Monday, May 18, 2009

Secrets for a LinkedIn Group

As you build your outbound marketing strategy through the use of various online social networking tools, here's a tip for creating a LinkedIn Group.

Many companies I feel miss the boat when they establish a LinkedIn presence for their company. Often a company will create a profile under their company name. That's fine, but think about how that affects the credibility and impact of the content and information that you impart. Right off the bat, I'd suggest that most LinkedIn members would be at least slightly biased against much of what you have to say as part of an ongoing effort to sell products and services.

Now while it's true that selling solutions and services is your company's mission, you also (ideally) provide valuable thought leadership, data, problem solving, innovation, new ideas, thinking, etc that provides unbiased value to your intended audience. And they would welcome that type of expertise being available to them.

Consider instead creating a group that instead speaks to your industry and can be easily viewed as a rich community that promotes and exchanges thoughts, ideas and discussion about industry topics, business issues and creative ways to solve those issues. Many posts will speak to (and ideally support) many of the tenets of your company's core value and solutions, but many posts will not. And you may have to be prepared for discussions that don't necessarily promote your company's point of view.

But think about the credibility that a group like that would have with your targets. A free-flowing exchange of ideas that at their core have the best interests of helping people to do their jobs better. That is the essence of a real outbound marketing orientation, where prospects and customers flock to read about and discuss the latest ideas and content that make them better at what they do.

A great example of this is one LinkedIn group I belong to called Pro Marketers - For Marketing Professionals.

It was established by the marketing company HubSpot as an online community that discusses how to reach your best customers online through techniques like inbound marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) and social media. Which just happens to be what HubSpot does.

I find it to be a valuable forum, with very little hard selling going on. And it's caught on as a credible community to discuss and debate inbound marketing.

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