First published on The Unspun Blog 02/06/11
If your organisation had the opportunity to contact almost every professional working within the industry and hold open discussions with them, would you use it?
LinkedIn Groups provides just that. With over 100 million members and counting, LinkedIn is a big player within the social media realm and Groups is the place to tap in.
Think of it as the ‘Facebook Pages’ of the professional world. A few years ago only a handful of leading businesses were creating Pages – now they are becoming almost secondary to a company web site. Unlike Pages, your discussions on LinkedIn Groups will not disrupt someone’s personal time catching up on gossip and holiday photos.
Who uses LinkedIn?
According to Cliff Rosenberg (Managing Director, LinkedIn AU/NZ), the average user is 43 and earning around $100k p.a. That is the kind of statistic that gets marketers hot under the collar! The most important thing to take from stats like this is that LinkedIn users are typically educated, mature, career focused and well networked.
It’s quite common to hear that someone has a LinkedIn profile but “doesn’t really use it much”. This is starting to change as more join the network and start engaging with the content available. It is estimated that once a user reaches around 40+ connections, they will start to use it more intensively and start actively participating. Will you be ready when they do?
Why you should start a LinkedIn Group
- Your audience is already there – start talking to them!
- Users can search through discussions and topics, so by providing content within a group you position yourself as a leading resource
- Groups can be public for searchable content or private to protect information
- Add events and invite your networks. Whenever they RSVP, it will show up to their networks – a viral yet targeted reach
- Applications allow you to poll users and share presentations (hot tip – SlideShare presentationsare not only an effective way of sharing content, they are also highly searchable in Google!)
- Create group newsletters and subscriptions to topics and discussions – users will never miss replies or comments and LinkedIn emails are not viewed as spam so they are likely to be read
- Create subgroups for specific topics or issues to create focused discussions
- It’s a better alternative to forums which are hard to launch, hard to monitor and don’t work in with people’s existing networks
- People are more likely to take responsibility for their comments by personalising users and connecting them to their professional network.
How do I get started?
LinkedIn provides learning resources for building groups, which can be found here.