Would you like to create a LinkedIn group you can fill with your ideal clients?
Starting your own LinkedIn group could be a great way to increase your thought leadership as well as attract a highly targeted group of people – if you leverage it the right way.
LinkedIn groups are not nearly as popular or powerful as they once were, but there are still some groups that are growing and getting engagement.
Here are some of the benefits of LinkedIn groups:
- By joining groups, you can significantly increase the size of your LinkedIn network, making it easier to find or be found by your target market.
- You can message up to 15 group members each month you are not directly connected to (the 15 messages are split among all your groups).
- Groups are accessible and discoverable from the LinkedIn homepage, and relevant group conversations will appear in the main feed, which helps you show up in more places, keeping you top of mind with your target market.
- You can create an ideal environment for interacting with prospects and clients.
- You can position yourself as an authority on your topic or in your niche.
In this article, I share seven important steps to ensure you set up your LinkedIn group for success.
7 Steps to Create a LinkedIn Group
Starting your own LinkedIn group is easy.
To begin, click Work, located on the right of the top navigation bar, and select Groups.
This will open a list of all the groups you belong to. Click Create a new group, located in the top right corner of the page.
1. Choose the right name for your LinkedIn group
The name you choose for your LinkedIn group should target the specific group of people you are looking to attract. The more focused your niche is, the more attractive your group will be to those people when they find it.
If you want to attract people from a specific geographic area, include the name of the city or area.
For example, if your target market is business people in London, you may want to name your group London Business Networking Group. These are the types of keywords people will be searching for when looking for LinkedIn groups to join.
When I was naming my group, I wanted to attract people interested in social selling. Because they could be located anywhere, I called the group Social Selling Globally.
It is important to note you have only 100 characters for your name, and group names can only be used by one group at a time, so you will need to choose a unique group name.
One common mistake some make when starting a LinkedIn group is to name the group after their business and use it to broadcast their company updates.
Do NOT make this mistake.
People join LinkedIn groups to be a part of a community of like-minded people, where they can have conversations about things important to them and the community as a whole.
LinkedIn defines groups in the following way:
LinkedIn Groups provide a place for professionals in the same industry or with similar interests to share their insights and experiences, ask for guidance, and build valuable connections.
If you build a LinkedIn group with these goals in mind, you will be much more successful.
2. Have a logo and cover image for your LinkedIn group
Create a custom logo and cover image for your group to ensure it looks professional. A professionally branded group adds credibility, enticing new members.
The logo for a LinkedIn group is square and should be at least 60 x 60 pixels. The recommended size for a cover image is 1776 x 444 pixels. The images should be in JPEG or PNG format.
To add or edit your logo or cover image, click on the three dots located just under the cover photo on the right side. Click Edit group information.
Click on the pencil in the cover photo or logo area to add the image. Click Save at the bottom of the box when you are done.
3. Optimize your About this group section
The About this group section is where you can define the culture and purpose of the group. Be sure to take advantage of the maximum 2,000-character limit.
Remember that you are trying to entice potential members, so speak to your ideal target audience using the language they will use when searching. Expand on why you created the group and who will benefit from joining.
Give people a good idea of the content they can expect from the group.
Optimize your LinkedIn group for the search results
When someone searches for groups on LinkedIn, only the first 200 or so characters of the About section will be visible beside your group name in the search results.
Because you have only a sentence or two to capture a potential member’s attention and entice them to join your group, you need to focus on these key details when writing this first part of the About this group section:
- if you’d like to attract a specific industry or profession, mention it here
- write a brief sentence about what users can expect and what value they can expect to gain by joining your LinkedIn group
- use specific keywords that will grab your target audience’s attention
4. Set up your LinkedIn group rules
It is important you outline clear rules and guidelines when setting up your LinkedIn group.
This will maintain the integrity of your group and keep spammers out. It is crucial you ensure all posts and conversations provide value and engage the group members.
I recommend having a simple but strict policy on promotional content. You are given a 4000-character limit, but you don’t want to make reading your rules long and boring.
I clearly set group expectations in just over 700 characters.
For clarity, you can include information on how repeated violations will be handled.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to set and police your group rules. If you allow people to spam the group, members will stop visiting and engaging because they will struggle to find posts of value. Many may even leave your group.
This being said, all group members should be encouraged to make posts if they are of clear value and relevance to the group’s members and purpose.
5. Decide if you want it to be searchable or unlisted
LinkedIn groups have two privacy settings: standard and unlisted.
Standard groups are visible in the search results. Members can also invite other members to join.
An unlisted group does not appear in LinkedIn’s search results, and only group admins can invite members to join.
You will generally want to select a standard group.
The only instances when you will want an unlisted group is if you require the information about and access to the group to be restricted to a very select group of people. A members only unlisted group is great for having an internal company group for employees, organization members, private client group or anything specific to a small number of people.
6. Invite members to join
How LinkedIn members can join your group will depend on which type of group you select.
If you choose an unlisted group, only those people you or your fellow group admins invite can join the group. This allows you to fully control who is in your group and how big it will get.
