What does it take to set up and run a LinkedIn group that people want to join?
And want to participate in?
I talked to Tom Skotidas to get his view.
Tom runs Skotidas, a leading digital agency in B2B social media lead generation.
His group, Social Media Lead Generation, which he set up in late 2010 has over 3,300 members (it’s open to client side business to business marketers only). There’s a lot of activity, some great conversations and no spam. It’s a great example of a well-managed group.
Click on the play button below to listen to the recording. I’ve summarised the key points below.
Key points Tom made include:
- Social media gives you the ability to access your prospective audience directly and see exactly who you’re reaching out to. (Click to Tweet)
- Tom’s insights into how he tracked $3.5 million of revenue in his old job back to people he’d met via social media.
- You have to work hard and spend time on social media to see results but the payoff is enormous. (Click to Tweet) Social media rewards those who work hard and it’s important to take a long term approach.
- Setting up a LinkedIn group enables you to take a team approach to talking to prospects. (Click to Tweet) Personal LinkedIn newsfeeds rarely produce fruitful dialogue whereas dialogue is a hallmark of LinkedIn groups. You can build insights and relationships via groups so much quicker than via your newsfeed. (Click to Tweet)
- Inmail works really well as a tool to invite people to join groups because you’re not asking them for a sale or for a high involvement interaction. (Click to Tweet)
- Member involvement is key to the success of a group. You need to know who you’re inviting, why and what the group’s about. The best groups have members posting content and members commenting. It must be on-topic. (Click to Tweet)
- It’s important to speak to members offline and to prompt them to participate in a thread when they have unique experience to share. Be a good host. Source content, go to members and offer it to them to post in order to build their brand. Thank people for participating. Treat social media forums like real life ones…think about what best group management behaviour looks like in real life, and apply this to your group. (Click to Tweet)
- Groups are a numbers game. The percentage of members who will actively participate in a group typically ranges between 1-5%. Others lurk, some ignore. You need at least 200 members to get this member activity to a minimum critical mass.
- There’s very little that doesn’t work well when you focus on building an engaging group.
- Post topics that resonate; i.e. topics that most members would have come across at some point in their careers. Do your research to find out what these might be. Some topics you think will generate discussion turn out to be sleepers. Others will surprise you.
- When thinking of starting a group, start with the money. What’s the product/service you want to sell? Focus your LinkedIn group on one category and make the group a representation of your product or service. (Click to Tweet) Build the group around that category. Love the members to death with content and insights around the category. Operate like a doctor or surgeon – don’t sell.
- Over time reach out to people and move relationships beyond LinkedIn but only once you’ve built trust by sharing insights. Your group activity helps accelerate the sales cycle. (Click to Tweet)
- Tom’s group is an ongoing source of leads for his agency. All B2B relies on 3 key drivers(and Tom’s LinkedIn group has helped Skotidas with all three):
- Brand building (positioning and awareness)
- Demand generation (growing demand for that which you sell – a good tactic is sharing third party content as this is often more credible than our own – especially if it’s by a traditional news source)
- Lead generation – both inbound and outbound. However, outbound lead generation is based on having offered extreme value before calling someone.
- Before setting up a group, have a clear strategy behind it, a strong category focus and consider building it up with partners who can bring different perspectives. (Click to Tweet) It takes thousands of hours to build a thriving group so invest in 2 or 3 people to help manage it.
Play image courtesy Digitalart@freedigitalphotos.net
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