Six Ways to Grow a LinkedIn Group: Tips From the Pros

social media how toAre you part of a LinkedIn group that has stalled?

Do you want to create a LinkedIn group?

LinkedIn groups can be a great way to network with your customers, peers and other professionals in your industry.

But it can be challenging to grow your group and get the people you want to join and participate in the discussions.

We asked the pros to share their best tips to grow your LinkedIn groups.

Follow these tips and you’ll find it easier to create the type of community you’re looking for.

#1: Use Email to Send Invitations That Convert

viveka von rosen

Viveka Von Rosen

You’ll need to send out invitations to get your contacts to join your LinkedIn group and LinkedIn has a form for you to do this.

The default LinkedIn message that’s sent when you fill out the form below is: “Subject: Name invites you to join Group” and “Welcome Message: I would like to invite you to join my group on LinkedIn.” Unfortunately this has about 1% chance of getting someone to your group.

linkedin tweetchat participants

Standard LinkedIn group invitations can be boring. (Note the link field at the bottom gives you the link to your group. Copy this and create a custom URL for your group to use in your email invitations.)

Let’s face it. There’s enough noise out there. If you want to get someone to join your group, you need to give them a good reason. Instead of using the standard LinkedIn invitation, use email to craft the kind of message that will get your contacts to join your LinkedIn group.

In my opinion, the person who does this best is Jill Konrath. She has created a beautifully branded email that she sends out to her email list. It not only shares the link, but some of the reasons you might want to join her group, Fresh Sales Strategies.

linkedin group 2

Jill Konrath's well-branded email gives you reasons to join her group.

Let’s take a look at how this works.

Use email to invite your prospective members. This allows you to expand beyond your LinkedIn network. For those of you who only want to invite your LinkedIn connections, you’ll want to create an external contact list:

But why would you limit it to just your LinkedIn members? Invite your whole mailing list if relevant!

Brand your email with your website and LinkedIn group branding. Be sure to use a clear call to action, such as “Join Now.”

Lead with the WIIFM (What’s in it for me?). Be very clear on what your group has to offer. What are the benefits to the user? Tell your contacts what they’ll get by joining your LinkedIn group and make sure this aligns with your business’s marketing message.

LinkedIn group URLs are not easy to remember. Create a customized group URL (http://Bit.ly/join-the-group) that’s easy to use and remember and use this in your email invitations.

Send a simple, elegant invitation via email to relevant lists and you’re sure to see your LinkedIn group grow in size.

Viveka Von Rosen, author of LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day and is known internationally as the “LinkedIn Expert.”

#2: Set Up an Auto-Send Email to New Members

mike delgado

Mike Delgado

One of the keys to help you grow a successful LinkedIn group is to get new members engaged with you and your community quickly.

You can jump-start the engagement process by auto-sending an email asking new members to make a quick introduction to everyone. Make it really simple to do this and provide a link that goes right to your LinkedIn group URL.

Setting up an auto-send email for new members is very easy. Once logged into your group, click on the “Manage” link at the top, then click on the “Templates” link on the left sidebar. Make sure the Auto-send box is checked and click on Edit Template to compose your message.

auto send edit template

It's easy to set up an auto-send email for new members.

Remember to keep your message quick and easy to read, with a URL to drive them to your group.

Here’s a simple template you could use to encourage new members to start engaging.

welcome message

Use a simple template to get new members to engage.

Another tip to boost engagement with members is to make sure you connect with them after they’ve joined your LinkedIn group. This will ensure you can engage with them in the LinkedIn stream too.

Mike Delgado, author of circled.us and the social media community manager at Experian.

#3: Set Up a Regular Email Plan

kristi hines

Kristi Hines

If you want a successful group on LinkedIn that benefits your business, then be sure to take advantage of the ability to email members.

Remember that you can email your members once a week using the Send Announcement option. Give these emails thought and turn your LinkedIn group members into leads for your business. For example, you might want to offer free content downloads and webinars related to the theme of your group on a regular basis.

subscribe via email

Customize your email message before you send it to new members. Image source: iStockphoto

If your group is open to the public, include a line in your welcome email and regular announcements and ask members to spread the word about the group to help it to grow. You can even include a tweet for people to share by using ClickToTweet to create a custom tweet that members can share with their followers that includes a link to your group.