If you have a standard group, there are three ways people can join:
- You invite them.
- Other group members invite them.
- LinkedIn members find and request to join your group when searching for groups to join.
Any member of a standard LinkedIn group can invite their connections to join your group. They can do this by clicking Invite members to the right of the group name, right below the number of members. It is important to note they also have the ability to approve requests to join the group.
There are definite pros and cons to this.
While this can help you build your group more quickly, unfortunately it can also lower the quality of the group. This means you will want to ensure you regularly moderate your group by:
- accepting or denying requests to join your group
- removing spam
- blocking or deleting members who have broken the rules.
To help mitigate this issue before it becomes an unmanageable problem, determine your membership criteria before you begin inviting new members, and carefully review member profiles prior to approval. Start with a smaller group of engaged members, and then grow your group size.
There is plenty of room for growth with a default maximum group size of 20,000 members. If you get close to 19,500 members, anticipating to exceed this limit while complying with LinkedIn policies, you can contact LinkedIn to request to increase your member limit.
7. Promote your LinkedIn group
Before you begin promoting your group or inviting members, post content to your group. This content should be carefully selected, whether curated or created, and of interest and value to your members.
Start by creating three or four posts. Here are some ideas for posts:
- have one or more posts that solve a key challenge for your target market
- share new trends or current issues your industry is facing
- share a post or two on topics that you would like to create some discussion around using a question or your opinion.
To ensure new and existing members always find fresh content of value to them, plan to share at least one new content post a week.
Once you have some engaging content posted, you are ready to actively promote your group.
Here are some great ways to promote your group:
- invite your connections based on how well they meet your membership criteria
- encourage your members to invite their connections who would find and contribute specific value to the group
- post the link to your group with a summarized version of your About this group section to clarify who would benefit from joining the group
- display the group on your profile, and encourage other members to do the same
- recruit high-quality, active experts from other groups
- include the group link in your email signature
- share the group link with a brief summary in your newsletter.
As new members join your group, welcome them by @mentioning their name, especially when your group is small and just beginning to grow.
If you want to create high levels of engagement in your group, you can even ask new members to introduce themselves, telling the group what they are hoping to gain from the community. This can help to quickly build a sense of community among the members.
Managing your LinkedIn group
There are a number of management tasks you will need to perform for your group as an admin. Some will need to be done regularly, while others will be done on an as needed basis.
LinkedIn group management tasks to be completed at least once a week
The two management tasks that will need to be done regularly, ideally multiple times a week, are to review any new content or engagement for spam and to accept (or deny) new requests to join the group.
Each time you visit the group, scroll through the feed looking for and removing any content or engagement that isn’t of value to the group. This may not always look like spam. But anything that isn’t on topic for the group or that the group will not find of interest or value is spam.
You can also post your own content at this time and engage as appropriate with other posts and comments.
To remove a post, recommend a post to the group, or block the group member who posted it, simply click the three dots in the top right corner, and select the appropriate action.
You can easily manage any requests to join your group by clicking the blue Manage group button, located below your name in the top left corner of the page.
This will open the member list. Click on Requested, located in the navigation box on the left to go to the page where you can accept or deny new requests to join the group.
Visit the profiles of people requesting to join your group to ensure they meet your membership criteria.
If they don’t have a profile image or headline or you can’t see their full name, you can usually deny these requests without further investigation. If they haven’t taken the time to update their LinkedIn profile, they aren’t likely to contribute in a meaningful way to your group.
LinkedIn group management tasks to be completed once or twice a month
Once or twice a month, you may want to go into your Invited section in the management area and rescind old invitation requests. If someone hasn’t accepted the invite within a month, they aren’t likely to in the future.
LinkedIn group management tasks to be completed as needed
From time to time, you may want to add a manager to your page to help you manage your group.
LinkedIn makes this quick to do or undo.
To add a manager to your group, go to the member list and search for their name (they must be a member of your group). When you find them, click the three dots located beside the message button in their profile box.
Click Make manager, and click Confirm in the confirmation box.
If you navigate to the admin page, you can easily remove someone as a manager of your page. Click the three dots, and select Remove manager permissions and then Confirm in the confirmation box.
If you decide to pass on ownership of the group, you can do this by clicking the three dots beside the name of the person you wish to transfer it to and selecting Transfer ownership. You will need to click Confirm in the confirmation box.
You may also wish to unblock someone from the group. To do this, navigate to Blocked. Locate the person you wish to unblock, and click Unblock from group beside their name.
Create a LinkedIn group committed to quality
If you are clear on whom your group is meant to serve and work to provide regular value to your members, you can build a valuable, engaged community.
The most successful LinkedIn groups have a relentless commitment to maintaining quality and staying consistent in providing value to its group members.
Social Selling Globally LinkedIn group
I have a LinkedIn group for business owners, salespeople, marketers, entrepreneurs and professional service providers that would like to learn more about social selling (lead generation) in today’s modern digital economy. In this group, you’ll find tips, content and social selling strategies to help you generate more leads and clients for your business.
To create a LinkedIn group that your target market would want to join does take some time and commitment.