Are you a part of any LinkedIn groups? It’s ok if you aren’t, but you definitely should be, especially if you’re already marketing through other channels. What’s so great about LinkedIn groups? We’ll tell you!
This article discusses why LinkedIn groups are great for B2B companies, some best practices, and how to do LinkedIn group marketing the right way. It also discusses if you should create your own LinkedIn group, how to contribute to the correct groups, and track if you’re successful with LinkedIn groups marketing.
Why LinkedIn Groups Are Great for B2B Companies
LinkedIn groups haven’t had the best rep in the past. Why? The groups weren’t closely regulated, allowing for unhelpful spam and promotional advertisements to take over. However, because LinkedIn usage has grown so much, groups have grown (and changed for the better) along with it. Additionally, a shift occurred away from simply broadcasting marketing messages to engaging fans, towards community marketing. So instead of building large public pages, more businesses opt for closed niche communities.
You can also see some best practices to contribute as a member of a group, where self-promotion is discouraged. Now let’s take a look at some numbers:
The number of LinkedIn users has grown exponentially in the last ten years, going from 116 million users in 2011 to 756 million only in the first quarter of 2021. Out of those users, 61 million are senior-level influencers, while 65 million are senior decision-makers. This makes LinkedIn the place to go if you want to engage with high-level professionals, execs, and niche audiences.
With these numbers, it’s easy to see why LinkedIn groups aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon. They’re professional forums where members can exchange, share, and discuss information relating to a particular topic or industry. People who actively engage in groups get an average of four times as many profile views compared to other LinkedIn members.
Furthermore, people on LinkedIn are there to expand their professional network, increase their industry knowledge, and build their personal brand. That’s why this shift that occurred with social media usage toward closed communities allows LinkedIn groups to become a frontrunner for one of the best ways to engage your B2B audience.
Benefits of LinkedIn Groups
There are a lot of benefits to using LinkedIn groups:
- They help you build meaningful, authentic relationships – By engaging in groups, you get a chance to showcase your expertise in a particular topic. By providing valuable insights, you build relationships that can potentially result in new leads for your organization, or even a purchase.
- Filter through all the muck to come out clean on the other side – Ok, maybe a bit too much, but reaching your target audience isn’t as easy as it once was. People are constantly bombarded with ads everywhere they turn. To capture their attention becomes a challenge that can make or break your organization. But with LinkedIn groups, you know that the people you’re engaging with already have an interest in a particular topic or industry (helping you come out of it clean and alive). And it’s free!
- You can conduct market research on your ideal customer – Buyer personas, anyone? Traditionally, you would have to conduct industry research and customer interviews for these personas. LinkedIn groups, however, offer a sneak peek into the motivators, challenges, and interests of like-minded individuals. Use this information to either deepen your understanding of existing personas or develop a new one. You can also allow any insights gathered to guide your next piece of content.
- You get to expand the reach of your content – Marketers spend a lot of time on creating content, and we don’t want premium content to go to waste. LinkedIn groups act as an “in the right place, at the right time” moment, allowing you to use it as an additional channel to reach people with the information they want and need. Who knows, conversations may even spark new professional relationships for guest blogging or other outlets.
- You can become a thought leader in the industry – Position yourself as an expert in your niche to stand out from the crowd. Share relevant content, regularly engage with other group members, and answer questions to become a valuable member that others admire and trust.
Also, take a look at the personal experiences with LinkedIn groups from our Digital Tailors team members:
“If you find the right group with enough engagement, and provide great content, you can get consistently more reacts and comments than you would from an audience of 6K followers. Plus the comments can get pretty heated, driving further engagement for your post.” – Bogdan Minuț, Content Marketing Strategist.
“When you’re distributing a piece of content in different groups/communities, you’ll have better results if you adapt your message to each community. It’s a given, yet I still see people who spam groups by copying and pasting the same message everywhere. And for us marketing folks who are part of many groups and communities, it really puts us off when we receive 10+ notification messages from different groups for the same message. It’s difficult to trust that person/product when it seems they’re not investing enough time.
Adapting goes beyond slightly rephrasing your message so that it doesn’t sound the same – you have to think about the persona of that group. If you’re addressing business people, highlight the business benefits (like cost savings); if you’re addressing developers, you might want to highlight things like compatibility across devices and programming languages, and so on for each persona. Just like when you’re doing market segmentation.” – Alexandra Craciunescu, Content Marketer.
Best Practices – How to Do LinkedIn Groups Marketing the Right Way
To drive marketing on LinkedIn groups, you must first have (or be a part of) a group(s) relevant to your services, product, or industry, and everything else will follow. Below are some best practices to engage in LinkedIn groups:
- 1. Always engage with members – Simply posting content to a group is not enough. Find out what members need by continuously sparking meaningful conversations, answering questions, and interacting with members. You can learn how to start a conversation on LinkedIn groups here.
2. Acknowledge member effort – Thank members for their contributions with likes and comments, whether big or small. Encourage original members to do the same.
3. Recognize the experts – @ mention any members you feel contribute significantly or can add value to a conversation and ask them to weigh in with an opinion or insights.
