A LinkedIn group is a great way of building contacts, and positioning yourself as an expert within your specific industry.
We previously looked over the benefits of running such a group, and here we’ll look at what you need to do to make your group successful.
1. Assess your name and description
Your group name should draw members in. You are only allotted 48 characters for a group name, so get straight to the point, instead of trying to be witty or entertaining. Remember, LinkedIn is full of professional people; they’ll turn to other social sites for entertainment.
You can be more captivating and creative in your group description. They are reading your group description because the name of the group enticed them in. They’re obviously interested in what your group is regarding, but give them one more push to encourage them to click the ‘Join’ button.
2. Screen group members
By screening your group members, you are avoiding unwanted guests. It can take time to build a group when you are pre-approving all new members, but whilst you’re establishing your presence on LinkedIn it’s worth doing. If your group is open, anyone can publish content – this may lead to spammers taking advantage or people posting irrelevant content that may damage your brand.
Check users have a profile picture, have been active on LinkedIn for over 30 days, and are somehow related to your industry.
3. Set group guidelines
You should set group guidelines if you want your group to run smoothly. The guidelines should establish what type of content can be published on the group page, and how often each member can contribute.
If these guidelines are not written and placed somewhere prominent, you’ll have members promoting themselves left, right and centre, and your group will look spammy. LinkedIn groups are there to provide a platform for discussion and you should penalise those members who do not follow the rules. Have the guidelines written before you launch your page.
4. Create conversation
What use is social media without conversation? Before you have created your group, conduct some market research. There’s no point creating a group on ‘Amazing shoes’, when groups for ‘Gorgeous shoes’, ‘Beautiful shoes’ and ‘Stunning shoes’ already exist.
Find out what questions those in your industry want answering. What are their interests? What kind of content is missing from other LinkedIn groups?
Try posing a thought provoking question or an interesting study to encourage debate, and get the members talking to each other.
In the first few weeks of your group, you will be looked upon to raise discussion and control the group. After a while, when it is more established, members will start internal discussions on their own, and you can chirp up every now and again with interesting content.