Most B2B marketers agree LinkedIn is an indispensable networking and marketing tool that connects like-minded business people who share similar interests. With LinkedIn members now comprising the world’s largest professional community, more businesses are turning their attention to LinkedIn groups or informal communities built around industries, common interests, professions, etc.
A powerful part of LinkedIn, participation in these groups offers a wide variety of opportunities for B2B marketers including: networking, researching, building partnerships, sharing content and B2B lead generation. In fact, 80% of all social media leads come from LinkedIn!
So how does a B2B Marketer establish a relationship and put these LinkedIn groups to use? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Participate in the “right” LinkedIn groups.
First of all, with over one million groups active on LinkedIn, be sure you’re targeting the right ones for your organization.
- Start by typing keywords important for your business into the search engine and narrow your search down to Groups only. Or you can simply go to the Groups Directory page and search for specific terms relevant to your industry or product/service.
- Then identify groups which include prospective clients or influential people in your industry, as well as the groups your key customers belong to.
The idea is to target groups that will be interested in the content, views or insight that you share and groups that provide insight into your market in order to build better awareness of a particular audience or industry. You can join up to 50 groups, but the key is to focus on the groups that will prove the best investment of your time.
Contribute to discussions taking place in established LinkedIn groups.
Once you have joined a LinkedIn group, it’s crucial to be an active group member and participate. Following and weighing in on an active discussion is a great way to gain authority as a subject matter expert. But don’t be afraid to raise questions, too! Regardless of whether you’re answering or asking the questions, you’re still establishing yourself as a trusted peer – and a thought leader for your business.
- Be a resource for the group. Direct members to additional information, whether it be relevant content published by your company or resources provided by another organization.
- Start a conversation. Post a provocative question to the group! Utilize the group to brainstorm an idea, to gather feedback on topics and projects you’re developing, or even to conduct market research.
Share relevant content and posts with your LinkedIn groups.
A great way to establish yourself as a credible thought leader and build your brand is by sharing content that is both valuable and relevant to your group. If you’re unsure of what’s going to be perceived as valuable (and non-spammy!) by your fellow group members – let alone what will attract and engage them – here are a few pointers:
- Monitor your group’s content trends so you can deliver pieces crafted around topics that matter to members.
- Create and share content that helps people solve problems or make progress towards goals, such as how-to’s, guides and blog posts that feature subjects related to group discussions.
- Leverage other ways to connect and share content with members of your group; tele-classes, webinars, and SlideShare are all great options.
It’s also a good idea to follow the 60-30-10 social media golden rule of content sharing: That is, 60% of what you share should be content you’ve curated from third party sources, 30% of what you share should be content you’ve created, and the remaining 10% can include Calls-to-Action that link to topical offers on your landing pages.
Be aware of the need to balance these types of content. If your content is too “spammy,” you may get SWAMed by another group member. LinkedIn’s SWAM (Site Wide Automatic Moderation) occurs when a member of a LinkedIn Group is flagged in one group and subsequently blocked from it, and then they’re automatically marked for moderation in all other groups they belong to. Ouch!
Remember, LinkedIn groups are about community, and all marketers need to be mindful of the type of content we are sharing. Follow these tips on how to use LinkedIn groups effectively, and you’ll be growing your industry presence and credibility in no time!