This is the second post in a three-part series detailing how lawyers can start successful LinkedIn Groups to foster their business development efforts.
In my previous post, we looked at some preliminary steps attorneys can take to plan a LinkedIn Group. Once you’ve laid this foundation, it’s time ask yourself three questions:
Has the niche you seek to fill with your group been addressed by existing, active groups?
Is the focus of your group going to be broad enough to attract a reasonable amount of participants, while being narrow enough to attract your target audience?
Are you able to commit to starting meaningful discussions on a daily or weekly basis, encouraging group members to participate in the conversation and removing posts that are spammy or overtly sales-oriented? (This is your last chance to back out!)
Now that you are ready to take the plunge, you’ve got some housekeeping items to attend to:
1. Develop a Strategy
Draft a brief outline of your group’s focus, target audience and goals (both for the group and for yourself). State some objectives for the group, such as, “Inform members of timely news and events” or “Enhance the interaction among professionals in this industry.” Your outline should include a content plan that identifies, for example, the types of timely issues and events your group will track. Identify how you will track this information. Put as much detail into your group plan as you can prior to launching it, to ensure that you have a clear roadmap to guide your efforts.
2. Name Your Group
LinkedIn Groups are used to attract and coalesce like-minded people, so the group name should reflect the interest area. The name is also important as a search term – what words will your target audience type to find your group? Spend some time searching LinkedIn Groups to see what is already being used and what would work best for your group. Also, keep it under 54 characters – if it’s any longer, the title will get cut-off in a search.
3. Get a Logo
A logo is a key element in presenting your group as a professional entity. If you have an in-house designer, talk with him about your group and share your strategy so he can design something appropriate. If you don’t have an in-house designer, ask around for a freelancer. This process shouldn’t take long, but it will go a long way toward giving your group an identity.
4. Create Your Group
When you create your group on LinkedIn, you’ll not only want to have your logo ready to upload, but you’ll also want to post a group summary and a list of group rules for members to refer to.
5. Finally – Invite Contacts to Join!
Use your existing network to build an initial membership base. Invite coworkers, past colleagues, and clients (who fit the group’s profile) to join the group. LinkedIn will allow you to send out up to 50 announcements per day to your connections.
As manager of the group, regularly support group members who start, and contribute to, discussions. Do this by commenting, liking and sharing their posts.
It is permissible to visit similar groups of which you’re a member and mention your group. Politely compliment the group and then mention that you’ve got another group that members in your group’s niche may want to consider joining.
Next post: How lawyers can grow their LinkedIn Groups.