This is part 5 of a 16 part series, “Mastering LinkedIn For Business”
Active participation in LinkedIn’s industry groups shows others that you value the business community, and underlines your company’s commitment to new technology and social media. Using LinkedIn groups in your marketing strategy can help you develop your reputation and subject-matter authority, generating new connections, referrals and business.
For many companies, LinkedIn has become a key way to develop a trusted reputation and subject-matter authority. Taking an active role in LinkedIn’s industry groups demonstrates that you value participating in a business community, and underlines your company’s commitment to new technology and social media. Including LinkedIn groups in your marketing strategy can help generate new connections, referrals and business opportunities.
A second reason to join LinkedIn groups is that you can engage other group members directly, notes Viveka von Rosen, social media expert and author of LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day. “Once you join a group you can send a message to strategic members,” she says, “or invite strategic members to connect with you.”
There are the two main elements to consider when using LinkedIn groups for marketing: joining appropriate groups and creating your own.
1) Join relevant industry groups: Start by joining key groups in your own industry — for example, professional associations, alumni groups and other networks you belong to. Next, you’ll want to join industry groups where your prospective clients are likely to be members. If your company designs custom software solutions for the film industry, for example, you might want to seek out software development groups as well as groups for film production and supply houses.
2) Create your own group for current clients and prospects: By starting your own group on LinkedIn, you gain additional abilities to target prospects, share information, and circulate your company’s blog articles and updates. As you participate in other groups, you can steer prospects and existing clients into this group for additional lead cultivation. Having your own group means you facilitate the communication, and it allows you to segment your market and target information that suggests why they would come to your company.
Extra tip: “Make sure you or someone in your company is tasked to moderate it to keep it interesting and relevant,” von Rosen says. “Make your group a destination and active forum.”
Whether you take an active role in existing industry groups or create your own client group to share valuable content, participating in the online business community creates a positive image for your company. It also improves your access to fellow group members, which can facilitate connections, referrals and other business opportunities.