Kristi Hines, freelance writer, ghostwriter and author of Kikolani.

#4: Focus on Creating Discussions

linda coles

Linda Coles

It’s not as easy to build a LinkedIn group as it is to build a Facebook Page. LinkedIn is used as a business tool and so is probably mainly used during work hours. Facebook is a form of entertainment and is used at all hours. The messages you receive from both of these platforms are very different.

Without the availability of cute inspirational picture quotes, your LinkedIn group content needs to be both useful and worthy of a discussion. So how do you know what will work and what won’t? The answer is trial and error—but very often it’s just the simple things that get the most traction.

Try to talk about something that will resonate with your audience or pull on an emotional string in some way. Members may have had an experience of a similar nature to share. People love to tell their own stories and others like to listen.

question marks with speech bubbles

Share discussion topics that resonate with your audience and spark conversation. Image source: iStockphoto

Remember also that not everyone in the group will click Like or leave a comment. There are also the voyeurs who are watching, listening and learning from those who are taking part. Just like your blog visitors, very few actually commit to take action, but they are there just the same, so keep posting!

Focus on creating discussions and members will want to come back and participate.

Linda Coles, founder of Blue Banana.

#5: Go Niche!

stephanie sammons

Stephanie Sammons

When you build a LinkedIn group, it can create a number of benefits for your company. For example, a LinkedIn group can position your company as an industry leader and also serve as a pipeline of potential leads for your business.

My best tip for building a successful LinkedIn group is to go niche. When you focus on a specific target audience for your LinkedIn group, magical things can happen.

As the old saying goes, “birds of a feather flock together.” Chances are, the members of your target market are already connected to people who are just like them on LinkedIn and other social networks.

target audience

Focus on a specific target audience and encourage connections among them. Image source: iStockphoto

As they join your group, their connections have the potential to see this activity, which is essentially a peer endorsement of your group. Additionally, you can enlist industry influencers to become advocates for your group.

These group advocates can help recruit members using their online influence, and they can also serve as discussion leaders to engage your members.

A more obvious benefit of focusing on a niche target market is that they’re likely to have similar needs and goals. You can create engaging discussions within your group that will increase participation when you focus on the needs, questions, concerns and issues that your members are collectively facing.

It’s much easier to come up with discussion ideas and content to share inside of your group when you understand the needs, issues and concerns of your specific target market!

When you focus on a specific niche for building your LinkedIn group, you can run targeted ads to promote your group within LinkedIn. For example, if you were targeting “financial advisors” for your LinkedIn group, you can run promotional ads within LinkedIn that target the job title “financial advisor” to get your group promotion ads in front of the right LinkedIn members.

Building a high-quality LinkedIn group is a long-term process and requires hands-on management, but you will get there much more quickly if you go niche with your LinkedIn group building efforts!

Stephanie Sammons, founder and CEO of Wired Advisor.

#6: Select the Right Name for Your LinkedIn Group

melonie dodaro

Melonie Dodaro

It’s important to choose the right name for your LinkedIn group. The name you choose can have an impact on how easy it is for others to find your group.

Before you decide on the name for your LinkedIn group, identify your goal for setting up a group. For example, are you looking to create a networking group for people within your industry or do you want to create a group for your ideal clients? Determining your goal is essential in ensuring that you select the right name for your group.

You’ll want to make sure the name you select targets the specific people you’re looking to attract. If you want to attract people from a specific geographic area, include the name of the city or area in your group name. For example, if your target market is businesspeople in San Diego, you may want to name your group San Diego Business Networking Group. It’s also important to have a custom logo made for your group to ensure it looks professional.

linkedin group logo

It's important to have a custom logo for your group.

Select a name with the keywords that people would use when searching for groups on LinkedIn. This will ensure your group shows up in the search results. By doing this, you’ll see a lot more organic growth for your group.

Melonie Dodaro is recognized as Canada’s #1 LinkedIn expert and is the founder of Top Dog Social Media, a company that helps businesses leverage the power of social media.

Social Media Marketing Networking Club

Social Media Examiner hosts the Social Media Marketing Networking Club on LinkedIn.

This is a LinkedIn group for marketers and business owners to network, learn and make connections. You’ll find discussions around the best ways to use social media tools to help your business.

