Your company might already have a profile page on LinkedIn, but are you making the most of LinkedIn Groups to engage your audience? According to research led by LeadFormix in April 2011, among all of the sections on LinkedIn, leads coming from LinkedIn Groups are most likely to convert. Studies show approximately 38% of visitors arriving to the website via "groups" are likely to complete form-fills. However, staying active on LinkedIn Groups can be very time consuming. Sometimes you might even overemphasize it without realizing it. Here's a story that happened to me a while ago, which is quite embarrassing but could be a good lesson for everyone who is ready to dive into LinkedIn Groups. When I just started using LinkedIn Groups, I was so excited that I kept adding our company's happenings to an educational group. Topics ranged from our new services and promotions to our new website launches, upcoming seminars and trade show exhibitions. Over time, a message from this group's administrator landed in my message box and I learned my first lesson.
It's all about community, so don't be salesy.
LinkedIn Group is a great place for you to get educated and stay informed with the people that share your interest and goals. There are a variety of groups you can join: association groups, company groups, job search groups, industry discussion groups, alumni groups, and more. Before you start a discussion or a poll on any groups, remember this is about community not you or your company's achievement. Share the information that would resonate with other group members and try not to post promotion materials. If your ultimate goal of participation is to promote your service, here are two options I'd suggest:
- Articulate your question or discussion differently, in a softer tone or pick a unique angle, instead of being salesy and pushy. Take the mistake I made as an example. I could have started with a question "Do you think a mobile-friendly website is necessary for an industrial manufacturer?" followed by a hyperlink to a mobile design case study accomplished by our company.It is an easy approach for me to stay in front of the right audience. It also helps me to gather people's opinions on mobile marketing, which is like implementing market research. If anyone responded with interest in building a mobile site, then it's my turn to pursue it as a lead.
- After identifying your discussion as a PURE commercial, don't hesitate to post it under the group's promotion session. To do so, simply click the "promotion" tab on the top of each group page.
Besides this hard lesson learned, here are another two tips that I found quite useful from my own interaction with LinkedIn Groups.
Observe first, then participate
If you're new to LinkedIn Groups, you should probably observe other members' conversations before initiating a discussion or a poll on your own. Search and join a few groups you might be interested in. Check out the kinds of topics members care about and are passionate about. Observe how members engage with each other. Read the rules and guidelines of each group and make sure you're well aware of its best interests and goals.
Nurture a relationship by creating a LinkedIn Group
Creating a LinkedIn Group works best for associations. If you want to create a group for your company, make sure you will have enough topics to interact with your members and a dedicated person to manage the group, such as seminars, webinars, blogs, industry challenges, announcements, etc. Be creative on selecting your Group's name. Instead of using your company's name, try something that resonates with your industry. Thus, your audiences are more likely to find and follow your group even when they don't know about your brand name. Creating a group is just a start. It won't thrive and succeed if you don't nurture it. To learn more about how to manage your groups, click here. Read my previous post on best practices in optimizing LinkedIn personal and company profile