Before I have written about the power of LinkedIn and one of its most popular features: LinkedIn Groups. I’ve discussed the power of using these groups to get your message in front of an audience of thousands, how to create your own custom group and even how to get the most out of the administration panel of your group page. What I have never discussed is arguably one of the most important factors:
How to choose the perfect LinkedIn Groups to market your business!
As I’m asked this question again and again, I thought I would take a moment and give you 10 criteria on how to choose and join the right groups to support your online marketing efforts using LinkedIn.
One thing to keep in mind before we begin: it is extremely easy to join and leave LinkedIn groups. So the groups that you choose you will not be saddled with to the end of days. You are always able to leave groups that are a poor fit and try out new ones that can be more suitable. Also, you are allowed to join a maximum of 50 groups on LinkedIn. As many require a group manager to “OK” your request, it can delay you joining groups at a fast past. But slow and steady wins the race – stay patient and you will receive.
Here are my 10 criteria for choosing the perfect LinkedIn Groups for your business:
- Choose Niche Keywords First. It is tempting when first searching the GROUPS section of LinkedIn to go for terms like “ceo” or “hospitality”. My suggestion is to first go uber niche with your search and get specific. Think about who your exact target market is, and then use that as your search criteria. For example, skip just using “hospitality” and go for “hotel managers florida”. If you put your search between quotes, you will see the ONLY groups with this phrase in their description. While it may turn up less results than a general search, it will be extremely targeted and you may just find a gem.
- Read the Group Description. The description, which appears under the title of the group on the results page, should give you a good idea about who the group is targeted to and what types of discussions are fine to be posted. Make sure that this matches the type of content that you would like to use to engage and the audience is suitable.
- Check the Group Activity Level. It is always better to be in an active group. Below the group description, there is a grey line of text that will tell you about the activity level of the group. My favorites are “Very Active”, but “Active” is good as well.
- Check the Number of New Discussions Created. If the activity level is not present, you need to go to the next check which would be the number of discussions posted per month (this will be found at the same place below the group description). If in a 30 day period there were only 9 discussions and the group has 12,345 members – it would not be a group that I would join immediately as it seems pretty inactive.
- How Many of the Group Members Are in Your Network? The green text at the bottom of each search result will give you the number of the group members that are also members of your LinkedIn network (in the form of connections). If you have a very targeted LinkedIn network, this number is a good indication if the group is on target for you.
- Does One Person Post All the Discussions? Once you join a group (or if an open group, when you look at the main discussions page) look to see if one or two members are monopolizing the conversations/discussions. If this is the case, I tend to leave the group and keep a note to circle back later. As a new member, it is hard to break through in a group where certain members are posting new discussions extremely frequently, so it is better to go with a group that has less competition.
- Explore “Similar”. If you find a group that is spot on using the criteria above, make sure to click on the green link at the bottom of the description that says “Similar”. This is a great way to discover harder-to-find groups that can be right on target for your marketing.
- Beware of Brand Groups. You will see that some groups have a brand name in their title, description and/or logo. While some are membership groups only for members of the company’s team, there are others that function as a normal group but have their members of staff marketing in it consistently. I try to avoid these as comments and discussions can be held in moderation and never be posted, making it extremely challenging to engage and connect with other group members.
- Open Groups are Good, But Can Be Spammy. There are many groups that you are immediately able to join without going through a vetting process with the group manager. While these Open Groups allow you to quickly join the conversation, make sure to look at the first page of discussion posts to see if they are mostly self-promotional or filled with job seekers. If you see this, I would leave the group (unless this is a market you are trying to target).
- Where Does the Group Manager Belong? This is a close second to using the “Similar” link under the group description. You will be able to see (sometimes before and sometimes after) who the group manager is. Click on their name, go to their profile and then scroll down to the bottom of their profile where there groups are listed. Go through their groups to see if there are other ones there that may benefit your business.
Now you should be able to properly and effectively choose a LinkedIn Group that fits your company’s targets and needs. It is up to you to generate good solid discussions, add to discussions and engage with other group members. But this is much easier when you are in the right spot and in front of an audience you are familiar with.
I’d like to invite you to join my own LinkedIn Group: feel free to ask any questions that you have! Click here to join!
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