Groups on LinkedIn sometimes get a bad reputation for just encouraging blatant sales promotion and spam. Used well, however, they can be a powerful way of achieving what LinkedIn intended: ‘to help professionals in the same industry or with similar interests to share their insights and experiences, ask for guidance, and build valuable connections’.
The advantages of joining a LinkedIn group include:
- gaining access to people interested in the same topics as you
- giving you an opportunity to build your personal brand
- increasing your industry knowledge
- providing a good forum for you and your fellow professionals to help and support each other
- hearing about relevant events
- training and development
The group you join doesn’t have to be mortgage specific. It could be on marketing or social media, for example. Think about what you’re interested in - a social cause, for example. Or you could join a group to make contact with alumni from your school, college or university.
You never know where business is going to come from, so expand your network as wide as possible. Being an active member of a variety of groups is an excellent way of doing this.
Running your own group
If you’re thinking of running your own group, pick a topic that your potential customers will care about so that they will want to join. It can then be a forum where you can promote your brand - although remember that’s not the main purpose. Once you’ve attracted people to your group, keep the discussion focused so that you can manage the group more easily.
To create a group, follow these simple instructions. Once it’s set up, LinkedIn will help you keep in regular contact with your members by sending a daily or weekly digest of all activities to your members to keep them updated and engaged. You can also send an admin announcement email to your members once a week — an email that’ll go direct to their inbox. As they’ve chosen to join the group, there’s a good chance they’re going to be interested in what you’ve got to say.
Think about what conversations would be useful. If it’s a mortgage related group, what kind of questions do you often get asked by customers? Examples could concern buying a new build or be about the best mortgage for a first time buyer. Consider relevant topics concerning your business such as housing legislation, budget announcements re stamp duty etc. A professional on LinkedIn could be a customer looking for a mortgage in another context or they might happen to know a friend or family member who is.
Set rules for your group as to whether it’s exclusive or not and what type of content can be shared etc. This will help your members understand what’s encouraged and what isn’t. It will also make it easier for you to manage your group and ensure it’s not just full of spam, i.e. posts crammed with links promoting services.
The most important step is to start discussions and be active. Your group will be a bit empty if no one is posting anything so get the ball rolling. Start with a welcome post and then a few interesting posts from yourself to show the sort of topics you want to encourage and which are acceptable. Question and answer style posts are usually a good start. Make sure you moderate the posts and delete any spam.
To grow your group, invite all your connections, publicise it through your other marketing channels and encourage group members to invite other people. Include relevant keywords in your group information. It’s often the smaller, well-moderated groups that have the most engagement and the most meaningful discussions.
To find out more about LinkedIn groups, plus other useful topics in our guide, ‘How to make the most out of LinkedIn’, get your copy here.