LinkedIn groups guide


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LinkedIn groups guide

  1. 1. MariaLauraMy Groups: White House (Official),KIVA, GreenSandipMy Groups: CIO Forum,ForresterSteveMy Groups: Citi Network,Social Media MafiaMy Groups: Apple Users,Cornell AlumniAlexMy Groups: IBM, LegalNYC,Harvard ALumniGuide to Creating Successful CommunitiesLINKEDIN GROUPS
  2. 2. APPENDIX23What is a LinkedIn GroupWhy create a LinkedIn Group17ConclusionHow to create a LinkedIn Group 46101214161Step 1. Make a PlanStep 2. Set Up Your GroupStep 3. Enhance Your GroupStep 4. Open the DoorsStep 5. Build EngagementStep 6. Moderate Your GroupCONTENTS
  3. 3. WHAT IS A LINKEDIN GROUPWHAT IS ALINKEDIN GROUPinkedIn Groups are communities of like-mindedprofessionals who share a common experience,passion, interest, affiliation, or goal. Groupsprovide members with a private and focusedspace to discuss relevant topics, share newsstories, network, and collaborate with others.There are thousands of groups on LinkedInorganized around a wide range of topics – fromvirtualization to entrepreneurship to sustainabledesign. Members frequently belong to multiplegroups that align with different aspects of theirprofessional life, such as university alumni groups,trade groups, conference groups, and networkinggroups.L
  4. 4. WHY CREATE A LINKEDIN GROUPWHY CREATE ALINKEDIN GROUPinkedIn Groups enable marketers to establishtheir own community within the larger LinkedInbusiness network in a seamless and organic way.Marketers can easily deliver relevant messagesand efficiently engage with their audience ofpotential customersLinkedIn Groups are a great tool for brands to:Enable the conversationMembers join groups so they can engage withlike-minded professionalsCreate long-term interaction withcustomers and prospectsOngoing discussions and collaboration produce avital and lasting communityGenerate viral, sustainable growthGroups are organically viral creating growthopportunities for the long-runL3
  5. 5. MAKE A PLANefore starting a group there are some key thingsyou’ll want to consider. Taking the time to thinkthrough your short and long term strategy will go along way towards making your group successful.HOW TO CREATE A LINKEDIN GROUPB
  6. 6. STEP 1. MAKE A PLANManaging a LinkedIn Group will require time to buildengagement and moderate. It is important to identify aprimary contact either in or affiliated with your companywho will coordinate all activities for your group. It is alsohelpful to enlist others in your company to help buildengagement in the early phase. Plan to ensure people atyour company can make time to do this for at least sixmonths to nurture and grow the group.Who will manage the groupYour objective will drive the rest of your decisions. What areyou trying to achieve with the group? What do you want tocommunicate? Are you trying to build brand awareness? Doyou want a venue for customers to discuss your products?Are you trying to expose non-customers to your product?What is your objectiveYour audience will have a big impact on how you set upyour group. Who are you trying to reach? Customers,prospects, potential partners, influencers, employees, etc.Who is your audienceA topic-based group (e.g., “The IT Corner” by AcmeComputer) is a great way to build broader engagement withyour audience. Pick a topic related to your brand that willallow for more diverse conversations and draw participationfrom non-customers as well.What is your message• Set a clear objective• Select your topic carefully• Establish a content team• Commit to six months5TOP TIPS
  7. 7. 2ow that you have determined the purpose of theGroup and who will be managing it, you can moveon to the set up phase.SET UP YOUR GROUPHOW TO CREATE A LINKEDIN GROUPNOPEN VS CLOSED GROUPLogoNameDescriptionGROUP BRANDING
  8. 8. STEP 2. SETUP YOUR GROUPWhen creating a group, you will be asked to set accesscontrols. Open groups automatically accept any memberthat wants to be part of the group. Closed groups requirethe group owner to invite, pre-approve, or individuallyapprove members before they are allowed to participate.Open groups are popular for brands because they removebarriers to join and tend to grow faster. Closed groups giveyou more control over who is in the group but take moretime to manage and as a result can ramp up slowly.Open vs Closed GroupThe name and description of your group will help peopleidentify and find you. To highlight your brand, include yourcompany name in the Group name. Choose a logo thatquickly conveys the topic of your group, and keep in mindits small size on-screen. Avoid too much text and opt forsimple, large, images that can have instant impact.Create a detailed description of your group outlining whypeople should join. Include the focus area of the group, thetypes of topics that will be discussed, and who will benefitfrom joining.Group Branding7The Jobs tab is an optional feature that creates a space formembers to post job openings. Managers and othermembers can move job-related posts out of the generalarea into the Jobs tab, helping keep your main discussionfocused on core topics.Jobs Tab
