Did you know there are more than 2.1 million groups on LinkedIn ? Joining them is a wonderful way to participate in industry conversations and find new prospects, but have you considered actually starting a LinkedIn group?
Before you do, keep reading. I’m willing to bet that of those 2.1 million groups, maybe only 20% are run effectively. I fall into that camp. I started a one, Marketing 2.0 Experts Group, several years ago, but haven’t done it justice or fully leveraged it as a marketing tool.
Then I attended a session at Social Media Marketing World , “How to Run Successful LinkedIn Groups: Tips From the Pros.” and it opened my eyes to possibilities with my group, and I’ve now got a long list of to-dos.
Each of the experts on the panel, Stephanie Sammons, Jill Konrath and Eric T. Tung, run their own successful groups on LinkedIn, and provided valuable tips to help the rest of us.
Focus on Quality in LinkedIn Groups
Rather than letting “just anyone” join a group, some of the panelists said they require preapproval for anyone interested in joining. This cuts down on those people who simply want a place to spam or share unrelated links, and it raises the bar on quality for existing members. It does take time to preapprove folks. I log in weekly and approve a dozen requests, but it’s worth it in the long run.
In addition to caring who joins your group, the discussion talked about the quality of what goes on the group’s page. One panelist said she doesn’t permit posts and only wants discussions. I realized I was turning my own group into a dumping ground for content and needed to rethink my strategy here. One panelist gave Connect: Professional Women’s Network, Powered by Citi  Group as a great example of how dialogue can fuel a group on LinkedIn. It’s something to aspire to.
Invite Influencers to Your LinkedIn Group
Another fantastic tip I gleaned was to invite influencers to participate in your group. Since they’re already naturals at leading discussions, they’ll likely help foster conversation in your group. Find those people who are already talking about your industry on other social sites (or even other LinkedIn groups) and invite them to get involved.
One idea I had from this is to identify those people in my own group who are already more active. I want to ask them to become volunteer moderators and really engage with other members.
Leverage Your Network
I didn’t realize that group owners can send one email a week to members. This is a fantastic opportunity to stay connected, encourage quiet members to chime in on conversations, and lead people to your website. I personally need to mull this over, since I don’t want to turn people off by pushing my own agenda. One panelist said she is now charging $5,000 for sponsored emails for advertisers looking to reach her network through her LinkedIn group.
The session got my wheels churning, so I’ll throw out some other ideas I had as a result of this wealth of knowledge:
- Post a Question of the Week and engage specific members to answer it.
- Choose a Manager’s Choice post or conversation to highlight members and encourage them to get more involved.
- Hire a moderator/manager to oversee the strategy (I don’t have time).
- Pump up your group on your blog, website, email, and other social channels to drive membership.
- Set rules in the templates so members know what is acceptable and what isn’t.
I’m anxious to hear from our readers what you’re doing to successfully run your own LinkedIn groups. What tips can you share with us?
LinkedIn  Photo via Shutterstock