LinkedIn is a powerful online platform that boasts more than 200 million global professionals in over 100 industries; professionals use it to connect with other professionals, garner leads, and seek employment opportunities, or to receive guidance about a particular topic/situation.Â Creating and managing a niche group is a significant way to increase the value of LinkedIn for your brand, and BlackEnterprise.com is here to show you how to leverage your LinkedIn Group:
Define your group
Before you set up your LinkedIn group, do your homework, develop a list of keywords and topics that will revolve around conversations within your page. Once you have obtained a solid list, conduct a search for those terms in the Groups Directory. Review your findings to see if the group that you want to create is already in existence. If your topics have active groups, attempt to identify a disparity or taper the topic and/or contemplate regionalizing or localizing. Donâ€™t forget to take a closer look into each group that comes up in your query, because there are many abandoned or unpopulated groups out there.
Choose an enticing group name
Itâ€™s easy to name the group after your brand, but doing this could turn off potential members who, while interested in your topic, are unfamiliar with your brand.Â Time to put your marketing thinking cap on! Ask yourself, if you were looking for groups to join, what language would attract you? What from your list of keywords could be incorporated into the group name?
Set up your group
Youâ€™ve come up with a name, developed a list of topics and defined the purpose of your group. Now, youâ€™re ready to get started. Locate the â€śGroupsâ€ť link and click on â€śCreate a Group.â€ť From there you can select your group name, enter a description, and upload a logo. Itâ€™s good practice to post content to the page prior to promoting it, that way users will know what to expect if they join.
Create a content strategy
No need to reinvent the wheel here. If your brand produces original content (such as a blog), take those articles and re-purpose them for your group, but this time put a twist on it and ask a thought-provoking question related to the content to get your members engaged. Focus more on providing value and less on promotion of your product or services. Remember people do business with brands they trust.
Publicize your group
Unlike Facebook fan pages, LinkedIn does not support â€ślikeâ€ť widgets for its group pages. This does not mean that you cannot invite others. Integrate your group page into your digital marketing efforts, whether itâ€™s adding it to your website or blog, tweeting, embedding in email signatures or promotion on Facebook, make sure you inform your community.
Manage your group
Depending on the size of your organization, you may want to enlist your colleagues to assist in maintenance and content distribution. You can do this by making them group managers. Â Group managers have the same administrative privileges as the ownerâ€”the ability to include managing members, moderate discussions, among other rights. However, they cannot close the group or transfer ownership.
Do you have a LinkedIn Group? What are some of your tips to effectively managing your brandâ€™s group?
S. Lynn Cooper is a Washington, DC-based digital strategist and communications expert. Cooper is the founder and director ofÂ Socially Ahead, a strategic communications agency that specializes in the creation of social and digital strategies and campaignÂ management. Follow her on Twitter atÂ @sociallyahead.