[intro]The LinkedIn group Social Media Marketing Canada (SMMC) was born in January of 2011 when we set out to create the #1 go-to destination for discussions related to social media news, advice, and trends in Canada. Creating this space meant providing an excellent place to connect Canadian marketing professionals with one another as well as giving us a public forum to answer the overwhelming amount of social media questions that were pouring in from potential clients (win-win!). Since then, the group has had an incredible response and has been recognized nationally by Backbone magazine and even LinkedIn’s marketing team itself (win-win-win!). However, more recently we discovered that although SMMC’s membership was increasing the amount and quality of discussions within the group could stand to be improved dramatically.
We undertook a project to re-vamp SMMC, making sure that the community delivers the most value to Canadian marketers possible. Increasing engagement was a top priority in obtaining a “very active” group label to support our subsequent plans to grow the membership base. With a five-fold increase in engagement, our efforts have certainly paid off and today we want to share the story with all of you in hopes that other online communities can benefit from it.
We began by researching successful LinkedIn group case studies as well as our existing and target markets to develop a strategic plan and positioning for SMMC. With a solid vision for the group, we then crafted a more detailed implementation plan for daily posting. We found that by offering Canadian-oriented content we could provide unique value to our members, which has been proven to be pivotal to community success. Talking to SMMC’s top seven contributors as well as randomly polling 100 group members also helped us set the right direction for the group. And what direction was that? The one our members wanted of course!
Thanks to both the great examples set by other LinkedIn communities as well as the invaluable feedback from our own SMMC community, we’re now in the process of re-launching the group under a brand new strategy:
- Introducing expert nation-wide contributors – Part of delivering more Canadian-specific content is also ensuring that this content and the group itself are relevant to the entire Canadian market—not just British Columbia and Ontario Introducing influential social media marketing professionals from across the country as official contributors will make SMMC more representative of Canada as a whole. For example, we’re excited to introduce Joseph Ranseth, Nancy Bain, and Harley Rivet as the Manitoba, Nova Scotia, and Saskatchewan SMMC expert contributors, respectively. All are well versed in social media, have a following of more than 1000 on Twitter, and will offer a regular dose of social media expertise from across the Canadian market.
- Utilizing additional social platforms – Expanding our reach outside of the immediate LinkedIn community to our new Twitter account @SocialMediaCAD will not only help spread the word about SMMC, but also provide teasers of SMMC content in the quick-to-digest format that many of our members already love.
- Delivering information in quick-to-digest formats – We know our SMMC members’ time is valuable and full articles can be too lengthy to consume some of the time. To ensure our busier members can still have an active presence in the group we’re incorporating LinkedIn polls like “How do you ensure your Facebook fans stay engaged?” and comments for those that want their voice heard between meetings and emails.
- Implementing a plan and source list for content deliverables – Having a schedule and reliable resources in place for sourcing and delivering the freshest social media marketing content has helped us foster some incredible discussion and engagement—the kind the makes you the industry go-to destination!
- Attracting new members through targeting and incentives – And lastly, now that we’ve got SMMC buzzing, it’s time to grow our member base. A personal referral program that involves personally inviting marketing professionals as well as great incentives like discounts to social media events will help spread the word about SMMC nation-wide.
As all aspects of the new SMMC strategy are rolled out, we’ll keep you posted! With the quadrupling of engagement, we’re really excited about the group’s headway and the great feedback we’ve received from both new and existing members. Feel free to take a peek at SMMC and let us know what you think. Would it be your go-to destination for discussing Canadian social media marketing news, advice, and trends? We really want to make it the best it can be and your feedback is welcomed.