We’ll strive to provide a safe environment where everyone is welcome to interact without spam, harassment, inflammatory or obscene remarks, prejudice or other nonsense. Join our LinkedIn group.

What do you think? Have you tried any of these tips above? Have you got any LinkedIn group tips you’d like to share? Please share your comments below.

Images from iStockPhoto.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author, Cindy King

Cindy King is the director of editorial for Social Media Examiner. She spent 25 years abroad in international business development and then built her own international business from scratch by using social business networking. Other posts by »




More Info
  • Sarah

    Great advice and helpful content Sue! A sort of mini course in an article. Am looking to start a group myself to help budding authors get published.
    I think the main problem with LinkedIn groups is rising above the “noise” of all the competition.
    Your advice that it takes time and should be seen as a long term strategy rather than a quick buck approach is crucial.
    It should also be something that the group organiser commits to contributing to on a weekly basis. If it is worthwhile then participants will grow it organically themselves.

    Once again , thank you for this advice

    Sarah

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Thank you for sharing, Sarah! Good luck with your new LinkedIn Group!

  • http://www.stephaniesammons.com/ Stephanie Sammons

    Great roundup Cindy! Thanks for having me participate.

  • http://theclosetgeek.net/ Barry Ricks

    Thanks for all the tips. I think people have too broad of audience that they are always wanting to reach everyone. It’s great to want to be “jacks of all trades” but let’s find our niche and become a Master in something.

  • Melonie Dodaro

    You did a great job Cindy putting these tips together on growing a LinkedIn group. Thanks for including me in this.

  • http://sproutsocial.com/features/social-media-engagement Sarah @ Sprout Social

    Great roundup of advice for effectively managing a LinkedIn group, Cindy. Another tip I would add is encourage group members to have conversations rather than just posting content without much context. I think the best groups are likeminded professionals having meaningful discussions on industry news. And I would definitely recommend the Social Media Marketing Networking Club! It’s exactly that. Quality over quantity.

  • EmilyQuestions

    Great tips from all the experts, Cindy! Makes it easy to start!

  • Shelley Roth

    excellent read!

  • James Filbird

    Very nice blog post here Sue. It’s well stated and easy to read with nice visual content to lead the reader through all the necessary steps to establishing and/or growing a LinkedIn group.

  • AmandahBlackwell

    One LinkedIn group tip is to watch the amount of spam that is posted in groups and/or sent to group members. All of us want to sell our products and/or services; however, spamming and constantly promoting is not the answer. There’s promoting you and your company, and then there’s promoting you and your company to the umpteenth power.

    Another tip is to remind members to be respectful of others. This is sad, but necessary. All of us have different business and life experiences. Share your thoughts, but don’t attack someone for not agreeing with you.

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Always love your LinkedIn tips!

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Good point, Barry!

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Thank you for sharing your tip, Melonie! These are always fun to do :)

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Great tip, Sarah! Conversations do make the groups much more interesting. Thanks for sharing! And we’re very happy you like the Social Media Marketing Networking Club.

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    We’re fortunate to have such a great group of experts here!

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Glad you liked the article, James!

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Very good point about reminding others to be respectful, Amandah. It’s so important.

  • https://www.facebook.com/manojsethi46 Manoj Kumar Sethi

    As usual awesome one ! very very effectively mentioned about the detail of groups.

  • Pingback: Six Ways to Grow a LinkedIn Group, Tips From the Pros – Social Media Examiner

  • http://www.privatemoneyblog.com/ Chris Sanchez

    Thanks!

    I manage a small group and will be putting more effort into growing it again. Sending email invitations outside of linkedin is an excellent idea that I’ll be sure to implement.

    I also agree with targeting a niche. My group is for home service providers in a tri-county area.

  • Raquel M Ramirez

    Awesome advice. Thank you.

