LinkedIn is huge, with 706 million users in over 200 countries and regions.
No, it doesn’t have as many users as Facebook and Instagram.
But what makes it special is that it’s a unique platform specifically designed for businesses and professionals.
So, while you post your vacation photos and cute cat videos on Instagram, you go to LinkedIn to build your business network, increase your industry knowledge, and connect with potential clients.
If you’ve been using the platform to grow your brand, you’ll have heard of LinkedIn Groups.
These groups are designed to help professionals connect with like-minded people who share the same goals.
The question is, is joining a LinkedIn Group a good idea?
Should you create your own group?
If so, how?
In this article, we’ll answer all these questions.
Let’s dive in!
3 Benefits of Creating Your Own LinkedIn Group
Yes, building and growing your own LinkedIn Group takes time and effort.
But if you do it right, the benefits will make your hard work worthwhile.
Here are three reasons creating a LinkedIn Group is a great idea.
1. LinkedIn Groups Help You Grow Your Network
You craft a compelling, audience-centered post on LinkedIn and wait for the likes to start pouring in.
Sure enough, people you’ve connected with leave encouraging comments on your post.
But you wish there were a way to connect with more people who share your interests and goals.
Enter, LinkedIn Groups.
With LinkedIn Groups, you get to interact with millions of members with similar interests as yours.
Do people on LinkedIn join groups?
In fact, a single group can have more than a million members in it.
And while you can simply join a group, creating and growing your own will do amazing things for your brand.
2. A LinkedIn Group Allows You to Connect Deeply with Your Audience
“Know thy customer,” is one of the first commandments of marketing.
And what better way to know them than to speak directly to them?
With an active LinkedIn Group, you can post surveys, ask questions, and create polls so you always know how to better serve your customers.
3. A LinkedIn Group Can Boost Your Website Traffic
Just published a blog you know your network or audience will love?
Why not post a tantalizing excerpt of it on your LinkedIn Group?
When you do, you entice members to click and read the whole story.
This means increased traffic to your site, higher ranking on Google, and more leads.
Here’s how Penn Foster does it with their post…
…which leads to their blog on the topic.
5 Steps to Building Your Own Active LinkedIn Group
No, you probably won’t be the first person creating a group in your niche.
(Unless you’re creating a group of square-shaped onion lovers, of course.)
In fact, there are over 2 million active LinkedIn groups today.
So, does creating one mean you’ll get lost in a sea of noise and never get the chance to grow a thriving network of your own?
Not if you do things right.
Here are five steps to LinkedIn Group success.
1. Be 100% Clear About Your Focus
The last thing you want to do is create a generic group and go up against the thousands of other groups like yours.
For instance, if you’re into fitness, you’re competing against 6,500 related groups.
The key is to narrow it down with a few questions.
- What makes my group different from my competitors’?
- What specific benefit can I give my audience that other groups can’t?
- How can I make my group name stand out from the others?
Once you’ve answered these questions, sit down and plan your group’s name.
A great idea is to make it a combination of your topic + your audience.
For instance, you can call your fitness group “Kids Fitness for Busy Parents,” or “Yoga and Fitness for Office Workers.”
Try to get as specific as possible, implying the benefits members will enjoy when they join your group.
2. Don’t Add Everyone to Your Group
Once you’ve created your group, your first instinct will be to add everyone you’re connected to on LinkedIn.
Stop right now!
The last thing you want is to make your future members feel that their feeds are loaded with unrelated topics.
Also, you want group members who’ll actively engage with your content.
If you add dentists to a sports enthusiasts’ group, chances are they’ll skip over what you post because it doesn’t relate to them (unless they’re your BFFs and they love you, of course).
So, instead of inviting everyone to join your group, stick to inviting only people you know will benefit by being a group member.
How do you find these people?
First, run through your own connections.
Ask yourself the same question as you review each name.
“Is this someone who will benefit from being in my group?”
Another way is to type relevant keywords into LinkedIn’s search field.
You can use the filters to narrow your search down.
For instance, type the word “marketer” into the search field and use the locations filter to search for marketers within the United States.
The results you’ll get are people who have listed themselves as marketers in the U.S.
Remember, don’t spam these people.
Avoid sending a generic, one-size-fits-all message to everyone.
Instead, take some time to review a potential member’s profile before sending an invite.
Lastly, you can send invites to your email list.
People who have subscribed to your list are interested in what you offer, so chances are they’ll love being in your group.
3. Add Value to Your Members’ Lives
Now, you have a living, breathing LinkedIn group full of great members.
Keep in mind, though, that this is just the beginning.
This is just the easy part.
The tougher part is keeping your members engaged so they want to stay.
Here are three ideas you can use to give your group members a great experience:
Create Stimulating Discussions
People love expressing their opinions.
To get a lively discussion going, you can ask current questions your industry is divided over.
Focus on hot topics.
For instance, if your group is made up of content marketers, you can ask members what they think of GPT-3 and whether or not it will take over content creation jobs in the future.
Craft Content Your Audience Will Love
You can treat your LinkedIn group exactly the way you treat your blog.
Find out what your audience needs, then craft content that helps them fulfill their needs.
If you don’t have time to create content specifically for your LinkedIn group, you can share relevant posts from your own or other prominent sites’ blogs.
Send Engaging Emails to Your Group
A great idea is to craft an interesting, entertaining email highlighting the week’s group activities.
Tell your audience what they missed (nicely, of course), talk about the outcomes of the discussions, and give them a sneak peek into next week’s exciting activities.
Of course, it’s up to you to figure out how to keep group members engaged.
If you’re out of ideas, you can always join a popular group in your niche and take note of what members love to engage with.
4. Take Care of Your Group
Ever join a social media group, only to have your feed bombarded with irrelevant, spammy content?
If you have, I bet you left the group as soon as you could.
The same is true with a LinkedIn group.
Your members will only stay if you spend time to take care of the group and remove all kinds of content that won’t benefit them.
Here are three pointers to keep in mind.
Start off With Guidelines for Your Group
Before adding members to your group, write down some general rules.
For instance, no hate comments, no spam, no sales-y messages.
LinkedIn itself encourages you to create ground rules for your group.
Take Time to Weed out Spammy Content
Simply posting your ground rules doesn’t mean you’ll be able to avoid all types of spam.
Make sure to review everything posted in the group and weed out posts that break your guidelines.
Remove Members Who Break Your Ground Rules
Send a warning to members who continuously break your group’s rules. If they persist, remove them from the group.
5. Promote Your Group
The number one way to promote your group is to give your current members an excellent experience.
If they love your group, chances are they’ll invite people in their network to join.
Another thing you can do is promote your group on other social media platforms.
Adding a link to join your group in your blog and emails also works.
Creating an Active LinkedIn Group: It’s Not as Hard as it Seems
Thinking of starting a LinkedIn group?
An active group can grow your network, gain you a ton of leads, and boost blog traffic.
The great news is, it’s not that hard to start your own thriving, successful group.
All you need to do is know your audience and what they want, invite the right people, and commit time and energy to give them a great experience.
If you keep it up, you’ll be surprised to see your group growing bigger than you ever imagined.
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All screenshots taken by author, October 2020