Whether you are a recent graduate looking to find a leg up on the competitive job market, a seasoned social media professional looking to share some of your hard-earned experience, or a company looking to beef up your inbound marketing efforts, creating and managing a LinkedIn group can be an excellent tactic. It allows you to showcase your content, to connect with a large network of like-minded people, and it teaches you the value of community management. If done properly it can turn into the high-end job offer you were looking for, or even create the massive email list your business needs to succeed. However, what most of us fail to realize is the huge time commitment necessary to grow and manage a group with real, tangible outcomes. In a social media world that is constantly changing, staying on top of your game takes time. Here are five ways to optimize your LinkedIn group that will help you save valuable time and increase that ever-elusive organic growth rate.
Understand Exactly What Your LinkedIn Group Needs From You as a Manager
The best way for you to increase engagement and have people consistently posting within your group is to actually ASK THEM what they want and need from you. Do they need the group to act as a sounding board for ideas? Do they want it to be a place where they can always come to get the newest and best content of your subject? The reality is that you have an idea or hypothesis of the needs of your group members. But hey, why not actually ask them? Create a discussion post, or send around a message with a Survey Monkey attached. Do anything you can to verify your hypotheses and watch your group do the work for you!
Identify the Key Group Ambassadors
There are inevitably going to be a few group members that really get why the group exists and post really relevant, high-end content on a weekly basis. The best thing you can do as a manager is get to know these people and interact with them as much as you can. After a while send them a direct message and ask them to be a ‘Group Ambassador’. On Social Media Marketing Canada a ‘Group Ambassador’ is essentially a member who is scheduled to post out content on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. These members are already posting a lot and having them commit to a calendar date every few weeks will take a huge load off of your back as the manager, ensuring that fresh content is occurring every week. The key piece is to be picky about who you choose to take on the responsibility. You don’t want to increase spam on the group or have to worry about the quality of content. So choose wisely!
Create a Content Calendar
Having a pipeline and content calendar full of high-end member posts is going to take a huge load off of you as you now will have to post less and can focus more on commenting and scaling the group. At the beginning of each month write out when you are going to be sending out your group newsletter (if you aren’t using the newsletter tool you NEED TO BE), every member that has a scheduled post, when you are going to post, and any free giveaways or exclusive content that you want to have ready. The hardest part of this process is unquestionably going to be keeping your Group Ambassadors on track to post on the days that they have committed to. I suggest setting up an automatic email reminder a day or so before someone has agreed to post.
Reward and Recognize your Membership!
Your members want recognition for the work that they put into posting and commenting, especially if they absolutely nail it with a great post. Utilizing the manager’s pick of the week, sending personal direct messages thanking members for great posts or comments, posting positive comments yourself, and sending out exclusive content to high-end contributors are all tactics that you need to test out within the group. Simply recognizing someone for the time that they have put in will go a very long way, and is a quick way for you to dramatically increase engagement.
Use Social Media as a Hunter-Gatherer for the Group
This tactic can be as in-depth as you see fit, and for the most part, you get out what you put in. By identifying key centers of influence across various social media platforms, you can use shares, direct messages, hashtags, and @ mentions in order to attempt to bring these influencers back to your LinkedIn group. The end goal is to eventually get these influencers to posts links back to your group across their social media networks on a regular basis, getting a large amount of visibility to followers you otherwise would never have the chance to get in front of. It will also allow for some fantastic brand growth and recognition, validating the worth of the group.