• Using and Creating LinkedIn Groups For Small Business

LinkedIn groups present an opportunity to make new connections and promote your expertise by sharing ideas with a new audience. Not only can you grow business partnerships, but you can also reach out to potential customers and increase your business’s visibility. You don’t have to be a CEO of a huge company to join or create a group on LinkedIn. Here’s how to get involved with LinkedIn Groups for your business area in order to expand your business’s reach and grow your network.

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Joining LinkedIn Groups

To search for LinkedIn groups, click on the dropdown menu left of the search bar in Linkedin, scroll down to “groups” and type in a keyword for your industry. LinkedIn also makes suggestions for “Groups You May Like”. The feature is located through the navigation menu bar under “Groups”.

The types of groups you join also depend on your marketing objective. Try joining a combination of groups to test where you can garner the most attention for your business. You can join local groups, big industry groups, target market groups, or alumni groups. Here are some good LinkedIn Groups for small business owners.

You can also use LinkedIn groups to conduct market research. See what popular topics of discussion to help you create content for your social media marketing or look at the group statistics that LinkedIn provides for every group profile page.

What to Consider Before Joining a Group

Take a look at the groups on LinkedIn to see how you and your expertise will fit in. As yourself these questions before joining a LinkedIn Group:

  • Are the top influencers in the group credible?
  • Do the discussions involve questions and dialogue or are most posts on the wall spam?
  • Are there group rules? A lack of rules may indicate a poorly monitored group.
  • Are the group managers actively engaged?

Answer questions and join in on discussions to promote your expertise. Focus on nurturing your relationships by first offering advice and then redirecting them to your business’s webpage by posting a link from your blog instead of a hard sales pitch.

Here’s an example of the diverse selection of group you can join. Let’s say you sell handmade candies. If you want to stay up to date on what’s going on in the industry, you would join the “Candy Industry” LinkedIn group. If you want to find customers to sell to, join the “Candy Lovers” or “Retro Candy Lovers” group. If you want to expand your business, find business contacts in the “Candy & Snack Distributors/Wholesalers” group.

Create a LinkedIn Group

If you can’t find a LinkedIn Group to fit your needs, or think that you can bring value with a new group, create your own! Reap the benefits of LinkedIn groups by creating one yourself around a topic of your expertise.

Create a LinkedIn Group to help you:

  • Generate interest and raise the visibility of your business
  • Build your authority, credibility, and thought leadership
  • Allow you to share your own content and conduct research using LinkedIn Polls
  • Help you nurture relationships with your group members

Forming a group may have many benefits and although the steps to creating one may be simple, it takes time to monitor an engaged group. Don’t feel the pressure to create a group for your business. Joining in discussions and engaging with users in other groups is extremely beneficial as well.

Naming a LinkedIn Group

When choosing a name for your group, do not include your company’s name. LinkedIn users will be searching for industry keywords, not your company’s name when they are looking for discussion groups. Think of what you use for your keywords for local SEO and consider one of those keywords for the business name of your group.

Dive into the mindset of your perspective customer and consider what words or phrases they would be searching for. Your group description should include the name of your target market and your niche category. You have 140 characters to describe the purpose of your group and to attract your target audience.

Include relevant buzzwords and be clear about your group’s purpose. Manage your group by screening new members and member discussion posts to prevent your group wall from getting spammed.

Running the LinkedIn Group

Position yourself as the leader of the group. Lead your group by being actively engaged. Posting weekly discussions, questions and comment on existing discussions. LinkedIn also offers an email broadcast tool for group managers. The tool provides you with a free and easy method of sending emails to your group members once a week. It creates a great opportunity to share content, ask your members to download an eBook, or even invite them to a webinar.

Have you joined or created a LinkedIn Group? Let us know you’ve used groups in the comments below!

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