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Top 10 Reasons To Start A LinkedIn Group

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LinkedIn BlogLinkedIn groups are by far the most powerful aspect of LinkedIn.  Hands down.

I have seen people build their entire business, market a number of products and services, sell out their paid events, and become thought leaders in their niche all around a single LinkedIn group.

Most people who have created groups on LinkedIn know the benefits. However, for those who have not created one yet, or don’t think it is valuable to do so, here are my top 10 reasons that you must start one today (before someone else beats you to it).

1.  Builds Thought Leadership

I have several LinkedIn groups.  One has more than 20,000 members, and around five of them have 5,000+ members.  Each group has (one of) my websites as the featured site for the group.  This is one of the first things people see when they join the group.  My name is also featured as the owner of the group.  Based off of perception alone, the owner is a thought leader for that groups niche (until proven otherwise).  The more you back this up with quality content, and positive group management, your community will support you and anoint you a leader in that niche.

2.  Connects A Thriving Community

People love to belong to a community, or a Tribe as Seth Godin puts it.  The more you are able to connect like-minded people together, the more they will appreciate you for doing so.  Create an opportunity for passionate people to come together because the leader that does this *usually* reaps the benefits.

3.  Drives Traffic To Your Site

Looking to drive traffic to your blog or company website?  Look no further, a LinkedIn group is a great way to do this.  Here are a few ways you can drive traffic to your site from your group:

  • Put your website link in the group profile
  • Add the site RSS feed to the News Section
  • Send a weekly message to you group, and include a niche related article from your site
  • Add your site in the group welcome message (more on this below)
  • Create a discussion and include your link

4.  Builds Personal Network

I get roughly 15-20 new invites to connect (as a 1st degree connection) every day.  Most of them come from my groups.  Why?  People love to connect with the community leader.  Since I run a number of “communities” within my LinkedIn groups, I am looked at as someone to connect with.  This is almost true for all group owners, they seem to rack up bonus points from starting the group, therefore having more connections than the average LinkedIn user.

5.  Sending Weekly Messages

linkedin

This may be the most powerful feature within the groups.  A great example is Robert Flemming, who runs the eMarketing Association group on LinkedIn.  It has almost 200,000 members.  Instead of having to spend thousands of dollars each year on email marketing you could simply create a group, and send them a weekly message for free.

The downside to this is you can’t brand your emails they way you could from a custom email marketing provider (affiliate link), but you can still do some damage in terms of getting your message out there to your members.

The upside, Robert has events with ticket prices of over $1,000 and he sells a ton of them because of his group.  His LinkedIn group helps him achieve his event marketing goals, and it doesn’t cost a dime.  Tough sell, eh?

6.  Create Auto-Responder Email

This is a no-brainer.  Who wants to send a message one-by-one to someone every time they join a group?  Not me, that would take hours of management time every week.  LinkedIn was wise enough to make this easy for the group managers by enabling a welcome message.  Every time someone joins, you can send your own automatic message that delivers to their email account (not their LinkedIn account, but their actual email provider).

This means that you can create a decent sales funnel by first welcoming people to the group, telling them a little about how the group can benefit them and where they can go to get more information.  Hopefully you have them sign up for your newsletter, or connect with you on other social networking sites.  This will help you generate sales in the long run… if you set it up correctly.

7.  Lead Generator

The more you give, the more you will receive.  Dr. Robert Cialdini talks to us about the proven power of reciprocity in his best selling book Influence, and it holds true within a LinkedIn group as well (on LinkedIn, or any other social networking site for that matter).

Connecting people, providing job leads, referrals, valuable content to help them achieve their goals: these are things that you can give to people, and by doing so they will give you an abundance of leads (or whatever it is you need in your business) in return.  It has happened to me, and a number of other group owners who are “doing it right”, and it will also happen for you.

8.  Creating Sub Groups

Want to target people in various locations around the world, or sub niches within a niche?  LinkedIn allows you to create up to 10 subgroups.  It’s a great way to throw events all around the country and only have to send a message out to the subgroup, as opposed to the entire group about a regional event.  Make sure you take advantage of this feature (in an ethical manner of course).

