Is your social media strategy generating enough leads? You might have to look past the popular kids in the realm of social media. Step away from Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, and turn to their more professional social sister: LinkedIn. Despite the fact it took LinkedIn 6 years to reach its first 50 million active members, the network is growing quickly. It’s added 50 million new members in the last year alone, and it’s currently expanding at a rate of one new member every two seconds.
In short, there’s a fabulous chance your prospects are using the network actively. If your current LinkedIn efforts are limited to stalking your connections’ connections, it’s time to look towards LinkedIn groups. Inspired by marketing mastermind Janet Aronica of HubSpot, here are the top 3 benefits of getting into groups:
- Become a Thought Leader. By actively engaging with peers and prospects, you can establish yourself as an intelligent resource who’s open to future questions.
- Connect with Content Advocates. By initiating and participating in discussions on your industry, you can connect with other bloggers and generate social shares across mediums. Building a network of advocates for your content marketing can give your blogs, eBooks, slideshows, and webinars invaluable exposure.
- Get Ideas for Content. We all struggle to fill out next month’s content calendar from time to time. Listen in on conversations to determine which conversations are driving search among prospects in your industry.
Inspired by our own experience engaging in groups, we’ve curated some expert insight on how you can leverage LinkedIn for networking. Here are nine additional tips for tapping into LinkedIn’s resources:
1. Decide Between Open and Closed Groups.
Much like Facebook, you have an option of making your groups open to new members or requiring each potential member to pass through a moderating process (though the group still appears in search). There’s obvious benefits to both: open groups grow faster, but you can maintain a higher quality with members using the closed functionality.
2. Write Out Group Rules
Use the “Group Rules” section to write policies against any behavior you feel could detract from members’ overall experience. While it’s ultimately up to you what you choose to allow and disallow, common group policies include preventing blatant self-promotion, attacks on competitors, spam, or profanity.
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3. Maintain Engagement by Sending Out Announcements
LinkedIn group administrators are allowed to send up to one announcement weekly to members. Use this opportunity wisely to highlight some of the more active discussions, but make a point of contacting participants every week. When done correctly, it’s a great way to pull less active “lurkers” into more active participation.
4. Invite People Prudently
While LinkedIn does allow group owners to blindly invite their entire list of connections, doing so is not usually the best plan. Pick and choose whom you want to invite, focusing on people who could add value and expertise to discussions. Aronica recommends you “use personalized messages and explain to people why you think they’d enjoy the discussions in your group.”
5. Read, Memorize and Absorb the Rules on LinkedIn Groups
It’s not going to reflect well on your personal or organizational brand if your group is pulled from the site!
6. Treat the Group Like a Job
Even if you choose to moderate members, you’ll likely encounter some spam or potentially offensive posts as your membership grows. Your role is to keep discussions on topic and remove anyone who isn’t contributing positively.
7. Actively Start Discussions
Engage with group members by posting articles, videos, eBooks, webinars and invitations to real-life events. Comment on others’ contributions.
8. Engage With Others
You have the ability to join as many as 40 groups in LinkedIn. Join as many as you can that are relevant to your organizational goals, and share great content.
9. Optimize The Group Description
Fill the description field of your LinkedIn group with as many relevant keywords, buzzwords, and industry jargon as possible to attract members through LinkedIn search or major search engines.
LinkedIn may not be as sexy as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, but it’s still a valuable social network. And with these nine tips, your group will be alive and kicking in no time.
image credit: etta in group