LinkedIn is one of the oldest social networks and is often considered the most professional. As businesses are embracing the power of social media sites, a lot of professionals see the advantages of taking their business and their personal brand online and making use of social media to help spread brand awareness. If you’re a direct seller, it can also help you in sharing your passion and your brand. It’s not to focus on recruiting as much as it is to focus on providing helpful information to your target audience and creating a community of people with common interests and goals.
Most professionals and employees from top companies have LinkedIn profiles. The site is designed to allow user interaction, and with most professionals using this site, you can just imagine the benefits that one can get by interacting with experts.
As a user, it’s important to realize that there is more than just following and contacting professionals; you can actually start your own group to take advantage of the site’s full potential in helping you with your business and brand needs. LinkedIn allows you to build your own network and attract users that share your interests; it allows you to build a community where you can learn and market.
Why start a group?
As a professional, you want to continue learning, especially for your business. Whatever you are offering, products or services, innovation is important. When you create your own group and have gained members that share and understand your business needs, getting information and ideas will be easy for you. You have that advantage to quickly access information by asking your members and discussing ideas with them.
As a group manager, you are giving your members the chance to interact with other members. Facilitating a place where they can get the same benefits that you are getting from your members, ideas and helpful information, is a great way for others to sample your character and competence. Share your passions with your group and you will gain their respect, along with develop and grow relationships.
Before you start your group, review your goals and intentions for the group. Think of whom your target audience is and what type of group you want to manage: open, member-only or private. Here are some ways you can attract members:
- Invite your first-degree network to join. If you already have contacts on LinkedIn, why not invite them to your group.
- Look for potential members in the networks of your connections. Find people whose profiles suits your needs.
- Look at “Viewers of this Profile also viewed” to scout for others who share the same interests.
- Browse through companies. This helps you find potential members if your focus is industry-specific.
- Define your target audience and create alerts. You can save your searches and get notified when the site detects similar profiles.
- Make use of the “Share-Group” link located on the right side in the Group Home page menu.
When sharing your group link with other groups, be careful where you post it and watch your timing. You do not want to spam their pages with your link or comment on every discussion posting a link to your Group.
Make your group work to its full potential
It is easy to create a group, but it requires time and effort to actually feel the benefits of having one. Some groups do not succeed because their strategy in maintaining the group is not enough or their goal is focused on short term benefits.
Think of what your long term goals are for the group. How can you help your members by sharing what you know and giving them practical and useful information? Dedicate time to how you can provide content, articles and topics for discussions, in order to keep them interested. Be creative and make your group an interactive one. Make your members feel like they really belong to a community.
Managing a LinkedIn Group will help your brand in many ways if you are also willing to help your members. Promote your brand in your group and at the same time give them something valuable like helpful information. Keep building your group and promote interaction at all times. Your group is a community of people who understands what your brand is about, and your members will help your business succeed.
Maria Elena Duron, is managing editor of the Personal Branding Blog, CEO (chief engagement officer) of buzz2bucks.com – a word of mouth marketing firm and Director of Client Communities of Momentum Factor-focused on the direct selling industry. She helps create connection, credibility, community and cha-ching through mobile marketing and social commerce around your brand. She is co-founder of #brandchat – a weekly Twitter chat focused on every aspect of branding.