I’ve written before about the importance of building a LinkedIn presence for your business. And that is because LinkedIn is primarily a professional network, where there are opportunities to build relationships and sales leads unavailable on other networks like Facebook or Twitter.
One way that you can help to build a community of peers and prospects for your company on LinkedIn is by creating and managing a group. If you aren’t familiar with them, LinkedIn Groups are a feature of LinkedIn related to users’ professions, industries or a shared interest. Within a group, members can start and participate in discussions.
How to start your LinkedIn group
Your company can start or sponsor a group, which can allow you to build long-lasting relationships with your customers and partners and demonstrate knowledge in areas that are important to them. By building a community around your firm or shared interest, you can also establish an exclusive and direct contact with group members. If there are important announcements from your firm or useful information that you want to share with your most loyal customers and partners, you can share that information first on your group and collect direct feedback.
Starting a group is easy, and LinkedIn many resources to help you create, manage and grow your LinkedIn group. You can also register for a monthly webinar from LinkedIn to learn more about effective strategies for running your group.
Tips for managing and building your LinkedIn group
In order to nurture engaging conversations among group members, try to post new discussions to the group regularly—perhaps once or more per week. Also think about posing the discussion topic in a way that will solicit responses from group members. You can do this by asking a question or encouraging members to share their own experiences.
Other best practices include:
- Completely fill out your group’s profile and include a recognizable image or badge for that group that members can be proud is displayed on their profile.
- Establish “rules of the road” for the group, including determining the type of conversations the group should be used for. For instance you may not want to allow group members to directly advertise their services.
- Once your group is ready, invite members of your network who you think would be interested in the group’s focus to join, and ask them to invite their colleagues and peers.
Here at Symantec, we have a LinkedIn group for our partners where we discuss promotions, upcoming webcasts and company and industry news. If you haven’t already, please join us on the Symantec Partners group! And don’t hesitate to share any advice or best practices you’ve found in using social media to connect with your peers and customers.
Find the complete Symantec Partner social media series.