When I first launched the Group for the Society of Plastics Engineers in 2008, I made it up as I went along. LinkedIn really hadn’t taken off yet and Group membership was painfully low – and without some prodding, it languished on for a few months. It finally occurred to me that I had to promote the Group – within and outside LinkedIn – to achieve results. Here are some tips that I picked up along the way:
1) Post the LinkedIn logo wherever you can: on your website, in your newsletter, email blasts, in your association’s magazine, etc. Here’s the link to the LinkedIn logo usage policy.
2) Publicize your Group in your outbound email signature.
3) Send an email to your constituents letting them know that you’ve established the Group, invite them to join, and set expectations for what the Group will accomplish (networking, a source for job openings, answers to field-related questions are good examples). Follow up with the same message to new constituents on a quarterly basis.
4) Announce the existence of the Group in your LinkedIn status update. This is particularly effective if you’re connected to other like-minded professionals.
5) Post membership milestones in your status update (and in the Group discussion page) as new thresholds are reached.
6) Announce the Group on your Twitter feed and on your Facebook page if they’ve been established. Even if someone “likes” you on Facebook, it may never have occurred to him or her that you have a LinkedIn Group as well. This approach, while unbelievably simple, works very well too.
7) Share your Group with members of LinkedIn from the “Share Group” feature on your Group’s discussion page (top-right).
8) Invite members of other Groups from similar industries to join your Group. As a matter of professional courtesy, it’s wise to send a note to the Group Manager prior to your post.
9) Provide and foster valuable content and opportunities for networking. The Group will grow organically as will the volume of your discussion posts.
I’m proud of the original official Group that I launched that has now grown to over 20,000 Group members and is the largest group serving the plastics industry.