You understand the importance of thought leadership. Now the question is how to implement this strategy using LinkedIn. Investing in short posts and publishing articles through LinkedIn Pulse are great first steps, but if you want to succeed in this hyper-competitive professional atmosphere, using LinkedIn Groups is your next step.
LinkedIn Groups is a feature high-level professionals can utilize to find others within their industries. They allow members to share relevant information, discuss important issues affecting the industry, and tap into one another’s specialties. LinkedIn Groups is also a method for improving your brand, positioning yourself as a thought leader, and can even help generate leads.
Because this feature is so important, it’s also important you make the most out of LinkedIn Groups. But where can you begin?
Identify important groups
There is an incredible number of groups on LinkedIn, so research is essential. You’ve got to go out and identify which groups your ideal prospects belong to and engage in, and then join as well. They’re great places to find ideal prospects, join other like-minded professionals, discuss what’s happening in your industry, share relevant content, and find others to engage and connect with. What industry does your target audience participate in? What are you goals for entering a LinkedIn group, and how can you measure your results?
Once you’ve identified your purpose, there are a few different avenues you can take to identify optimal LinkedIn Groups to join.
- Research recent articles related to your industry. What groups are the writers in?
- Check the groups of past or perspective clients you’re connected with.
- Leverage LinkedIn keyword searches.
Remember: If a group is open, you may be able to view recent activity. You’re looking for quality over quantity — and content relevant to your purpose.
How to engage
Don’t forget that LinkedIn Groups are made of people. The key is to engage as a person and not a brand. Thought leadership is about creating insightful dialogue on important issues within your industry. Using LinkedIn to sell your product will likely hurt your credibility and possibly violate group terms and conditions.
Here are a few quick tips on how to engage meaningfully:
- Let others become familiar with you through your comments before posting yourself.
- Start by sharing industry news before offering your point of view.
- Use polls to engage group members and gather critical industry information.
- Don’t skip on the visuals: Add infographics and images to posts.
- Promote your own valuable content, eBooks, events, and more after building credibility within the community.
Launch your own group
After frequently engaging within a group, you may consider starting your own. This allows you to more carefully craft a community that fits your intended audience. More so, when a community begins to thrive, moderating content for quality as well as practicing positive group management can improve your credibility as a thought leader and drive more traffic to your profile.
When launching a new group, make sure the content fits with your overall strategy. Who is this group going to cater to — think about prospective clients — and how can you position it to most effectively serve your client base?
Once you’ve launched your LinkedIn group, continue interacting with group members to add value and build relationships with key audience members and prospects. You can even send members a weekly group email announcement, including images, which is also displayed in the group feed. When you can reach group members on LinkedIn and via email, you continue adding value in a non-salesy manner while staying top of mind among members. Sharing relevant content in your group helps you position yourself as a thought leader in your space as you show your prospects you’re someone they can know, like, and trust.
And, if you invest in creating a local group, you can invite members to offer happy hour or “lunch and learn” events at local businesses to bring your members together face to face to network.
[cta]Groups are important, but they’re only one feature you must utilize to rise to the top of your field. If you’re looking for help building your new LinkedIn group, it might be time to call in an expert. Contact me, Mark McIntosh, RevGrow CEO and founder, today by calling [phone], and I’ll be happy to explain how I can help you.[/cta]
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