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Creating a Successful LinkedIn Group (P1)

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Creating a Successful LinkedIn Group (P1)

Linkedin groups recently had a makeover. I currently manage a number of Groups including Social Media Ireland & Sales Leadership Ireland. In the post 50 ways to get more from Linkedin, I mentioned that creating a group is a really great way of using Linkedin to network effectively. Here are some pointers to get you started.

# Group Name, Logo & Description

Choose a name that clearly describes what the group is all about.

Create a colourful logo that stands out.

Choose a short concise description including what makes this group unique?

# Setting the Group Access Level

Open Access means faster growth with less control.
Request to Join probably means slower growth but with more control.

So which one should you choose?

Well it’s up to you but It’s perfectly OK to initially set this to open, and then change to RTJ once the group has gathered some momentum and members.

# Managing Group Templates

You can create a number of template e-mails in LinkedIn

  1. A Request to Join Message.
  2. A Welcome Message.
  3. A Decline Message.
  4. A Decline and Block Message.

I only use the first two – In the welcome message, It’s a good idea to include the following:

  • A welcome obviously and a little more detail about group.
  • A request to engage, contribute, make suggestions and give feedback.
  • Who you are and an option to connect.

# Group Discussions, Where to Start?

The discussions feature will be the engine room for your group, It’s the place where members will come to engage, ask questions & share Information.

2 of the first discussions I recommend you create are:

1. Guidelines

Many groups have now become polluted by people & messages that add no value, prevent this from happeing to your group by creating some rules that encourage people to engage in a meaningful way rather than self-promote.

2. Introductions

Allow members the opportnity to introduce themselves, their business & how they would like to benifit.

Ensure that these two discussions always remain featured (now called manager’s choice) so that new members can introduce themselves & familarise themselves with the rules.

Tune in next time for P2 🙂

Thank you for reading

Niall


Digital expert, top 10% influencer with over 10 years’ senior management experience - including managing projects and teams, and growing companies in the Irish, international and online marketplaces. Co-founded one of the largest B2B blogs in the world, helped grow a B2B social media to over 1,000,000 members, created the strategy for one of the most effective SME Facebook pages in the world and have grown 3 business websites (TweakYourBiz.com, BizSugar.com & MyKidsTime.ie) to in excess of a 100,000 unique visitors per month. Have consulted and worked with both corporate and SME clients on leveraging digital to drive business KPIs. Speaker at industry events, have authored several industry reports on the Digital Economy and appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Business Insider and other leading online and offline business publications. Specialities include: Entrepreneurship Business Development, Start-ups, Business Planning, Management, Training, Leadership, Sales Management, Sales, Sales Process, Coaching, Online Advertising, Blogging, Online Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Digital Marketing, Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media Strategist, Digital Strategy, Social Media ROI, User Generated Content, Social Customer Care. http://tweakyourbiz.com/

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  • Good one Niall. Thanks for sharing 🙂
    In terms of publishing news in a specific or many LinkedIn groups, I recommend that you go then and “follow” that article. The idea is that you get an instant notification as soon as someone makes a comment on your post on any given group. That way you can keep the conversation flowing immediately and make the group look much better 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Niall

    Useful info for those thinking about setting up a group …..

    I set up a Group “Measurability Careers & Jobs Club” about 8 months ago focused on offering career and jobseekers advice and discussion – currently have about 300 members.

    Below are a few points I have to add about LinkedIn Groups

    Groups don’t create themselves – Groups don’t set themselves up and require ongoing effort. The more you put in the more the group develops. I have noticed how some groups have faded when the owners take the foot of the accelerator.

    It is important to encourage participation – I find that there is a general shyness from users but after a few contributions to a group this shyness fades. “Introduce yourself to the group” discussion is a great ice breaker for users. Staying on top of the next point helps as it keeps content relevant and useful.

    Advertsing/Spam – There is limited advertising in my group except jobs and free career events. My stance is that members can bring attention to their product or service through the quality of their contributions and not blatant ads.

    Members – I like your point about access to a group Niall. My view is that I want to focus on quality and relevant members rather than quantity. For example I only invited about 30% of my connections when I set up picking out the relevant career and recruitment professionals I felt could add contribution and may get personal benefit. I prefer quality over size BUT others may argue this point.

