By Jeff Kline

Blog

How Nonprofits Can Use LinkedIn Groups for Networking

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The "Know You—Like You—Trust You" Strategy

LinkedIn Groups

After last week’s introduction to LinkedIn Groups for nonprofits, I’m more than ready to dive into this exciting post for Week 7 of the Summer of Social Media! Today’s post is all about your participation in LinkedIn Groups. I’ll be discussing how to develop a strategy for your participation in LinkedIn Groups, as well as how to implement tactics for networking with Group members.

Participating in LinkedIn Groups is extremely beneficial for your nonprofit organization. By sharing and discussing topics with your peers, you’ll gain new ideas for growing your organization. You’ll also create countless opportunities to meet and connect with potential new leads (new members, donors, volunteers, board members, staff)—and that’s the objective we’ll be focusing on in today’s post. 

The most effective strategy for developing new business relationships in LinkedIn Groups has three parts: getting them to know you, like you and trust you.

Know You

Introduce yourself. When you first join a LinkedIn Group, introduce yourself in a post. Tell members why you joined the Group and what you hope to gain from it. You’re practically guaranteed to receive a ton of comments from people eager to meet the confident newbie.

Comment on and “Like” posts. The first week or two, spend the majority of your LinkedIn time monitoring Group conversation—be on the lookout for articles about which you could provide some valuable comments. Commenting displays thought leadership (the ability to have innovative ideas). You should also “Like” posts every once in awhile, just to get your name and face out in the open.

Like You

Start your own discussions. After you get a feel for the type of content group members value, start a discussion of your own. Your goal here is to provide something of value that will receive lots of comments and establish you as an industry expert. 

Here are some different approaches to starting a discussion:

  • Share one of your organization’s blog posts, but only if it provides Group members with some sort of value. Most of the time, these should be educational posts. For example, if you are an EDC Director in a LinkedIn Group for site selectors, you might share your organization’s blog post titled Top Ten Qualities To Look For In A Headquarter Location. Sharing your own blog post is a great way to drive traffic to your organization’s website without being blatantly self-promotional.
  • Provide commentary on relevant third-party content. Sharing other organization’s blog posts might seem counter-productive to promoting your nonprofit, but your fellow Group members will appreciate the interesting article (and the fact that you’re not always talking about you). Include your own commentary along with the article, and ask Group members to share their thoughts on it. This is a great opportunity for establishing thought leadership AND engaging in discussions with commenters.
  • Post a link to an upcoming event, and ask if anyone from the Group will be attending. This presents a perfect opportunity for meeting and talking face-to-face!
  • Ask a question. You don’t have to be the expert on everything. Take the time to learn a few things from your peers. Asking someone’s advice on a topic is always a great conversation starter.

Trust You

Become a Top Influencer. To the right of your Group’s discussion board, you’ll notice a section listing the top influencers for that week. Top influencers are the people who achieved the most engagement that week—they provided valuable commentary on other people’s discussions, and their own discussions received a large number of comments. If Group members start noticing that you’re frequently a Top Influencer, they will begin to trust you.

Converting LinkedIn Group Members to Leads

As you spend more and more time engaging in your Group, you’ll probably begin to have back-and-forth discussions with several different users. With these users, there’s a good chance that they’re in the “Trust You” stage and might be ready for conversion. 

Make the next move and send them a private message. What the message says depends on what you’re trying to accomplish—maybe you ask them to become a connection, or maybe you suggest setting up a phone call. It’s up to you.

UP NEXT: Managing Your Own LinkedIn Group

Nurture your nonprofit’s community of supporters by creating and managing your own LinkedIn Group! Stop by again for Week 8 of the Summer of Social Media for some helpful Group management tips.

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