If you are managing a community, especially a B2B or professional community, you need to make your community friendly and available to LinkedIn members. LinkedIn is becoming the de facto social networking site where people maintain their online ‘resume’ and having a LinkedIn Group is a community best practice.
Adding and maintaining a LinkedIn Group is pretty simple and low maintenance. Plus, LinkedIn Groups are a great way to make your communities “stickier”. If you can get someone to join the community and your LinkedIn Group, then it is highly likely that this is a member who really supports you community and will be around for the long haul. Members can also use the group feature to connect with other LinkedIn members who are not in their network. In that way, the group ‘badge’ acts as a pre-qualification for vouching for a contact. Since the LinkedIn Group is listed in the Group Director, it is also a great way to drive additional traffic to the community website.
During the 18 months I managed the Catalyze community, about 1/3rd of our community members also joined the LinkedIn Group. I don’t know if this is above or below average, but I was pleased with that level of commitment and popularity.
How to get started with LinkedIn Groups:
- Go to LinkedIn Create a Group page
- Upload a large (100×50 pixel) and small (60×30 pixel) logo — This is probably the hardest part of creating a group as you have to scale your community logo to these exact width specifications. I use SnagIt to create JPGs which I would highly recommend if you are doing this on your own.
- Fill out the group information
- Wait for confirmation that your group is active
And here is how the LinkedIn Groups will appear in your profile:
When your group is activated (it takes a couple of days to get approved), you get a group URL that you can use to direct members to so they can add the group to their individual profile.
You should also include the link on the About page of your community. I also included the link in my bi-weekly email updates.
I set up my LinkedIn Group to require me to manually approve all members which allowed me to make sure that LinkedIn members who were not affiliated with my community were included. I found that there are a lot of recruitors and LinkdIn badge collectors who would try to hone in on our community group. Checking and approving members took me about 5-10 minutes several times per week.
With LinkedIn Groups, a list of all members and their emails is also available for download to the person with adminstrator or manager rights. You could use this list to supplement your community email marketing efforts or provide the LinkedIn members with special offers.
I am interested in your experiences with LinkedIn Groups. Add a comment below about how LinkedIn Groups is working for you.