How to Use LinkedIn Groups to Create Close Relationships with Your Target Audience

B2B marketing, linkedin, Social Media Marketing

November 27, 2013 by

Report after report shows that LinkedIn is the top network for B2B social media marketing.

While it is an effective channel for getting your content in front of your best prospects, the benefits go far beyond that. You'll achieve much more meaningful results if you focus on developing relationships with your target audience through LinkedIn groups.

RELATED CLASS: Holistic Integration with LinkedIn Innovation

Here's how to use LinkedIn groups to improve your B2B social media marketing, and develop close relationships with the people most likely to buy:

1. Setting Your Goal(s) & Expectations

Let’s be aggressive and assume your overall goal for using LinkedIn is to increase your revenue growth.

The bad news: As much as we wish there is one magic step to achieving this, there simply isn’t. We need to follow a path that enables us to create deep meaningful connections with our target audience.

The good news: this is certainly something you can achieve through participation in LinkedIn groups.

Action Step: 

  • Create a series of smaller, achievable expectations to move you along the path to achieving our goal. My suggestion: “Effectively participate in the ‘right’ LinkedIn groups for you, with the outcome being to create visibility & credibility for both you and your business.”

2. Find and Participate in the “Right” Groups

Not all groups work the same. However, a common theme is that by posting valuable content, meaningful questions, and smart comments, you can build trust with other participants, and people tend to do business with those they trust.

As an example, let’s assume you are a patent attorney. Would it be to your benefit to participate in a group that is focused on promoting that new cupcake store at the edge of town?  While it might be a fun, social thing to join, can you offer value in line with your expertise, and would the members of this group be seeking that? Probably not.

You should look for groups that are populated by the target audience for your services. They are actively seeking your value and with effective participation, and you can create visibility for yourself & credibility to your expertise.

RELATED CLASS: Best Practices for Building a High-Impact Demand Generation Strategy

Action Steps: 

  1. Focus on finding five groups that enable you to really effectively engage your target audience.  This may take a little experimentation to achieve.
  2. Look up some profiles for people in your target audience, and see which groups they belong to.
  3. Plan to join multiple groups and test each one out. Keep doing this until you find the five that you really want to participate in. Once you have your five, work to sustain the effectiveness of your communication in those groups. Try to avoid haphazard participation.

3. Participate Effectively in a LinkedIn Group

Once you are comfortable with the flow and participation of the group, start posting frequently.  Post relevant and valuable content, start discussions, comment, and like posts.

What does success look like?

Over time, you should begin to see more people interacting with you and your profile.  This includes: comments, discussions, likes, views of your profiles, growth in your —hopefully growth in new prospects. If you are not noticing this after an appropriate amount of time, step back and determine if you are effective in your participation, or if the activity level of the group doesn’t support building this deep engagement. If so, leave the group and find another.

Action Steps:

  1. Join a group, become comfortable with the way that group functions, and begin to participate
  2. Set up a schedule to post a topic for discussion (i.e. could be something you are talking about, a question, or an article, tip sheet, etc.).
  3. The key is to make sure it is something that your target audience would value.
  4. Make sure you check the group every day and add at least one activity (post, comment, like, share)

Note: A simple way to measure “effective participation” is for you to consistently show up as an “influencer” in the group.

Closing thought… it is better to be an active participant in 5 key groups related to your target audience than it is to just another faceless member of 50.

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