With LinkedIn having grown into a social network of 150 million+ members. LinkedIn Groups are the best place to engage in discussions, make connections and grow your network.
If you search "Groups," you'll uncover about 1,218,720. And then there are the supergroups: The Supergroup Founders Group defines a supergroup as a LinkedIn group with more than 1,000 members but the bar is constantly rising. There are only about 150 groups with 50,000 or more members, representing about 4.1% of all groups.
The largest networking group for meeting professionals is the Event Planning and Event Management Group, which recently hit 60,000 members. Supergroups representing other segments of the industry include Hotel Industry Professionals Worldwide with 91,304 members and the 64,228-member Travel & Tourism Industry Professionals Worldwide.
So, how do you grow a supergroup? There is no magic formula and it’s not easy. Here are 15 tips based on my experience as a member of the leadership team that grew Event Planning and Event Management and the best practices that I have observed many supergroups share.
- Be clear about your focus and stick to it. That involves accepting content that is directly relevant and declining content that is generic.
- Search for and post really solid content from blogs, articles and journalistic sources. Always include key questions to stimulate discussion.
- Activate the Share Group links and encourage members to use them to promote the group.
- Set a clear set of guidelines and expectations and publicize them. Customize templates in the "Manage" tab for sending a welcome letter with your guidelines to new members. Activate the Group Rules links and provide frequent reminders.
- Educate members about the type of content that is a good fit for the group. Some supergroups welcome blogs and others such as Luxury, Lifestyle Professionals with 69,799 members accept content only from bona fide journalistic sources.
- Reward members who share great content or who help the group move smoothly. In Event Planning and Management, we've featured great content as Manager's Choice, used Member the Week and even created a special discussion for top recognition named after the member who contributed the most active discussion.
- Recruit and train a team to help you. In Africa, they say that it takes a village to grow a child. It takes a team to grow a supergroup.
- Ensure that moderators are visible and active.
- Recognize important milestones with announcements, tweet-a-thons and other celebrations. For example to celebrate its first birthday, Julius Solaris, the founder and owner of Event Planning and Event Management engaged a graphic artist to create an Iconograph representing the group's most popular discussion "You Know You're an Event Planner When" by Vancouver based event planner Heather Corbett.
- Cultivate a spam-free environment and enlist the support of all members in flagging inappropriate content. Adjust Settings to automatically remove spam if a number of members flag it. Use the moderation feature to keep the quality of content high.
- Remove blatant or repeated spammers from the group promptly.
- Ensure that new members to LinkedIn and your group are on moderation for the first month. This will help you weed out career spammers.
- Once you have about 3000 members, begin to set up subgroups and migrate the most popular content to topical subgroups. Subgroups make it possible to deliver targeted and relevant content to a subset of your members. They also ensure that discussions are visible for long enough for members to see them and engage.
- Migrate content that is relevant but that tends to be a supplier or spam magnet to subgroups. Some members just can't resist the temptation to try to shotgun promotional pitches out to 10,000+ members.
- Establish regional subgroups when you have volunteers to man them and organize local tweet-ups and face-to-face networking from time to time.
Photo Credit: shekhar_sahu