    Look forward to the next episode 🙂

    Paul

    P.S – Are you going to cover benefits of setting up a LinkedIn Group? I think it would be a nice post to finish your series with.

  • Cheers Niall, simple and clear tips.

    Kevin

  • @Kevin, Thanks for reading.
    @Paul, great comments, I think that you are right about there being a general shyness & yes it’s very important that the manager ensures that people are not simply using the group to promote. I like your point about inviting selected contacts, try to only invite people with an interest in the area and therefore likely to bring value. As regards benefits Paul, yeah sure that’s a good idea so let’s do it 🙂
    @Fred Thanks man, it’s also important to respond to these comments where possible.

  • Facundo

    Agreed Paul, I have dropped out of many groups because of lack of “motion”. I totally understand it though, if somebody has a good intention in setting up a group but then just doesn’t manage to “make” time for it. It happens to me in other walks of biz and I’m starting to be more selective in what I get involved in 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for this post Niall. This is something I’ll certainly be looking into, as I’m keen to increase my network as I search for new job opportunities.

  • Great tips Niall and definately food for thought!
    I’m sure anyone considering managing a group will follow your tips and be extremely successful…I may be one of them!

    Tina

  • A great start Niall – thanks for sharing 🙂 Looking forward to P2

  • Thanks Elaine 😉

  • Sounds interesting! Keep me updated.

  • Cheers Frank! Want to have a chat during the week?

  • Anonymous

    Hi Niall. That would be great. I’m focusing on a deadline that will pass at the end of tomorrow, so I’ll be in touch later in the week.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for that Niall, can’t wait for part deux 🙂

  • Congrats!

    and whoever did the layout did a really great job!

  • Cheers Ivan. It was the Channelship team 🙂

  • One of the best ideas ever! I’ve enjoyed the e-book and probably I will share it on my blog soon! it really worth it!

  • Hi Hesham, glad you liked it! It would be absolutely great if you share it over at http://www.famousbloggers.net/ thank you, Niall

  • Thanks for the ebook..reading it now 🙂

  • Thanks Mani 🙂

  • Kathiecrane89

    Thanks Niall your a lifesaver !

  • My pleasure Rob, great article! Thanks for writing 🙂

  • My pleasure Tommy, that’s some great FB advice!

  • Its sad to hear Sian, but then everything in business is about reacting to the changing trends in the marketplace. In five years time, who knows what will happen – we could be selling on the moon!

    I would just like to say that there are many alternative option, but that having your own website is always a benefit. I also believe that if you are going to compete online, you should make the effort to build a professional looking site. This is especially important for online retail as trust is a deciding factor to whether you purchase or not.

    I agree that Ebay is a great way to start selling.

  • Great advice, Sian! I’d add that local businesses need to work together (Local Heroes is a super template) to become greater than the some of their parts, collaboration is the new competition 🙂    

  • Good idea Niall 

  • Thanks for the suggestion Tina – I completely agree a professional site is definitely worth it

  • Deirdre Wyvern

    I’ve said it elsewhere before but most businesses should have a fairly up-to-date website with the minimum of opening hours and phone number on it, that’s easily navigable by mobile, even if all you have is a Hairdressers or coffee shop, I regularly try to check whether or not somewhere is open when I’m heading for the city centre after work to plan a shopping route.

    Remember, as well, that what people call your shops location may not agree with the physical address of the shop, make sure people can find you, particularly if you have a few locations, how do you tell people how to find the shop? that makes it less impersonal to a browser, they make a personal connection to it, particularly if they’re emigrants.  Listen to customers or ask them how they notice/guide people to the shop.

    Have a history piece on your website, if your shop is old, all the better, if not, why not have a history of the location? Particularly if there was a similar shop and the reason you opened was because you had a personal connection with the site “when I realised that xyz sweet shop that I loved going to closed I had to open something, in respect of my memories of that shop, we make Love-Heart cupcakes (picture), many of our regulars love to share their memories as they pick up the cakes.”  This anchors the shop in people’s psyches.  