9.  Managing Content

If people are posting MLM type content, or someone is using foul language or attacking others in an unproductive way, you have the ability to remove individuals or delete inappropriate content.  Simple as that.  If it isn’t helping the community, you have the power to make it better.

10.  Helping Others

Ultimately, every good leader helps his team or community rise to the top.  I’m sure 99% of group owners have their own agenda when creating a group, but the more they focus on helping it’s members achieve their goals, that group owner will achieve their goals as well.  It feels good to have the opportunity to help others.  LinkedIn helps us everyday by letting us see how we are connected to one another, and allows us to build stronger, more meaningful relationships.  Let’s face it, business (and life) is about all about the relationships we have, right?

In closing, LinkedIn is a powerful platform to help you achieve your business goals, and the groups aspect is a vital part to helping you achieve those goals faster and in a more meaningful way.  Be willing to take some time to better understand them, as you may find a new way to help yourself, or others, by using them each day.

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43 comments
Mark_L
Mark_L

Hi Lewis, 


Very nice article but I wanted to ask you about "Add the site RSS feed to the News Section".

As I was looking in the Create Groups section & then I looked at groups I've already joined, I didn't see a "News" section.  Could you please elaborate?


Thanks!!!

MissLinda
MissLinda

Just checking building a group.I want more exposure for our no-ge pet boarding facility in Conroe,TX. How to I set up a group?And, any other suggestions that work for you to increase exposure on the net...Linda Almost Home Pet Retreat & doggie daycare. www.almosthomepetretreat.com

bjtaube
bjtaube

I'm getting ready to start a LinkedIn Group. Plus or minus, how much time should I be prepared to spend on its management per week to do it right?

Divorce Dating
Divorce Dating

LinkedIn is an exclusive place for professionals! Thanks for a very persuasive writing on establishing a group in your line of job.

Eric Schwalbe
Eric Schwalbe

Can LinkedIn groups petition for more than 10 subgroups? We have a use for a group with as many subgroups as craigslist for our individual markets.

RickPuaPila
RickPuaPila

To suggest that company websites will soon be inside Facebook is to suggest that you give the everyday operation of your business to someone you don’t know, you haven’t vetted and someone who has no accountability. How long do you think you’ll stay in business. Also, some of the biggest web companies have disappeared or faded into the woodwork. This can happen to Facebook. If Facebook craters or they decide to change their model, what will happen to your website. Don’t forget when Google changed their algorithm what happened to the page rank of thousands of websites and the negative impact it had on revenue generation for all those owners.

Build your website and make it the foundation or home base of your web thrust. Then use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and all the rest of them as outposts to spread your reach outwards.

 

 

 

URL: http://www.addvalue.com.au

RickPuaPila
RickPuaPila

Social Media sites like Facebook and Twitter and all the rest are being stormed upon by marketers who use the draw of 500 million users as an excuse to convince their clients that there is potential for increasing brand awareness and pushing out content to these poor unsuspecting potential customers. What should be happening is that companies should be spending their time listening to the pitter patter on the sites and trying to understand what the customers want as opposed to trying to push more stuff out at them. Let us agree that it is fairly simple to build a Facebook page, but remember that your website is the equivalent of the reception room in your company headquarters or the storefront of your retail business. Would you build a great billboard to bring clients to your uncompleted or your as yet not started storefront. Yes people will notice your Facebook page like they’ll notice the billboard and you’ll possibly get great online visibility. They’ll still want to visit your website to validate your existence and you’ll be non-existent.

 

 

 

URL: http://www.addvalue.com.au

Personal Items
Personal Items

With the dizzying number of social networking sites that have sprung up in recent years, trying to select the most worthwhile for your business can be a daunting task. However, there is one that stands out. Created in 2003, LinkedIn is the ONE social network that you, as an entrepreneur or business owner, should join. The goal for any business person joining LinkedIn is not to add friends and swap stories and pictures, but rather, to make new business connections.”

