every time.
Or are inactive.
How can you ensure that your group doesn’t suffer the same fate?
If you run or are looking at setting up a LinkedIn group and want to ensure it delivers true value to members then this post is for you.
I spoke to John Grimley, who runs two successful LinkedIn groups - International Business Development Blog, which has over 2,400
members and Asia Law Portal, a relatively new group, with around 500 members – about how he’s gone about it.
In the following audio-interview (29 mins long) he shares the lessons he’s learnt and his tips. It’s well worth a listen. I’ve also summarised below some of his key messages.
• LinkedIn is THE online business portal. It allows you to contact anyone in the world from your desktop.(Click to Tweet this Tip)
• John had read about LinkedIn groups and participated in several including Business in Japan and China Law Blog. He saw how these had grown and how well managed they were and decided to emulate them in his area.
• For a LinkedIn group to be successful you need quality content that’s regularly updated and quality management. (Click to Tweet this Tip) The manager(s) needs to keep the group discussions focused on conversations in that niche and ensure these don’t go off-topic. This allows the group to develop its identity.
• When setting up a LinkedIn group it’s important to take a long-term view and to nurture the group as it grows. (Click to Tweet this Tip)
• A ‘please introduce yourself’ discussion is a great one to break the ice. It allows group members to meet one-another.
• A LinkedIn group is a virtual referral network – it can be cost and time efficient. (Click toTweet this Tip) It’s almost a virtual meet-up. You’ve got an audience ready and willing to join your group if you make it attractive enough.
• Even if you work in a small organisation you can use social media including LinkedIn groups to amplify your messages, connect to people and reach more of your ideal targets around the world.
• Find news of particular interest to your group membership. To do this use traditional news sources, trade media, bloggers etc. Curate this and bring it to the membership so they have an opportunity to read, learn and ask questions.
• Write to people you’re connected to on LinkedIn to invite them to join your group (if they might be interested). Then search for others. Use a combination of email, LinkedIn email and Inmail to invite them. One challenge is you can’t personalise the LinkedIn group invites using the invite feature but you should try to send tailored invites wherever possible.
• If you’re setting up a really focused LinkedIn group consider interviewing potential group members before allowing them to join. (Click to Tweet this Tip)
• Remember that subgroups are essentially groups and take the same time commitment as a regular group to run.
• As a group manager you need to think about curating content, managing the group, editing out spam and keeping conversations going. LinkedIn’s recently changed things so the newest discussions appear on top (you can choose your view and select between ‘What’s happening’ and ‘Latest discussions’) which may be LinkedIn’s way of showing that groups require active management.
• There are a lot of places people can go for information. You’ve got to think ‘Why would/should they come to your group?’
• Make your LinkedIn group about content and conversation not about selling. Don’t think of it as anything but a labour of love. (Click to Tweet this Tip) Actively manage it on an hour-by-hour basis. People will get to know you and will come to you if they need help.
• In order to encourage group members to participate in the group rotate your managers’ choice to focus on a theme you want members to think about. (Click to Tweet this Tip) Where time permits, thank people for their contribution and suggest they write/post around a particular topic.
• LinkedIn groups are about news and information NOT advertising. (Click to Tweet this Tip) It’s important that people understand the distinction.
• A LinkedIn group can be a magnet for referrals. (Click to Tweet this Tip)
• Define your group around the TOPIC you’re covering and NOT your firm name. (Click to Tweet this Tip) Build up your use of other social platforms. Learn as much as you can every day about how you can make it better.
• John has developed clients and income from his groups. He’s met people working in a similar area and has got to know lawyers with a thirst for knowledge about how to develop their business.
If you would like more info about setting up and running a successful LinkedIn group, my e-book “Complete Guide to LinkedIn Groups: Network with the right people. Generate new leads. Get new business” is now available for NZ$ 18.97.
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