How to Use LinkedIn Groups

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If you're running a business, doing service or working as a freelancer, you must be already familiar with LinkedIn. It's a popular platform for business professionals to connect and network with like-minded people across the world. Among tons of features, 'LinkedIn Groups' gives you a powerful way to not only connect with the right people, but also lets you establish yourself as an authority in your domain. We're going to discuss about how we can leverage this effective medium to get more out of it. If you already have a LinkedIn profile with good number of connections, you can get started with your new group quite easily as your existing contacts can quickly contribute within your group. So let's see what it takes to run a successful LinkedIn group and how you can benefit from it.

LinkedIn Groups

Creating a Open or Private Group

The very first step is creating a group focused around a topic that attracts peers, prospects and general connections. LinkedIn offers two types of groups that can be created by every registered member. Which one suits you depends on your exact requirements and what exactly you want to achieve through it.

Types of LinkedIn Groups

The first type of group that can be created is an 'Open Group' that offers more features and definitely has more benefits than the other one. The second one is a 'Closed & Private Group' that has limited capabilities when it comes to gaining more exposure and connections. Both groups have some common traits that are necessary for the basic functioning of the group.

Open Group - This popular alternative is used my majority of LinkedIn users. As the name implies, this group is visible to everyone on the platform and can be accessed by anybody. If you want a public discussion on a topic, open group is your best bet. Here are some of the features and benefits of creating an open group.
  • Visible to everyone - Anyone having a working LinkedIn account can see the discussions happening in an open group. He just needs to be logged in to view all discussion threads.
  • Search engine visibility - This is one of the huge advantages of creating an open LinkedIn group. All the discussion threads are indexed by search engines giving you the required exposure and traffic.
  • Built-in social sharing - You can share your group's discussions on popular social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. This sharing feature is tightly integrated within the group and you don't need any external plugins or tools to share your discussion threads.
  • Global contribution - Anyone having an active and valid LinkedIn account can contribute to an open group. Strong moderation controls lets you control who can post and who cannot.
Members-Only Group - You can also create a private group that is only visible to its members. These groups are generally created for confidential discussion about various topics among close connections on this platform. At a later stage, if you decide to change your private group into an open group, you can do so easily. All the private discussion threads remain invisible to the new members. Members-Only group's discussion threads are not indexed by search engines and it has no inbuilt social sharing feature. Contribution to such groups is only limited to members, who're invited either by the administrator or by other group members.

Use 'Manager's Choice' To Showcase Prime Content

This is one of the powerful features available to group owners and administrators. Group managers can select up to 10 most trending and constructive discussions, RSS feeds, updates within the group and can feature then in the manager's choice section. This helps you gain more visibility for the select content within the group.

LinkedIn manager's choice feature

Articles submitted by group members can also be included in this section and it entirely depends on the manager's choice what he wants to include and feature in this section. Groups with large number of active members have a rich 'Manager's Choice' section and the administrator regularly comes up with new updates and discussions that are trending within the group.

This section also helps in attracting new members as non-members can see the showcased content while visiting the group's page. It lets them get an idea about the quality and type of content a particular group generates. It is always advisable to update this section at least twice a month.

Use Polls to Get Vital Statistics Related To Your Niche

LinkedIn groups also support creation of polls both by managers and its users. All group members can cast their votes and can also leave comments. This is an ideal way to collect data related to a specific question.

It is also used by group members to find an answer to a question. While creating a poll, you can specify up to 5 options to choose from. Members can select one of the available options to cast their vote. Remember, group members can like as well as flag your poll as inappropriate. Make sure you're not asking an objectionable question or are not flooding members' stream with large number of polls.

Growing Group's Membership through Mass Invitations

When your LinkedIn group is relatively new with few members and handful of discussion threads, never try to send mass invitations to your contacts. There are 3 ways to grow your group's membership through invites. The first simple way is to invite your immediate connections on LinkedIn.

This is the easiest and the fastest way to increase your group's membership. The second option involves extending the invite privilege to other group members. As a group manager, you can enable group invite capability for existing group members. This can go viral if some of the influencing members start inviting their network. The last option should only be exercised when you have decent numbers of members in your group with lively discussions on a regular basis. You can upload a .CSV file of email addresses to send mass invitations for joining your LinkedIn group.

Moderate Your Group Smartly

From the very beginning, as an administrator you must take every care to keep your group clean from spammers and junk content. This involves approving new members, approving updates, checking spam or inappropriate content and checking flags from group members.

You can also assign the role of moderator to select and trusted group members once your group starts growing by leaps and bounds. This way you can divide the moderation tasks among several people easing the burden on yourself. While approving new members, make sure you visit their profile page to better assess their interests and current activities. From time to time, broadcast a generic message to all group members about your policy related to spam and inappropriate content.


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