LinkedIn groups have a multitude of benefits for the EMBA candidate but as QS TopExecutive discovers, those benefits could be further reaching if candidates establish a group of their own.
Hannah James, online marketing specialist at PR, marketing and digital agency, Interdirect, believes LinkedIn groups are one of the most powerful aspects of professional social media. “Companies can build their entire business, market a number of products and services, sell out paid events and become thought leaders in their industry all from a LinkedIn group,” she says.
Most people who have created LinkedIn groups already know the benefits. However, for those who haven’t created one, not yet joined a group or don’t think it’s of value, James outlines her top ten reasons to join or create a group today.
The name of the group creator is clearly featured as the owner of the group. “Personally I think, based on perception alone, the owner is a thought leader for that group’s niche (until proven otherwise),” says James. “The more you contribute quality content and positive group engagement, the more your community will support you and consider you an expert in your industry.”
“People like to feel part of a community,” says James. “The more you connect like-minded people, the more they will appreciate you for doing so. Create an opportunity for people to engage with one another and reap the rewards.”
“This is probably the most powerful feature within LinkedIn groups,” James says. “Instead of having to spend thousands of pounds each year on email marketing you could simply create a group, and send them a weekly message for free.”
“If you are looking to drive traffic to your company’s website, creating a LinkedIn group is a great way to do this,” says James. If you decide to create your own group, here are a few ways you can drive traffic to your site:
- Put your website link in the group profile
- Add the site’s RSS feed to the News Section
- Send a weekly message to your group, and include a niche related article from your site
- Add your website in the group welcome message
- Create a discussion and include your link
LinkedIn has enabled a welcome message tool for group managers. “Every time someone joins, you can send your own automatic message that delivers to their email account (not their LinkedIn account, but their actual email address),” says James. “This means you can create a decent sales tool by first welcoming people to the group, telling them how the group can benefit them and where they can get more information.” Encourage them to sign up for your newsletter, or connect with you on other social networking sites, adds James. This will help you generate sales in the long run.
“Connecting people, providing job leads, referrals, valuable content to help them achieve their goals - these are things you can give to people, and by doing so you should see some great ROI,” advises James.
LinkedIn allows you to create up to ten subgroups targeting people in various locations around the world, or sub niches within a niche. “It’s a great way to throw events all around the country and only have to send a message out to the subgroup, as opposed to the entire group about a regional event,” James says.
“Each group is based on a common factor which allows you to target your communication,” explains James. “The news articles section also allows you to share relevant information with fellow group members. It’s a great way to provide value and to drive traffic.”
“Every good leader helps his/her team or community to get to the top,” James says. “LinkedIn helps by showing how we are connected to one another, and allows us to build stronger, more meaningful relationships.”
You might have 500 people in your direct network but join the top 50 groups on LinkedIn and you’ll have a group reach of close to two million! “Just ensure you join the top 50 groups that are relevant to you, so you are connecting to the right people,” says James.
LinkedIn is a powerful platform to help you achieve your business goals, and the groups aspect is a vital part to helping you achieve those goals faster and in a more meaningful way. Be willing to take some time to better understand them, as you may find a new way to help yourself, and others.