I’ve just started a LinkedIn group on the topic of digital skills in the workplace. You are very welcome to join.
I have to admit – I’ve not done much with LinkedIn groups before, and while much of it is pretty intuitive to anyone who has used similar features on other networks, I’ve had to learn a fair bit too.
Here’s some handy hints that might save you some bother if you have a go at setting up your own LinkedIn group in the future.
You can’t post documents – so you need to upload to Dropbox, Box or SkyDrive and link to them.
Likewise, if you want to collaborate on a document, you’ll need to use Google Doc or something similar.
You can only send one announcement email a week
So make it a good one – perhaps summarising the last 7 days activity and getting people excited about what’s to come. This is also a good way of bringing discussions to people’s attention that might otherwise have got lost in the flow of the group.
Be careful who you let in
There are armies of people who seem to attempt to join every single LinkedIn grow going for no apparent reason. My advice is to make your group invite only, and if you don’t recognise someone who applies to join, have a quick look at their profile.
If it isn’t immediately obvious why they would have an interest in your group, you can either just ignore them, or if you are feeling nice, ping them a message asking why they want to join your group.
Build a sense of exclusivity
Linked to the above, because there are a lot of groups on LinkedIn, you need to make yours stand out a bit. I did this by making my group a closed one, that you can only access if you are a member.
Practice in private
Have a private group that only you know about so that you can practice how the features work with minimal embarrassment. Not everything in LinkedIn works the way you’d expect it to, so having a sandbox you can play around in is a good idea!
Curate the stream
LinkedIn groups are effectively streams of content. It does some work for you in listing stuff on the main page in order of relevance and interest. However, bits will get lost unless you do some curation.
As mentioned above, one way of doing this is to use the weekly email announcement feature. However, I think it is probably worth having somewhere separate where the really good stuff can be listed on a web page somewhere – particularly for new members who need to catch up.
Edit the email templates
A key thing to do to make the community welcoming and a bit more personal is to edit the messages that get sent out to prospective members when they first apply to join.
A few of the groups I am a member of don’t do this, and it does make you feel like the group isn’t particularly actively managed or facilitated, so it can be off putting.
Remember – this is about community management
So even though the medium we are using is LinkedIn, everything else still applies – welcome new members, reply to people’s posts, seed conversations, promote the group in other channels, and so on. Go read Feverbee, and do what it tells you.
Have you any further tips for running a successful LinkedIn group?