We are surrounded by social media in our personal lives but in the past few years we have seen social media integrated into our professional lives as well. What social media platform (SMP) comes to mind when thinking about a personal network of friends and family. Facebook. Now what SMP comes to mind when thinking about a professional network of co-workers, colleagues, business partners and employers? LinkedIn. So as a professional, having a robust and fully-optimized LinkedIn page in a must. There are over 100 Million LinkedIn users in the U.S. along and 40% of those users check-in daily. Those are staggering numbers. But how can LinkedIn generate revenue for my business? Ever thought about starting a LinkedIn Group page?
There are over 2 Million LinkedIn Groups with 8,000 new groups being created every day! That means that the world is catching on to this economical and effective avenue for marketing their product or service. It starts with a LinkedIn Business Page. This is where you build your brand and become a subject matter expert in your industry. In fact, over 88% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn. A LinkedIn Business Page is only step one in creating connections with potential customers through LinkedIn. The next step which is
It starts with a relevant list of email addresses, all of which are potential customers. For example, your company’s core business is selling print installation services. You have a list of all of the print production companies in your region. You have cleaned the list so that it only includes the key stakeholders for those companies. For our example, you are probably looking for people in the sales, operations, or services departments. Without a relevant list of people you want to invite, it is unlikely that you will have success because people don’t often stumble upon a LinkedIn Group. Ok, I have a list, now what? not as “in your face” is to build a LinkedIn Group. This is not only a place where you can educate your potential customers but also where like-minded professionals can connect, share insights, upload content, and build trust with other group members. But how do you implement this group while also building contacts, leads and eventually customers.
At this point we need to begin implementation. Create a LinkedIn Group, give it a simple and easy name. This group needs to be private so that you have to accept them into the group after they request to join. You will want to add a group description and summary into the Group Information section. Now, when you invite people to your group they can understand what the group which will help the click through rate. Upload an eye-catching hero image (similar to your Facebook banner image) along with a profile image (usually a logo or symbol that represents your industry). From here you want to set up auto-responders which will send a message to someone after they request to join and another message after you have accepted them into the group. The group is virtually set up, now you just need to do a mass invite to the group using the email addresses from your list.
But how do I get leads from this group? Good question! That is why we have made this group private. You’re going to want to setup a landing page with a form to capture information. Now you can put a link to this form in the auto-responder which is sent out after someone requests to join your group. The auto-responder will tell the user that in order to be accepted into the group, they need to click the link provided and fill out the form on that page. Once they have filled out the form you can accept them into the group. The questions in this form is what is going to qualify these contacts into leads. If you only want to work with companies that have less than 25 employees then “number of employees” should be a question on your form. If your services only involve installing wide-format printing and not small-format than a question relative to this would make sense. Either way, you are beginning to build contacts and qualify leads for your company! But your job is not over yet.
You don’t want the group members thinking that this was a tactic to get them into a sales funnel. They requested to join the group so that they could network with other professionals in their industry as well as gather and share relevant content and news. So give them what they want! There is a litany of resources, documents, tools and articles available on the internet that covers all industries. Gather a database of relevant resources and put them in the group for the members to consume. This will help to build rapport with your group and they will begin to see you has a trailblazer in your industry. Once you have established this trust, you can drop in little sales plugs and links back to your website to eventually set up a consultation. Remember, don’t be too pushy, they are here to learn, not be sold to. LinkedIn Business Pages work, but building a LinkedIn Group is taking your social marketing to another level while doing it in a somewhat unsuspecting way.