LinkedIn Marketing: Keep it Engaging and Active
LinkedIn is a unique animal in the greater sphere of social media platforms. Apart from its unique status of being one of the first social platforms to launch that is still going strong today, LinkedIn also brings to the table its own singular business-to-business focus. This can make using LinkedIn for marketing especially challenging and especially productive, depending on how familiar you are with the platform’s tools.
To ensure your LinkedIn marketing results pay off, use the expert tips here to learn how to create and share the most engaging and relevant content.
Treat Your LinkedIn Profile Like Your Launching Pad
Just as the NASA shuttle needs a launch pad to achieve lift-off, so too do you need a profile page to ensure your LinkedIn marketing efforts are productive. Here, what many marketers do not realize is that their personal profile page represents the starting line, not the finish line. Your profile page is what gives you access to LinkedIn’s other rich marketing tools.
So if you haven’t yet created your LinkedIn profile page, or it has been some time since you’ve updated your page, this is where you need to start.
Joining (or Starting) a LinkedIn Group
LinkedIn groups are one of the best all-around networking tools the social platform has to offer. Ideally, you would join relevant groups and also create your own group to attract influencers with similar interests.
Here is how to get started with LinkedIn groups:
– First, Join Relevant Groups: Joining relevant groups is easy. Just use the search browser bar (center, top of LinkedIn screen) to type in a topic or keyword. Then click on the down arrow just to the left of the browser bar to select “Groups.” Then click “Enter.” This will bring up a list of relevant LinkedIn groups. You can then click on any group to learn more and join.
– Next, Start Your Own Group: Here, think carefully about the topic and goal of starting your LinkedIn group. When you are finished brainstorming, navigate to your personal page and click on “Interests.” Then click on “Groups.” Next, click on “My Groups.” Finally, click on “Create Group” and follow the prompts to create your new group.
Participating in Other Users’ Groups
While the basic protocols for participating in groups founded by other LinkedIn users and for running your own LinkedIn group are basically identical, you will have less authority when you are participating in someone else’s group. This makes it essential to learn the social niceties that govern LinkedIn groups before diving in.
Here are some tips to keep your participation in other creators’ groups both productive and effective:
– Choose Just One or Two Groups to Join at First. It will take time and effort to connect and build relationships in any LinkedIn group, so don’t spread yourself too thin. Pick one group and get to know the ropes before branching out.
– Adjust Your Notification Settings for Each Group. This will alert you to new posts and comments to your posts so you can participate effectively.
– Discuss, Discuss, Discuss! If no one in the group is discussing anything, you can take the lead and post a discussion topic or resurrect an older one. The only way to network effectively within a LinkedIn group is discussions, so if the group isn’t very active, you may want to leave and seek another one with more activity.
– Create New Connections. If you find the conversations and topics generated by another LinkedIn user to be particularly intriguing, you can respond as a way to begin to build rapport. LinkedIn groups are a great way to facilitate these new connections with colleagues with whom you may not have a direct social existing link.
– Promote With Great Care. LinkedIn has become ever more vigilant about cutting down on overt self-promotion, including self-serving links to outside sites and content and one-sided “conversations” within groups. Outside of keeping your personal profile page up to date, the opportunities to market yourself or your brand/product/service within LinkedIn are limited to linking your social media and blog RSS feeds to your profile. If you know this going in, you are at much less risk of making a social faux pas that could endanger the usefulness of your newfound networking connections.
Running Your Own Active LinkedIn Group
You will have slightly more leeway in every aspect when you are the creator of your own LinkedIn group. However, at this point, the sole burden will fall on you to keep your group lively, engaging, productive and active. This can be harder than it sounds! LinkedIn has thousands of groups and all are competing for the same success.
Here are some useful guidelines from LinkedIn experts to help you develop a productive, engaging group that serves all members well:
– Set Up Your Group Parameters for Success. First, set your parameters so you have the best chance of attracting new members. An “open” group will be the easiest group type to build, but you will have less control over new member approval. If you do want to set up an approval-based process, use LinkedIn’s time-saving auto responder tool to issue acceptances and outline the group’s moderation rules.
– Set Up a Specific Place for Self-Promotion. If your group includes one specific location where members can self-promote, this will help to keep the main discussions focused and useful to all.
–Create a Community Atmosphere. When everyone is on the same page about the group’s purpose and guidelines, open and honest discussions about even controversial topics become much more likely.
By understanding how LinkedIn can serve as a valuable marketing and networking tool, you can use your available marketing hours well by joining and starting productive groups and keeping your personal profile page chock-full of your own latest news!