The way businesses communicate with their stakeholders today has changed dramatically. Anyone picking up a phone or using email can see that these more traditional forms of communication are no longer the only, or most effective, ways of connecting. Most business professionals and IT folks are now engaged via social media. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t have an active social channel—be it LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, G+, etc.
So how do you make the most of your online social engagements? You’re a savvy B2B technologist—why not consider tapping into the power of social communications by starting an online community through a LinkedIn Group. Some of the most productive groups online are technology based, and your group, too should focus on a topic of value for your audience.
The benefits? You can strengthen your influence, build value and improve communications. Together, these beneficial by-products can help you create new opportunities and drive your business forward by allowing you to stay top of mind with group members and put your expert stake in the ground.
Using LinkedIn to build an online Group community represents a shift from the old approach of simply delivering information to a more evolved and socially effective interaction with partners, prospects and customers. This encourages open dialogue, information exchange and peer-to-peer networking. And that’s all good stuff.
How do you create a successful LinkedIn Group? Here are five tips:
1. Design a purpose statement. Describe whom you’d like to join and the value they’ll receive with group membership. For example, “This group is IT professionals interested in cloud storage.” Consider making your group private, and ‘By Invite Only,’ so you can control the quality of group interaction and eliminate sales pitches.
2. On a weekly basis, post thought provoking questions that encourage interaction and expert advice. Comment and post compelling industry tidbits.
3. Invite experts to post valuable advice on relevant topics and participate in expert discussions. Create a schedule that ensures consistency.
4. Get help. Designate at least one other person to assist you in managing the group.
5. Direct people to the group by including a link to it within your email signature, website, social networks, etc. This is key, especially if you set up a private group.
Oh, and did I mention? NEVER, EVER SELL!
By leveraging the power of community using LinkedIn as a vital business communications tool, you’ll strengthen relationships, increase productivity and drive opportunities—and that ultimately translates to bottom line results.
[Leadarati helps IT firms drive value and increase opportunities through social, digital and online communications.]