A LinkedIn Group can act like virtual forum where professional communities come together to share insights, discuss news and interact with each other. The posts should generate interest and add value to the members.
They are not the place to constantly sell products or services. That’s a huge no no!
If you’ve ever wondered about creating a LinkedIn Group of your own, this blog is for you.
Why set up a LinkedIn Group?
The content you post in a group can highlight your expertise, identify you as the go-to expert in your field and showcase you as an influencer. This will build trust and credibility and lead to people wanting to work with you.
If you create and manage a successful LinkedIn Group, your engaging content will lead customers to do business with you. This is the power of LinkedIn Groups!
Before setting up a LinkedIn Group
Well before you even think about finding out how to set up, or how to use LinkedIn Groups, consider why you want to create one. A group can be private or public.
The right reasons: to add value to your customers, to add value to others working in your sector, to strengthen relationships, to provide a safe space to share ideas and thoughts, to solve problems and give advice, to create a virtual meeting room where like-minded people can meet. To ultimately be a hub of information.
The wrong reasons: to showcase your products, to air your views or give your opinions about things without asking for a response from others.
I’ve seen LinkedIn Groups which are clearly managed poorly, they end up being a bit of a free-for-all where everyone seems to be promoting their product. It simply dies as no-one gains any value from being a part of it. For LinkedIn to see that they add value, there must be a high level of interaction from every post.
Think about who you want to join your group
Targeting the right community should be a part of your LinkedIn Groups strategy.
As with most things on social media, it’s about quality over quantity. You can invite to your group any of your existing LinkedIn connections, you can email the Group’s link to your customers and you can even put the Group’s link on your website.
When inviting people, tell them the purpose of the group and what they’ll get out of it – they’re more likely to join and interact knowing ‘what’s in it for them’.
But, the most successful groups are the ones where all members share the same common interest and have the same goals. Inviting people for the sake of it, will result in a lot of people not interacting or engaging – LinkedIn will see this as a sign that the group isn’t really adding value and will give it very little visibility.
You are allowed to have up to 20k people in a group – can you imagine how noisy that would get? Personally, I prefer smaller groups with well targeted individuals who I know will really add a lot of value, give great advice, and spend time engaging with the posts.
The group can consist of potential customers too who join to find solutions to their problems. Well run groups will give you a perfect opportunity to build valuable relationships and get you more business.
Smaller groups tend to work better when the subject is very niche. I find that you get a lot more information from groups with smaller numbers as many people are more confident sharing advice and their thoughts away from the large crowds.
You need to put in the time and effort
Unlike Facebook Groups, LinkedIn Groups don’t get much visibility. And unlike Facebook Groups, members of a LinkedIn Group won’t get notified when someone makes a post (probably a good job if there’s around 20k members!)
Top tip! It’s a good idea to ask your members to change their notification status. It’s easy to do by clicking on the three dots and asking LinkedIn to send you a notification when someone publishes a post. The default setting is to only send a notification to active members of the group if a post is getting a lot of interaction and the author of the post is someone LinkedIn thinks you know well.
It’s also a good idea to invite someone else to be an admin who can help manage the group.
To get the group off to a good start you’ll need to drum up activity. Create lots of regular engaging posts to kickstart conversations. Be prepared to spend quite a bit of time on this!
You might see groups larger than 20k – it could be that these were created before the 20k limit came into force, or it could be that they are so successful that LinkedIn has seen the value in them and happy for them to exceed the usual limit.
It really does pay to learn what you can about LinkedIn Groups best practices to get the most out of them.
In order to get the make the most of your hard work you will need to get you and your company’s page in tiptop shape click here to see some of my top tips on how to get the biggest impact on your LinkedIn business page.
What content works best for LinkedIn Group engagement?
Firstly, understand what value you want the group to give its members and create content relevant to that topic. This will help you to create content that works.
Here’s how to increase engagement in a LinkedIn Group:
- Ask open ended questions.
- Share the latest updates/news.
- Provide a subject to debate.
- Give a problem and ask for solutions.
- Raise an issue that’s been in the news and offer advice.
- Any interesting or unique stories that you’ve heard about.
Engagement with an active community is key! You must encourage interaction for every post, if not, the group will not be successful. To survive, there must be 2-way conversations.
Still stuck for ideas! Head over to my YouTube channel and watch my livestream, 13 LinkedIn Post Ideas.
A great feature is that the creator of the group can control the content and create LinkedIn Group guidelines. Creators approve members’ posts before they are published to the group for all eyes to see. I love a spot of quality control!
The creator also gets to set the ground rules. It’s common to see rules such as, no sales posts, no profanities, no politics (unless of course it’s a political group!), etc. The rules can be sent automatically to new joiners and you can also create a post showing the rules and have this at the top of your group’s page.
And, if you forget to set the settings so that you see all posts before they are published and a poor post slips through, you are able to delete posts and comments.
How does a LinkedIn Group help you to network?
All members of the same group will automatically become 2nd connections to each other if not already connected. This opens up your network. You will be able to direct message them and see each other’s posts. Members will also come up in your searches and vice versa.
Have you ever spotted someone on LinkedIn and wished there was a way of striking up a conversation with them? This is your chance to do just that! Find out which groups they belong to and are active in and request to join them. This gives you an ideal opportunity to hop on to any conversations they are in and get on their radar.
And if you regularly contribute by offering great advice and value you’ll be seen as an expert and an influencer – good work!
Let’s look at the pros and cons of a LinkedIn Group
Are there any downsides to a LinkedIn Group? Yes, sadly LinkedIn Groups for business just don’t get good visibility. To get good visibility you really need to put in a lot of effort at the beginning by continual posting compelling and engaging content and inviting the right audience to join.
Members won’t get notified of the posts (unless of course they’ve changed the default setting) so it’s easy for them to forget about the group. I had a quick check to see which LinkedIn Groups I belong to and I was surprised at just how many I had completely forgotten about.
As mentioned earlier you will be told of a well performing post from someone LinkedIn thinks you know – but even then, you’ll only be notified of the post’s highlights.
Here are my takeaway thoughts on LinkedIn Groups
So, to sum up, LinkedIn Groups are incredibly valuable when run successfully. They build strong, trusted communities where you can show off your expertise by answering questions, providing solutions and continually adding fantastic value to the members.
You must identify the purpose of the group before setting one up.
You must be prepared to put in a lot of time and effort to make it a success.
Look into the features of a LinkedIn Group – currently there aren’t too many. Attaching documents is a really useful one to know about though.
If you do decide to create a LinkedIn Group of your own go ahead and give it your best. LinkedIn are constantly improving their features so watch this space. By creating a group now, you could be beating your competitors to it.
It may also be a good idea to start with a Facebook Group if you have customers on that platform as it has lots more features and Facebook encourages members to take a look at posts by sending notifications. It’s just that little bit easier!
To learn more about LinkedIn for professionals
There is no other social media platform that can beat LinkedIn for connecting professionals. If you’d like to hear more about how you can be making the most of this valuable marketing tool why not sign up to my online LinkedIn workshop.
My Online LinkedIn Workshop For Businesses will teach you all there is to know about driving business enquiries through this amazing professional social media platform.
For an hours investment every day for four days you will have an updated profile that attracts attention and appeal to your target audience, a clear understanding of how to find and connect with the right people and what content will perform really well.
Bye for now,
Becs Bate, Social Media Executive
Social Media Consultant, Social Media Executive