Most professionals understand the networking value of having a LinkedIn profile, but is your company also leveraging the power of this business-focused network? It should be, according to the latest LinkedIn stats:
- As of Sept. 30, 2012, LinkedIn has 187m+ professionals around the world
- There are over 6 million users in Canada
- 50% have household income over $100k CAD
- It’s growing at a rate of 2 members/second
- Executives from all 2012 Fortune 500 companies are members
Perhaps the most interesting stat comes from a recent Power Formula study, which found that 53% of users join 10 or more LinkedIn groups. Clearly, Linkedin members want to engage with others in their industry, which makes Linkedin groups an excellent way to communicate with a targeted audience and position your brand as a thought leader.
Here are 5 tips to remember when creating a Linkedin group:
1) Target a specific audience
Look at other groups that exist within your industry and determine if there is a niche you can fill. You’ll attract a focused, targeted audience with a keyword-rich group name and description.
2) Keep it open
Linkedin give you the option to make your group private or public. Keeping yours public means discussions will be indexed by search engines and are easily shareable on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. If you’re worried about your group getting spammed by marketers and self-promoters, consider pre-approving members and be sure to monitor discussions closely.
3) Create discussions and share
Stimulate conversation within your group by posting discussions and polls at regular intervals, and remember to share them. Sharing functionality doesn’t just work on groups; you can even share individual discussions and polls on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to promote new and/or active discussions on all of your social media sites, as well as newsletters and blog posts. Group managers can also send up to one group announcement per week to members who have chosen to receive notifications.
4) Utilize subgroups
Subgroups give you a space to discuss specific or niche topics that may not be interesting to all of the members of the main group (i.e. – a group for Canadian SEO specialists may have a subgroup devoted to SEO specialists attending an upcoming local event in Halifax). Note: if you’re pre-approving members, you can’t approve a member for the parent group and the subgroup at the same time. Instead, you’ll need to first approve the member for the main group, then add them to the subgroup.
5) Merge like-minded groups
You might find yourself overwhelmed with managing multiple Linkedin groups. Unfortunately, there is no automated process for merging two groups. Group owners can decide to combine their groups by choosing the most popular group to remain open and closing the group that gets very little traction. Be sure to send an announcement to inform members of the closing group about your plans, and provide them with a link to join the other group.