Personal Items
Personal Items

With profiles for over 135 million users and seven million companies, LinkedIn is a rapidly growing social network—adding as many as one new member every second, according to reports from Mashable, and considered the most important network by 60 percent of those tested in a recent social media study. Yet despite this continued growth, to a lot of businesses, the true value of LinkedIn as a corporate-focused social network seems unclear. Amongst popular networking tools like Facebook and Twitter, how does LinkedIn compare? Is it still worthwhile to invest time and resources into? Should your business be active on LinkedIn? And if so, why? What difference could it make?

To answer those questions, we took a look at what some social media thought leaders, various publications and other businesses have had to say about LinkedIn. Consider these opinions:

URL : http://www.addvalue.com.au

Jack Gordon
Jack Gordon

Hmmm, I don't think it's the martinis...I think it's all your amazing info that has my head spinning!

Jeremy Schneyer
Jeremy Schneyer

I second and third the question of "how to find members". I'm sure life is grand when you have a group with 23k members...but how did they get there? Of course I'm sure it helps to have a robust personal following, but barring that..

Bob Garrett
Bob Garrett

Got 10 and some that have thousands of members

Gareth Callaway
Gareth Callaway

Hi Lewis, I read your article on the Top 10 reasons to form a group but the biggest challenge in most groups it seems is that while the group creator formed it to engage a "community" or "Tribe" there are so many members that seem ot post their services or products for sale, it becomes like reading the classifieds. How do you stop this from happening.

Linda Ursin
Linda Ursin

Yes, I do. And I also have problems finding members.

RalphKooi
RalphKooi

I've followed your advice and set up a LinkedIn group a while ago

(http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Social-Media-Secrets-4071108) and it is truly a great tool to use.There are so many things you can do with LinkedIn that you can't with FB or Twitter.. I've started a LinkedIn Forum too.. and very curious to see what will happen with that.. (will be launching officially soon)

Anyway, see how we go :)

skooloflife
skooloflife

Just want to say thanks for your tips here. I just started a personal development and Lifestyle design bloggers linkedin Group, In 1 hour it's got about 20 members and I'm sure more will be joining left and right. I've found all your content here very useful and I've ranked on page 1 of linkedin for social media bloggger, and on page 5 for social media. Looking forward to digging through your archives even more.

BrandJournalism
BrandJournalism

OK Lewis... Took the plunge. Just started a Linkedin Group about a topic I've been doing for 30 years in all media: BRAND JOURNALISM. Thanks for the inspiration! Will be interested in seeing samples and discussions about the topic. If you or others are interested in checking it out, click below:

http://www.linkedin.com/e/-jixb5t-ghjiiyjh-q/vgh/3714045/

Thanks again!

Mike

Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog

How come your LinkedIn icon above and to the right is connected to your LI profile and not your group?

Sue
Sue

Good info. on Linked in Groups; what about company pages on LinkedIn? We are looking to manage our company profile better, and it's seems a bit mysterious what you can and can't do. Any tips articles available on this topic?

Laura Thornton
Laura Thornton

I'm constantly preaching to realtor's to create groups. What better way show your expertise in your niche area or neighborhood? I have learned so much from you in the last year. Great post!

Laura Thornton
Laura Thornton

I'm constantly preaching to realtor's to create groups. What better way show your expertise in your niche area or neighborhood? I have learned so much from you in the last year. Great post!

Dino White
Dino White

Again and again, I see the value one gains by having a strong presence on Linkedin and setting up groups there makes it even more advantageous to those who are focusing on getting their business or services ahead of the rest. Thanks again Lewis for all the information you have been providing on it and for being one of those thoughts leaders who is shinning the light for others to follow.

Dino White
Dino White

Again and again, I see the value one gains by having a strong presence on Linkedin and setting up groups there makes it even more advantageous to those who are focusing on getting their business or services ahead of the rest. Thanks again Lewis for all the information you have been providing on it and for being one of those thoughts leaders who is shinning the light for others to follow.

