Are LinkedIn Groups Worth Your Time?

Posted by Matthew Croghan in LinkedIn Marketing Insights

Many people have their doubts about whether or not LinkedIn groups are worth the time and effort…

Whether they’re concerned that their group isn’t large enough, or that they’ve tried groups before without results, they see no benefit to their business or any return on their time spent creating and managing a group. However, it would be a mistake to stop there without examining the strategic use of that group.

The real question you need to ask if you haven’t seen any leads from LinkedIn Groups, is “Why not?”

As part of our LinkedIn lead generation playbook (one backed up by the results of hundreds of business in different industries), we’ve found that when used strategically, LinkedIn groups can actually be a major component to building industry authority, building trust with your prospects, and yes, even getting more leads every month.

Think about it like this…

Caveman Psychology: The Image You Project Will Change How People React

At Harvard, an experiment was run testing how people respond to another person depending on the image that person projects. Here’s what happened…

A lecturer was brought in to give presentation to two different groups of students about the importance of arithmetic.

To group A, the presenter was introduced as an award-winning scholar from a prestigious university.

To group B, the presenter was introduced as a dishwasher from a nearby restaurant.

The students responded much more strongly to the “professor” than to the “dishwasher.”

No surprise there. In general, you’d expect students to show greater respect and pay greater attention to a professor than to a dishwasher. This is what a well-positioned LinkedIn group can do for you: provide an introduction of sorts that positions you as a leader in your industry and someone that your prospects will respect and be open to engaging with.

(Beyond the obvious example of dishwasher vs. professor: You can’t afford to be seen as just another vendor… but as a leader and resource. This is why we refer to our LinkedIn Groups as “Authority Leadership Platforms.”)

And once the proper positioning is in place, we typically start to see results like these:

  1. More connection requests accepted
  2. More people appointments scheduled
  3. The authority you have in your market increases AND acts as a major differentiator for you, becoming a point of interest that makes you stand out from the crowd, …
  4. And finally, the proper positioning immediately opens the door to more productive conversations with your prospects, lessening their defenses, and setting the stage for questions and exploration.

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Why LinkedIn Groups Work (When Done Right)

If there was one word to describe LinkedIn groups, it would be this: AUTHORITY. We love how one of our clients spoke about authority…

What this did was give “me the confidence to NOT wait until somebody to tell me that I’m a leader and a professional. I could wait my whole life before somebody gave me that accolade. I’m gonna take it, but I’ve got to live it, I’ve got to prove it, otherwise people will see through it quite quickly.

Matt Jones, Owner Advanced Safety

It’s true. If you wait for someone else to give you permission to claim authority, expertise, or any type of accolade, you’ll be waiting for years. LinkedIn groups allow you do this instantly, but like Matt, says, once you claim it, you’ve got to prove that it’s true. And once you do that, you open the door to real sales conversations.

This is best explained by showing you, instead of telling you how it works. Here are two examples:

  1. Tom Swip's Midwest Manufacturing Leaders
    Tom Swip, owner of Swip Systems, uses LinkedIn Groups to build familiarity and trust, making sales conversation that much easier. Here’s what he said about it…“The biggest benefit that I see, is that when I go to a real world event, the people in the room already know who I am.

    And then on the phone call with them, even if we don’t do a real world event, they also know who I am – and who WE are, because they’ve seen our content come through, they’ve seen our pictures in our posts… They just have a general warm introduction to us before we actually meet with them the first time.”“They know you ahead of time, there’s that warm introduction and then they’re more welcoming to the conversation and they’re looking forward to how we can help each other out. The people that we talk to really feel that we know what we’re talking about and that we’re out there to give them a hand.”
  2. Josh Turner's Small Biz ForumHere’s just one experience our CEO, Josh Turner had when he was just starting out. This proved to be a major lightbulb moment in how effective LinkedIn Groups can be, and since then, we recommend this strategy to each of our clients.Here’s the story straight from Josh…“I had even started started a LinkedIn group called Small Biz Forum to position my brand and services in front of small business owners – the exact people I wanted to connect with. One day, I got a call from a business owner who was a member of the group. He needed help building financial projections for a new venture. I met him at his facility, and his assistant escorted me to his office. He was wrapping up a few things but invited me to have a seat. His computer screen was facing me, and he had Outlook pulled up with his recent emails. I noticed the email he currently had selected was the digest of content from my LinkedIn group, Small Biz Forum. Coincidence? Hell no. He had seen my name repeatedly, was receiving the group content, and the day he had a need, I was the one he called. I later found out that I was the only one he called. This just goes to show that I had already developed a level of trust with him before we even met for the first time.”

