By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter
But if a potential customer isn’t already following you, all you’re doing by posting it to your company page is having a closed conversation with friends. While that’s good for strengthening relationships, it’s not an effective strategy for growing business, brand or thought leadership in your industry.
So, short of requiring all employees to share everything you post, what’s a marketer to do?
If you’re not familiar with them, LinkedIn Groups are smaller “communities within the larger LinkedIn community where people and companies can connect by shared interest rather than work or personal connections.”
The advantage here is that instead of waiting for people to find you or your company, you can use your industry, process or other qualities to go out and find them.
How do you find the right group, and what do you do once you’ve found them? A lot of things you’re already doing.
Think Like Your Customer – The groups are supposed to be non-commercial, so instead of looking for one on a specific part or product, look for the solution or process (linear motion, hydroponics). Also look for the job titles of your desired customer (plumbing contractors, mechanical design engineer). Lastly, make sure you join the group of any relevant trade magazines, and for good measure look at the groups your competitors are in.
It’s Not Enough to Just Join – Be an active participant. Check the daily highlights and comment, like and share. Even if it’s not specific to your company, if it matters to your customer’s business, it can’t hurt for them to see you involved. And that increased engagement increases the visibility when you post.
Encourage and Repurpose Thought Leadership – Make sure that the content you’re posting on your internal social media channels is also going out to these groups. Encourage your employees to become active participants too, often it’s not your marketing team who has the expertise that your potential customers can benefit from. This involves everyone in the process, and may lead to greater insights into market trends.
Make It Relevant – Don’t share everything to every group. Make sure that what you’re posting is relevant to that group, or create content especially for them. This way you cut down on the white noise and increase the perception of you and your company as an asset.
Bring Them Home – More than anything, make sure all your content while being of interest and use, also contains a little “tease” of additional information/resources/help simply by clicking through to your site/questionnaire/contact us page. This way you can begin to utilize this additional content stream as a CRM source as well.
Used correctly, LinkedIn Groups offer manufacturers an excellent resource to directly connect with potential customers and show them that you are not just a company, but a thought leader, resource and partner.