4. Promote organic and paid marketing tactics – Not every post has to be accompanied by a creative asset. You can (re)share a third-party article relevant to your industry or your favorite @ mentions. Consider also running a poll or question to start conversations within your community.
5. Use unique messaging tactics – A concise, compelling, and relevant copy is all you need to capture your audience’s attention. First impressions matter!
6. Solicit feedback – Regularly check in with members to make sure the group remains intact and that they continue to find the topics of conversation relevant and valuable, and ask them what can be improved (there’s always room for improvement).
7. Be educational and don’t spam – This is extremely important because spam is why members leave! You’ll lose credibility fast with too many promotional messages. Information should always be helpful and relevant.
8. Know your audience – You may end up interacting with more groups at once, usually focused on similar topics of interest. Other members may be in the same groups as you, so the biggest mistake you can make is copy/paste the same message across all groups. This will make others lose trust in you.
9. Analyze, then change anything that’s not working – Always consider what’s working and what isn’t. If you get a lot of interaction within one group compared to another, focus more of your efforts on the one that offers more engagement opportunities.
10. “Start a conversation – Break the ice and ask the members what they think about your topic of choice: agree or disagree, what would they add or change, etc. Don’t start with super controversial topics, but rather go for sharable information.” – Ana Mihai, Social Media at Digital Tailors Agency.
Should you Create Your Own LinkedIn Group?
Whether or not you create your own LinkedIn group depends on you, your goals, the level of engagement you’re willing to put into it, and many other factors. Any LinkedIn member can create a group.
It may take a little bit of time to build up a group to offer you meaningful conversations and professional relationships for your B2B company. Also, it may be worth considering if there’s a need for the group you’re thinking of creating and if you’ve taken all the necessary steps before starting a group. Ask yourself:
- Are there already groups that exist which focus on this industry or topic? If yes, how many?
- Have I done my due diligence to review member profiles to get a small group of owners and managers together to keep the group active and relevant for all members in the absence of other admins?
- Am I contributing enough to any other groups I am involved in? Do I want more contributions?
- Who will join my group? Will I have enough experts to impart their knowledge and wisdom to other members?
- Can I commit to the quality that is required for a group? Can I create a regular schedule to get the conversations going, review and reply to new ones, as well as member requests?
If you’ve already answered these questions and wish to create a LinkedIn group, here are some additional best practices to follow when creating one.
How to Choose the Best Groups to Contribute to
We have briefly mentioned that it’s of the utmost importance to find groups relevant to your services, product, or industry. There are several ways to find relevant groups for you. You can:
- Set goals – Are you looking to connect with potential clients, learn more about your field, or establish your credentials or authority? One group may not fit all your needs. Figuring this out and setting goals is essential, especially if you’re new to groups. You can always branch out later.
- Conduct a search – Think about what you’re looking for, and be as specific as you can in your search. Broad searching will yield broad results. Start on the groups search page.
- Borrow whatever you need – You don’t have to stick with groups that your first and second connections belong to. Go to any person’s page you admire and respect and check out what groups they’re following. “Borrow” from them and try to join the groups that match your goals.
- You can join a few groups – You can be a member of up to 50 groups! Remember that some groups are members only, and you must first be accepted before you’re able to participate. These types of groups are more focused, but you can find public groups that stay on topic and are spam-free.
- Stay reasonably active – You don’t need to participate every day, but you should participate often. Otherwise, why are you joining the group? If you establish yourself as an authority, frequent participation is even more important.
- You may eventually consider creating a group – It’s crucial that you do this once you understand the ins and outs of groups and focus on how your group will stand out from the millions of groups on LinkedIn.
How to Track If You’re Successful with LinkedIn Groups Marketing
By measuring where you’re successful with LinkedIn groups marketing, you learn more about page traffic and activity, and it allows you generate new leads for your company.
You can measure the following KPIs:
- Rate of engagement – This is the number of times follower(s) clicked, commented on, shared, or liked your content. It applies to both organic posts and paid ads or campaigns. Engagement also takes into account the number of followers gained through paid campaigns. You’ll know what attracts your audience and what you need to do to get them more engaged through this.
- Website views – If the number of website or profile views is growing, so should your level of engagement and the quality of your content. You can use Google Analytics for this one or UTM Link Management Tool.
- Content shares and likes – With the ability to see which type of content people engage with more (by seeing the number of likes, shares, and comments), you’ll be able to phase out less popular topics and focus on the ones generating more attention.
- Types of followers and connections – What are your follower’s demographics or interests? Are your followers and connections potential business leads? This information is useful when you’re creating future content or implementing new LinkedIn marketing strategies.
- Number of connections – This one isn’t as accurate, but you can get some insights. Know who follows you and why. One connection can lead to multiple more connections. Engage with these followers and offer them information pertinent to them.
Finding a group that aligns with your ideas is a fun challenge, which ultimately acts as a powerful tool for generating leads. For LinkedIn groups marketing, don’t forget to be consistent and stay relevant. It’s also important to build trust and remain credible. Follow our list of best practices, and you’ll be well on your way to successful LinkedIn group conduct. Remember, LinkedIn is one of the best ways to engage your B2B audience by being the clear winner of generating leads.