  10. 10. STEP 2. SETUP YOUR GROUPBefore launching your group you will want to set up emailtemplates. This is a standard feature that allows you toautomatically send emails based on one of four actions:acknowledge a request to join, welcome a new member,decline a request to join, or block a request to join. Thecontent of the email is text-based and can be customizedby the group owner. Sending a welcome email is a greatopportunity to reinforce the purpose of the group andoutline posting guidelines.Manage Templates9• Include your brand in group name• Design a custom group logo• Write email templates• Create a detailed group descriptionTOP TIPSSubgroups is a feature that enables you to break out abroader group topic into more refined categories. Forexample, a technology group might have subgroups forlaptops, desktops, and printers. One drawback to creatingsubgroups when you are just starting out, however, is thatyour conversations become spread across multiple sectionsmaking it difficult to get critical mass. Subgroups are a greatfeature to activate once your overall group has momentum.Subgroups
  11. 11. • Post a welcome video• Stream in a relevant blog• Encourage discussion with polls• Leverage third-party contentYou can also use your customized space to distributevaluable information to your members by promoting whitepaper assets. Relevant, free content will be greatlyappreciated by members of your group.It is important to keep content in your Group fresh. Plan ondeveloping an editorial programming calendar and shareyour plan with members. They’ll be sure to check backoften to get new information, watch new videos anddownload the latest white paper.HOW TO CREATE A LINKEDIN GROUP3TOP TIPSCustom Groups have unique messaging features thathelp you build and sustain a relationship with yourcustomers.A custom content module enables you to surface anycontent that can be distributed via an RSS feed. TypicalRSS content may include blog posts, Twitter feeds andphotography. You do not have to limit yourself to your owncontent, however. Include feeds from other sources that arerelevant and of interest to your group.You can also add a stand-alone video module to yourCustom Group. This module pulls in specific videos thatyou have posted to YouTube. Starting your group with avideo introduction is a great way to jump start engagement.Be sure to regularly rotate in other videos, such asinterviews, presentations, and event coverage, to keep yourmembers engaged.Want to source feedback from the crowd and spark healthydebate? Custom Group owners can use one of theirmessaging slots to run an interactive poll. Ask membersany variety of questions and receive real-time feedback andinsights.ENHANCE YOUR GROUP
  13. 13. 4ow that your group is ready to go, it’s time toget the word out. With hundreds of thousands ofgroups in the LinkedIn Groups directory, it iscrucial for you to be proactive in making yourgroup more discoverable. Think about quality, notquantity of members in the beginning to ensurethat you are building a valuable and focusedgroup.The easiest way to build membership in your group is byreaching out to those who already have a proven affinity forusing LinkedIn tools – that is, your target audience onLinkedIn. With rich ad targeting capabilities, you can easilyand quickly raise awareness of your group.Tap into your content team’s individual networks to startspreading the word on LinkedIn. Use network statusmessages on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to broadcastinteresting discussions from your group. Include links toyour group in email signature lines, on your website, inoffline advertising and in collateral.OPEN THE DOORSGet the Word OutHOW TO CREATE A LINKEDIN GROUPN
  14. 14. • Use targeted ads to build membership• Promote your group in your traditional marketing• Ask members to introduce themselves• Decline members that are not a good fitTOP TIPSIf you have set up a closed group, you will need to accept,decline or block each request to join. Criteria for groupmembership should be defined by readily availableinformation in the LinkedIn Profile. If it’s not, considermaking the group open or invite-only.STEP 4. OPEN THE DOORSWho to AcceptHow to Decline13Don’t simply ignore a request if the applicant is not a goodfit. 1) Someone else on your team may not realize that therequest is being ignored and may inadvertently accept it,and 2) It is bad for your brand image if a member feels likeyou are ignoring them.Blocking members is a last resort. You should blockmembers that have been declined several times, repeatedlyignored the posting guidelines, or have been abusive toother members or staff.When to BlockStart with Introductions Ask group members to introduce themselves. Have them toshare their name, where they are from, their profession,something interesting about themselves, and what theyhope to gain from the group. This is a great way to get themused to posting and commenting in discussions.
