LinkedIn has distinguished itself as the premiere social platform for the global professional community. Providing a space for professionals to network, engage, discuss, poll and share knowledge, LinkedIn is a resource tool that is invaluable to many professional sectors.
One of the features on LinkedIn is Talent Groups. These are groups of like professionals that have the opportunity to start discussions, respond to inquiries, poll others professionals, network, brand, promote events and post and respond to career opportunities.
It is a euphoric playground for career professionals from individual business owners to consultants to business leaders.
Currently there are over 80,000 talent groups on LinkedIn and unfortunately, a large majority are under utilized. Why?
It could be:
- Over-saturation of social platforms
- Not enough time in the day to network with work and personal life obligations
- Fear that opinions and knowledge sharing can be taken out of context
- It is easier to glance and like than to read and absorb
- Lack of understanding on how to join and participate in talent communities
- Overwhelmed with the amount of information sharing
All very valid possibilities.
I currently manage six talent community groups, three subgroups and three company pages. I was recently approached by a senior professional in the Human Resources space about providing consultation on how to grow and expand the presence of a LinkedIn group. I had an exceptional meeting with his group leadership and feel this is valuable information worth sharing for those that currently manage or feel there is value in a LinkedIn community group.
Designing a LinkedIn Talent Community is based on a few key focus points:
- Understand your audience and stay focused on targeting and admission of those relevant to the mission, content sharing and engagement
- Accept that it will take three to six months or longer of intense focused marketing to develop a strong growth pattern. Many groups put in a big initial thrust and then give up.
- Stay in the forefront of knowledge sharing, discussion development personalized admission outreach until it becomes a self breathing entity.
I have developed some guidelines for design, development, implementation and maintenance of your LinkedIn Talent Community Group:
Guidelines for design, development and implementation of LinkedIn Talent Community Group
- Set up Google Alerts to provide daily media content focused on the domain of the group.
- Bookmark professional websites that can provide information sharing for the group (SHRM, Compensation Organizations, Total Rewards, World at Work, HCI, etc.)
- Set up partnering sites to help promote and identify potential membership opportunities (about.me profile and Google+, Google Groups, Yahoo Groups)
- Reach out to members, use your LinkedIn network, Google circles, and other personal network connections to reach out and promote membership
- Ensure the outreach is enticing and with specific focus on mission, content, knowledge sharing.
- Once the membership population has grown to 50 – 100, use the announcement option to promote key content and recommendations/referrals for community promotion.
- Do not exceed more than two announcement options monthly as this could drive people away
- Use all the functionality within the group
- Discussions (promote engagement by starting and responding to discussions)
- Add periodic polling questions
- Use the promotions section to promote events, webinars and other information sharing options
- Use the career section to promote career opportunities regionally/nationally/globally
- Promote success (recommend following the most engaged members, asking for Twitter accounts, growth numbers, etc.)
- Promote the group to other large like community groups. Do this periodically every few weeks to keep it fresh
- Set up a best practices call once the membership has grown (solicit feedback from the members in a conference call or networking happy hour to learn what type of information the members want shared in this talent community)
- Stay focused on the content domain (As the community grows, people will push the limits and stretch the content).
- Manage all approvals for membership, discussion, promotion and jobs.
- Like discussions. Show they are being read until comments start to flow.
- Be very positive. Promote constructive communication but keep the energy level high.
There you have it.
I cannot say enough about how valuable community groups can be if they are launched properly, well maintained and promoted in a positive way to create an environment of sharing.