Do you manage a LinkedIn Group? Or are you considering one for your business? You may enjoy these four tips shared by Bart Bettiga, executive director, National Tile Contractors Association, during the Coverings 2012 panel presentation about The Web is Your Best Marketing Tool.
Bart created a LinkedIn group for his members in 2011. Based on that experience, he decided on January 1st, 2012 to publish and enforce rules for this LinkedIn group.
The results, in his opinion, have remarkable with more tile related value being exchanged between members of the LinkedIn group and more robust conversation strings taking place.
The value exchanged has even meant new members for the National Tile Contractors Association!
Here are Bart's tips on how to manage LinkedIn for business groups, based on the National Tile Contractors Association LinkedIn Group.
1. Post Rules. Ideally from the moment you launch your LinkedIn group. Group rules set the stage for interaction, which topics are acceptable, whether self-promotion is encouraged or not. Rules also allow the group manager to effectively moderate discussions.
2. Enforce the LinkedIn group rules equally and consistently. Bart had to get tough on those who didn't respect the rules. In order for those rules to be followed [and respected], they need to be real for everyone in the group.
3. Actively moderate requests to join your LinkedIn group as well as conversation contributions. Bart does this at least once a day and usually twice per day.
4. Nurture LinkedIn group discussion topics. Participate with your own comments, encourage others, add to the conversation. You may find you need to do some of this offline as you build up momentum for the online conversations.
For reference, here are the NCTA LinkedIn Group Rules:
Effective January 1st, 2012, the National Tile Contractors Association Linked In Group will be limited to members of the Association. During the past several months, there have been too many instances where people are in the business of selling products and services rather than having open dialogue on issues. In addition, we have experienced at times hostile and unprofessional conduct on certain threads. The NTCA is an association dedicated to the professional installation of tile and stone. We represent over 600 tile contracting companies in the U.S. and beyond. We are not adequately staffed to manage a forum in which these situations occur. We recommend those individuals who do not wish to be members of the NTCA to participate in the John Bridge Forum. This is a quality tile forum equipped with moderators to filter out the unprofessional conduct and the solicitation of the forum users. Look for a new NTCA member only group to be established soon.
If you'd like other references for LinkedIn for business group rules, check out LinkedIn Group Guidelines or Rules of Engagement
Before creating your LinkedIn group, I recommend doing some research to determine what exists already and whether those groups are well managed or not. See 9 Steps to Find the Right LinkedIn Groups to Join.
What has your experience been with LinkedIn groups? What would you add to these tips?