  15. 15. 5here are many things you can do to help fosterengagement in your group. In the early days ofyour group, staff participation will be key. As yourgroup grows, staff involvement can be reduced asmembers pick up the ball and run with it.BUILD ENGAGEMENTHOW TO CREATE A LINKEDIN GROUPTFEATURED DISCUSSIONCREATE DISCUSSIONS
  16. 16. Recognize both those that create discussions and thosethat comment on them. Comment on posts and give outprizes for the most active participants. The prizes don’tneed to be big to get the desired response – brandedt-shirts, hats, mugs, or even just simple recognition such asannouncing prize winners in a featured post. Comments arecrucial for creating an engaging forum, so give separateawards and recognition to those that regularly comment.Acknowledge ContributorsStart a “question of the week” campaign to drive newdiscussions. Use different staff members to post thequestions so it doesn’t look like all content is coming fromone person. Pick topics that will provoke discussion, andkeep the question brief and to the point. You can alwaysprovide more detail in the Additional Details section.Post a QuestionSTEP 5. BUILD ENGAGEMENT15Use the announcement feature to keep your grouptop-of-mind. You can send one announcement per week toyour group members. Use this announcement tocommunicate the question of the week, list winners ofcontests or alert members to related upcoming events.Send Announcements• Feature interesting posts• Acknowledge active contributors• Pose a “question of the week”• Send weekly announcementsHighlight announcements or interesting posts by taggingthose discussions “featured.” Featured discussions aredenoted by a small pin icon and always appear at the top ofthe discussion board. Limit the number of featureddiscussions to two or three at a time (ideally from differentauthors).Feature DiscussionsTOP TIPS
  17. 17. 6HOW TO CREATE A LINKEDIN GROUPMODERATE YOUR GROUPA• Establish posting guidelines• Be consistent with enforcement• Aggressively manage spam• Block inappropriate membersModerating 101ctive moderation is important to maintaining a vibrant,welcoming group. It is crucial that you and your team setthe tone for discussions by establishing and communicatingposting guidelines. You can use the welcome emailtemplate as well as featured discussions to inform newmembers of your guidelines. In addition to the groupguidelines, you should also have an internal enforcementguideline – what actions to take for different types ofinfractions. This will ensure that all team members are onthe same page.Moderation needs to be done on a daily basis, which is whyit is important to spread the work across a team of people.The group owner and other group managers can take turnsreviewing requests to join, deleting spam and removinginappropriate content. If a discussion is off topic, or violatesthe user guidelines, delete the post and send a note to theauthor asking them to adhere to the guidelines. If a memberrepeats the offence, remove (and block) them from thegroup. It is up to you to determine how many warnings youwant to give a member before removing them from thegroup. If a discussion is spam or abuse, delete it andremove (and block) the member from the group.On the flip side, be sure to acknowledge members that postquality content to the group. Moderating is not just aboutremoving bad content, but about encouraging andrewarding good behavior as well.
  18. 18. CONCLUSION17CONCLUSIONinkedIn Groups provide a unique and powerful way forbrands to join the professional conversation on LinkedIn.Over 50 million influential and motivated members areactively looking to connect and network with others aroundtopics of mutual interest, and marketers have a greatopportunity to help them.By following the basic roadmap outlined in this guide, youdemonstrate to your audience that you’re serious aboutbuilding a substantive, long-term relationship with them. Beprepared to invest time and resources and strike the rightnote from the beginning. Create a well-thought outcommunity, whose topic is targeted to the right audienceand whose discussions are well moderated and curated.Your thoughtful planning up front and commitment toadding value will go a long way towards attracting the rightaudience on LinkedIn and help you lay a foundation fordeeper relationships with your customers.L
  19. 19. Copyright © 2009 LinkedIn Corporation. All rights reserved.Start a LinkedIn Group about Custom Groups in Advertising®