  • http://www.simplicityadmins.com/ Sarah Santacroce

    Great tips, thanks for putting those together, Cindy. My favorite was Viveka’s because I get so many invitations to LinkedIn Groups that might actually be interesting, but by sending out these boring default messages, group owner are burning their chance to get new members. I manage several groups and on each of them I offer 2 monthly promotional days: days where we draw attention to the ‘Promotions’ tab and invite members to post their promotions there & check out other members promotions. People seem to like it a lot! Hat tip to Denise Wakeman with whom I brainstormed about this & in the end I think she came up with the idea ;-) )

  • Michael Freimark

    I am currently in this process with BCAMREP- thank you for this timely information. Being new to LI, this reinforces why I love it- Quality people offering quality information- that is what my Group is all about. Thanks again!
    michaelfreimark@gmail.com

  • Al

    Tip#1 has its limitation, you will get more than 1% but your email list can only go so far. #2 and #3 can be interpreted as spamming your group members. If you do it too often it’s a turn off. Remember LinkedIn users, group owners and group members alike, are there to look for business or carrier opportunities. As your group is getting larger it’ll get more attention, others that share your agendas will join in and offer the same things. If your group is about oranges, are you or are you not going to let other farmers to join? They can’t email all members but they can use the discussions forum to give away free stuffs, then the group will become a free advertising platform for everyone faster than you can say spam isn’t just a can of ham. Don’t do it to others if you don’t want to get it, which leads to #4. It’s a good solid advice but it takes time to get members to engage. The larger groups on LinkedIn are all about job placement, not about buying a particular product or service. Hard sell won’t sell. Post useful topics or info, put forth the effort to keep your group free of spams. Join various groups to see what makes you want to stay or not want to stay with them. If you can figure that out then #5 and #6 should be easy for you. Have a great week and see you on LinkedIn.

  • boiki keaitaya

    great insightful post…

  • http://www.seomasterexpert.com/ Swapan Kumar

    Thank you for sharing the informative Post!! I will definitely try the amazing and very easy tips. Thank you once again for providing all the useful tips at one place.

  • Florence Lince

    I’m curious what you have to say about the stats that show that so many of the people on LinkedIn create a profile; join a whole bunch of groups; then click on the button in the groups settings to never get any of the updates or they just trash the emails and never respond. What good does it do to have members of a group who are not actively participating? If the groups already in LinkedIn purged those who were not participating these groups would all be a lot smaller. I have been in groups with supposedly several thousand people in them and only a handful ever respond; post new articles; or even engage. It’s very frustrating.
    And I’m in the Social Media Marketing Mavens group in LinkedIn – for all the good it does me – no one is monitoring the submissions because I have comments that have been in the que for over 2 months and they just sit. If the groups don’t want active participation they should say so.

  • http://www.moretas4less.com.au/ Bron Hogan

    Thanks for the great article Cindy, I think one of the key messages for me is that one needs to target a ‘Niche’ audience and then hold them with relevant, meaningful content that keeps them coming back for more!

  • Dude

    Thanks, but how can I invite all my personal linkedin contacts who are *not* already members of my group?

  • Todd

    Great tips thanks! I just started Northern California Business Group and just sent out some invites. The customized email tip I will try.

  • Mayuresh Shilotri

    Thanks for the informative post Cindy! Will try some of these myself.

  • Pingback: How to Build a Thriving Industry Community on LinkedIn

  • Amy

    Hi, are there any thoughts on whether it is better to put efforts into creating followers on your Company page/group or a topical group created by your company?

  • https://twitter.com/TeamExecNote Jen Mahon

    Bookmarking this as I build our company’s user group! We’ve found highly personalized group invites are very effective. Tip #3 will be useful as we build content!

  • https://twitter.com/TeamExecNote Jen Mahon

    Bookmarking this as I build our company’s user group! We’ve found highly personalized group invites are very effective. Tip #3 will be useful as we build content!

  • Sujit Ghosh

    Loved your post. Thank you for sharing.

  • Rejoy Radhakrishnan

    Hi Cindy,

    I want to promote my group outside my network. How do i do that in Linkedin.

    Regards
    Rejoy

  • Central Purpose

    Thanks for sharing! Really helpful tips I was able to apply most of these in an hour. I am in the process of hiring a Social Media Marketing guy and plan to automate as much as I can, so I can spend time engaging within my groups regularly. Great stuff, just aim to mutually share with influencers now and I’m all set! Cheers

  • Theresa

    Great tips, thanks for sharing







Check out the Social Media Marketing Podcast!
Join our Social Media Marketing Networking Club
Download the free Social Media Marketing Industry Report