Especially for B2B companies, becoming active on LinkedIn, is a critical step in your online marketing campaign. According to Forbes,
Creating a LinkedIn profile is just scratching the surface of the B2B social networking platform’s potential; LinkedIn has become an essential networking and marketing tool for business professionals
In other words, don’t just sit back and wait for leads to come pouring in after that. There are lots of ways you can get involved on LinkedIn, and if you know which groups to join and how to use them, they can be a gold mine of exposure and leads.
Table of Contents
1. LinkedIn Pages and Profiles are Only Step One
Let’s start with your profile or business page. Hopefully, you’ve taken the time to set both up and you post frequently on both. If you’re not even using the pages you’ve already created, it’s not likely you’ll take the time to put your groups to use either. Additionally, when you post on your profile or page, you have the option to also post to your groups, so why wouldn’t you kill several birds with one stone if it’s just that easy?
Every time you post on your page or profile, select groups you think would also be interested in that post and increase your marketing exposure exponentially.
2. Start with Relevant Industry Groups for Expert Connections
You’re probably already a part of groups with keywords tied to your industry. If not, join them now. Jason DeMers explains that you can “begin joining LinkedIn groups by going to the search bar at the top of your LinkedIn page, typing in an industry name or topic, then selecting “Groups” from the dropdown menu on the left side of the search bar. For example, if you’re a marketing expert, you can use LinkedIn’s top search bar to look for all the groups related to obvious marketing terms like social media marketing, internet marketing, advertising, etc. With such broad search terms, you’ll likely find hundreds of related groups. You don’t need to join them all to get exposure either. In fact, it’s better to look for more focused groups because it’s easier to understand what those group members are looking for. For example, you might look for:
- Industry groups within Your State: These people will likely be more locally focused, which means they’ll be looking for locals with that expertise when browsing posts.
- Sub Industry Groups: By breaking your industry into its smaller parts, i.e. social media marketing might become social media marketing tools, you’ll know exactly what topic to bring up in the next discussion.
- Industry Professionals: Searching for a group tailored to your specific profession can get you in the door for expos, industry awards, and lots of helpful advice forums that will further your industry knowledge.
Once you’re a part of all those great industry-specific groups, they become a sort of recognition list. Much like belonging to boards and receiving certifications, this can be a valuable part of your resume when new professionals are looking for a connection in your industry. In other words, they’ll see who you know and what you know all within that one list.
3. Broaden Your Group Search to Customer-Specific Interests
Industry groups are only the first layer of groups you’ll want to join though. Your competitors, mentors, and industry fans will likely be a part of those groups, but your customers won’t. If you want to post in groups where potential customers are posting, you need to think about their industries. Once again using that handy search bar, look for the following:
- Groups Related to Large Industries: If you’d like to attract some clientele from a particular industry, let’s say the legal field, then look for groups related to those fields just like you would your own. Go for the more general groups in this case for more exposure.
- Groups for Professionals in Your Area: Again, going local is a big plus right now. There are plenty of groups designed for any type of professional as long as they are in a particular area. If they’re joining local groups, it’s highly likely they’ll be looking for local talent when they have a need.
- Special Interest Groups: If you really want to go where your competition isn’t, consider looking for interest groups not related to business, entertainment news or innovative ideas for example. People are more likely to pay attention to these posts since they represent leisure rather than work. Just make sure your posts are highly relevant when sharing to these discussions or you’ll get booted before you have a chance to make any new connections.
- Connection Groups: If you still need ideas for groups to join, consider browsing through your customer connections to find out what groups they’re a part of. If they connected with you and became your customer as a result of their interests and needs, you might find people with similar interests and needs in their groups. Since you’ve already been successful with them, why not market to more people within that demographic?
Using first industry-specific and then customer-specific group joining strategies, you should be able to gain quite a lot of exposure.
4. Matching the Right Posts with Relevant Groups
When you first join a group, you’ll need to establish a presence, and this initial presence should be a humble one. That means first listening to what others have to say, responding to their posts, and if they’re big enough, following them. This way, you’re not immediately seen as an advertiser there only to recruit customers. This is imperative since you should be learning from these great sources in order to better understand your demographic anyway. This show you’re willing to start a relationship instead of simply using them as your personal sounding board.
5. Respond, React, and Reuse Those Comments and Strategies
When auto-posting or simply posting to a large number of groups, it’s easy to lose track of responses. Unfortunately for most businesses, this is where they really fall short, and it’s the last layer in a great LinkedIn strategy. Here, LinkedIn automation tools can help you keep your best LinkedIn automation tools in good shape. According to Dave Kerpen on Inc.com,
60 percent of brands–mostly big ones–currently do not answer customers or prospects on Twitter, Facebook, or other social media. As a result, you have a huge competitive advantage if you respond to your customers–and theirs.
Of course, this mostly applies to big corporations, but still, this is a huge advantage for small businesses like yours. Go back to your posts to see if anyone commented (you should get notifications for this), and then be sure to respond. If you see other company commentators getting ignored, it’s OK for you to respond to their comments as well. Hey, if they’re not going to do it, you might as well take advantage of that poor potential connection who got snubbed by the big brand!
Finally, if you notice a particular post or comment from another company that gets a lot of comments, likes, and shares, take note. There’s a reason it did that well, and there’s no reason you can’t create the same type of post and share it with other groups. This is the advantage of being small, flexible, and involved in all the right groups on LinkedIn!