Sharon Reus
Sharon Reus

Good info, Lewis. I started the Self-Employed St. Louis group on LinkedIn last summer and it's steadily growing. We've kept it pretty much spam-free and I think it's up to the creator of the group to manage it, add relevant content and encourage members to participate. I see the value for both creators and participants.

deanholmes
deanholmes

Good stuff as usual Lewis. Stop Blogging and call me-we have webinars to do. :)

Mike Farley
Mike Farley

Once again, Lewis - great work. I have started a few groups within areas of my expertise and it's netting group members. The e-mail feature is one that's a no-brainer and continuing to provide an outlet for information that I love sharing is driving my own career to a higher level. Let me ask you this, however, when you use the e-mails that you have to drive a webinar you're interested to put on, do you worry that certain group members will balk?

Suzanna Aaring
Suzanna Aaring

Although I'm new to LinkedIN, I'm already stoked regarding its possibilities, and this article only confirms that I'm on the right track to a (relative) fast track, especially since our products are groundbreaking and new to the sports industry.

heathercoleman
heathercoleman

Absolutely fantastic, couldn't agree more. I posted this to my FB Fan page and Twittered it out - very important information.

Thanks!
@HeatherEColeman

nateriggs
nateriggs

Lewis - This is spot on and you've really outlined the benefits of how LinkedIn Groups can benefit founders. It's a great community marketing tool because it the platform gets allows the "Tribe" to communicate - and at the center of the conversation is the group administrator or leader.

More businesses should be doing this. The trick is finding the right niche and producing content that helps the community to get closer to their own goals. You have mastered it - and this post is a great outline as to how you got there.

Thanks for sharing great ideas and tactics!

quikness
quikness

I've started and also joined a number of groups and the value i've gained from the experience is virtually 0. Beyond finding a few (literally) decent contacts any group im part of is mostly full of day-old news and/or spam. Especially groups related to twitter. "how to get 100 followers in a day" "hi im on twitter, follow me, follow me, please!"

Perhaps its the space i am in but i've had to turn off email alerts for all the groups im part of.

Just my 2¢ ;-)

Jared O'Toole
Jared O'Toole

Great stuff Lewis! I have always been more focused on facebook fan pages then linkedin groups but you make some good points for getting a group going.

BradleyWill
BradleyWill

I was always wondering the pros an cons of starting a linkedin group. Rock solid post Lewis. Thanks!

bjtaube
bjtaube

@MissLinda  Hi Linda: Since I don't yet have my own group in place, I don't have tips to offer, but I'd like to stay in touch as we both get started -- to share ideas, progress, etc. Good luck! Betsy (aka, bjtaube)  

Eric Schwalbe
Eric Schwalbe

 @RalphKooi Hi Ralph, can you elaborate on the LinkedIn Forum you've started and how those operate differently than the 'groups'?

lewishowes
lewishowes

Mike, I try to make sure that the only time I promote something that it will pertain or help a majority of the members of the group and fits into the niche. There will always be some who don't appreciate what you do, as that is human nature. But as long as you continue to put out valuable relevant content, I think you are on the right path. Hope that answers your question. thanks!

lewishowes
lewishowes

LinkedIn is sexy Suzanna... there will be more content to come in the near future that will turn you on to LinkedIn even more :)

quikness
quikness

You are right, in the ones i run i havent provided much guidance or nurturing so i can certainly say i have gotten what i have put in. As for the spam, i know that there will always be people who immediately jump to self promote but i had higher hopes because Linked In is such a great resource.

I'll see what i can do with the groups im a member of.

Peace!

lewishowes
lewishowes

What have you done to build and manage your groups? You automatically get a weekly email update from the discussions in the group. If you don't want them, simply go to that group and check off that you don't want to receive any more emails, and you won't.

There are some groups where people post a lot of things that you mentioned, but if you create the group, give the members guidance as to what they should be posting, and add value to them, then you will see the benefits. Thanks for your comment though, they are valid points.

lewishowes
lewishowes

Thanks Jared, Fan pages definitely have their place, but IMHO LinkedIn groups are FAR more powerful! Obviously because of the points listed above, but I can honestly say I would not have such a profitable business or platform without my groups on LinkedIn... they are that strong!

Thanks for your comment my fellow young CEO :)

lewishowes
lewishowes

No problem Bradley. Someone with your community management skillz would thrive from owning a group on LinkdIn... you going to create one for Young Entrepreneurs Now before Jared does? ;)

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