So why does this work? It’s simple – you’re bringing people together, you immediately position yourself as a leader for doing so, and you’re building trust by being helpful, providing them a valuable resource.

How to Position Your Authority Leadership Platform (Your LinkedIn Group) to Attract Your Ideal Prospects

Now let’s talk about HOW to get the most out of your LinkedIn group. The most important thing to remember is that your group needs to revolve around your prospects’ interests, NOT yours.

That means you need to know who group is for (best if it’s for a specific, targeted group, not a general group), you create the group, choose a name the reflects the interests of your prospect, you write the description, and you find or prepare content to share frequently.

Take a look at these groups…

Julie Lindsey created a group for her prospects called “OT Experts”. She may not be an OT expert herself, but those are the exact types of people she targets.

Matt Jones created a group called “Health and Safety Professionals New Zealand”. Again, a very targeted group of people.

Patty Jensen targeted retail marketers, naming her group “Store Troopers: Forum for Retail Marketers of Consumer Technology”.

Neil Kemp named his group “Security Intelligence Community.” Notice that he’s doesn’t work as part of the security intelligence community, he works WITH them. They are his ideal prospects, so he created a group about them and for them.

Here are some others examples of Authority Leadership Platforms and how they are positioned:

(***Take note that one way to take advantage of your group is to include it directly in your profile headline. Henri Schauffler, for example does this by making “Founder of D.C. Small Biz Executives Forum” the first thing you see in his headline. A great positioning tactic!)

Here’s the key to positioning your group: you create a group about your prospects. If you created a group about your services, you’d attract your competitors.

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Best Practices for Growing a Successful Group

First of all, many people believe that unless they have thousands of people in their group, that it’s not worth it. This is a myth. What’s most important is the quality of the people inside your group, what you share with them, and finally, the consistency with which you communicate with them.

Most groups tend to see higher engagement start when they grow beyond 100 members, and there are many ways to do so, but before we dive into a few ways we’ve found that work best, again here’s the most important thing to remember:

Your group will become a pool of potential prospects that will help feed your lead generation funnel. This means that you want to fill your group with your IDEAL prospects.

When we start a new LinkedIn campaign for a client, here’s what we do to grow their group:

  1. The “Soft Launch” – this is where you invite your original LinkedIn connections as well as colleagues, family and friends, because before you invite new prospects, you do want to have a few people in there. This is why restaurants typically prefer to seat their guests near a window, so that the people outside can see that there are already others inside.
  2. The Database Build – This is the cold outreach, where you actively target and search for your ideal prospects. After you’ve connected with them, you want to add value, and extending a personal invitation using LinkedIn messenger is a great way to do that.
    Note: If you’re using our multi-touchpoint messaging campaigns, you’ll recognize this.
  3. Retention – You want them to stick around. Give your prospects a reason to stay. We do this by asking for immediate participation, like asking them to introduce themselves, and/or immediately share an interesting resource you know they need (a report, webinar, podcast, video, etc)
  4. Consistency – Above all, consistency is the most important aspect because if you’re inconsistent, people will realize that you don’t take this seriously and they won’t either.

Conclusion

We’ve proven over and over that LinkedIn groups have worked for us and for our clients to build authority and to stand out in the industry as a leader and as an expert.

  • They allow you to start the conversation in non-threatening way, and people appreciate that.
  • They see you as a leader in their industry, as a resource, and as someone they can count on.
  • This is how you build trust! And when the time comes for the sales conversation, you’re not actually selling, you are helping them!
  • They already know why they should work with you, you are only helping them find solutions.

Remember: the main idea behind incorporating a LinkedIn group in your lead gen strategy is to build trust with your prospects so that it’s easier to create rapport, build strategic relationships, and begin real business conversations.

LinkedIn groups can be a strategic part of an overall strategy to get leads from LinkedIn, but it’s important to note that it is just one part. If you want to build a complete system to get a consistent flow of high-quality leads, click below to learn more about our Rocket Launch offer, the fastest way to get your system up and running so you can start seeing results in just weeks.


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