  • Thanks for the comment Deirdre – you have some great suggestions

  • I agree that every retailer should have an online shop, but I think the high street is far from doomed. Amazon are opening high street stores, Google is opening a high street store in Dublin, Apple have high street stores. On the face of those big names one could suggest that the opposite is happening – online is coming to a high street near you!

    Where I live in Kilcullen the high street is booming because there are some unique and beautiful shops – a butchers that has it’s own slaughter house and sells the best meat in Ireland, 2 or 3 artisan food shops, a baker, a vegetable shop, a haberdashery, a sweet shop, a boutique florist, a shoe repair shop, a few good eateries, and a saddlery. I can’t see any of those shops being put out of business by online (but I do think they should be online as well).On the other hand for reasons I don’t understand there are many villages in Ireland where you have a butcher that only sells 5 cuts of meat, a load of Spar type shops, a crusty looking coffee shop, and a petrol station. No wonder people go to Tesco or go online.

    Great article – I just think it should look at why the high street is losing out rather than assuming it is because online is inevitably going to dominate because it is intrinsically better – it is not – it is just an alternative or even a complimentary outlet. Crappy online stores will go out of business as fast as crappy offline stores!

    I do have a vested interest – http://theretailproject.com/

  • What a great post, Helen! Talk about making me see spreadsheets in a new light 🙂

  • Helen – you make me smile. I’ve too many horror stories to share:).  I realized some time ago the necessity to have my formulas checked – and then the input performed by those who love to work on spreadsheets and accounting software.  You have a great talent for this and I applaud you for it – as well as explaining in layman’s terms how to monitor otherwise simple errors.  Thanks.

  • Hi Lewis,
    You are reading the formula one way. Imagine if you wanted to add 20 and 15, and then multiply the result by 2? Basic mathematics and understanding the syntax of a formula would alert us to apply brackets to the aspect of the formula we wish to have calculated together ie. =(20+15)*2 this will return the correct answer of 70. However, if someone does not know or understand these simple principles, they will receive the incorrect result (50) and may not think to check it at all.

    This is such a common yet fundamental issue, I see it in training every day. Precedence in formulae needs to be taught, thankfully this is becoming less of a problem over time. You have hit the nail on the head “basic training should be required in every company…” the very ones to slip through the net are small business owners.

  • Thanks for your illustration and comments Elaine. Maths does indeed let a lot of people down. However, it should be noted almost all of the mistakes I have cited in my article were made in very large organistions by highly trained people. In fact, one of the mistakes was made by a person holding a degree in Maths and Computer Science and who is a trainer at expert level in MS Office Products including Excel.Scary isn’t it?~ Helen

  • Sian – every small business or start up should read this. I see so many businesses who spend a lot of money on different items and don’t collect receipts.

    A lot of great points here and I’ll definitely share this.

    Take care,
    Denise

  • Samantha Clooney

    Sian, I’ve shared this with every group I’m involved with!! It’s so important for people to see this! I totally agree on the office equipment!! It’s not always the best idea to go for the cheapest!! Oh I learned this the hard way!!!

  • Thanks Samantha – I’m so glad you’ve shared it with people and it will hopefully be a help

  • Thanks Denise for sharing and hope it helps some people. You won’t believe how many people forget to keep receipts. I personally look at them as money – the business expense and the vat back. Like throwing money away.

  • Thanks Elish. I have done a post on keeping accounts “tidy” for the accountant but can’t remember if in TYB or mine. I shall dig it out 🙂

  • I think Sian did one of those blogs somewhere 🙂 I did “Top 10 Tips for Managing Your Books” here last year http://tweakyourbiz.com/finance/2011/09/02/top-ten-tips-for-managing-your-books/

  • Nice practical post there Sian – the One-4-all cards are a great way of paying a small tax free bonus, I’d forgotten about that, thank you!
    ~ Helen

  • Here’s the one I did –
    http://tweakyourbiz.com/finance/2011/09/16/dont-delay-or-you-may-pay/ I also linked to yours, Helen, in my post as it’s really helpful

  • HI’
    Thanks for the info and nice picture.

    I will try that.




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