10 Easy Steps to Creating Your Own LinkedIn Group

Filed in Guest Post , Journalism 34 comments

Starting a LinkedIn group is fast & easy

Just ask Billy Rivera, one of my star students in the Social Media for Journalists online course that I teach for 33 students at Laney College. We have a great  Facebook group for student discussions, and it was my intention to add a LinkedIn group as well.

But Billy beat me to it. Here’s his story with 10 easy steps you can take to set up your own LinkedIn group.

Why and How to start your own LinkedIn group

Guest post by Billy Rivera

After two weeks on LinkedIn, I think I have found my rhythm. As a newbie with limited work experience, I knew I had to overcome the fact that I just wouldn’t have 500+ connections anytime soon. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and discouraged, I came up with a game plan that would make people want to connect with me. I realized that having a status bar tell me that my profile was only 75% complete isn’t a reflection on me, my skill set, or my ambitions.

As part of last week’s assignment, we were asked to join a selection of LinkedIn groups (i.e. #journchat, Online Journalism, and Online Reporters and Editors), contribute to the discussion, and finally, write a blog post with highlights from the conversation. The first thing I noticed was that in order to join some groups, I first had to be approved. So instead of waiting for their approval, I decided to create my own groups, starting with one for us journalism students. What sets my group apart from many out there is that it is open; no approval needed, just your mind and your love for social media and journalism.

Reasons to start your own LinkedIn group

· Create a community that doesn’t already exist

· Establish more connections

· Free PR/marketing for your business

· Conduct research on a topic

· To inspire people

· Create a fan club

· Branch off from a bigger group with a niche

· Network to further your career goals

· Recruit people for your business

· Start a dialogue about something you’re passionate about

10 steps to start your own LinkedIn group

If you have a great idea for a LinkedIn group, starting one is fast and easy. Once you’ve created the group, you have the option to send a mass invite to your connections and have a discussion flowing within minutes. Here’s how:

1. Go to your LinkedIn homepage. On the top menu bar you will see these categories: Home, Profile, Contacts, Groups, Jobs, Inbox, Companies, and More. When you put the cursor over “Groups,” a drop down will appear. Click “Create a Group.”

2. The next page is the most important. For now, skip over the Logo option and come back to it last.

3. Think of a group name that will stand out from the rest. For example, when I created our group, Social Media for Journalism Students, I didn’t want to title it the exact same as our class because I wanted it to be open to anyone and everyone who may want to discuss social media, as well as journalism students.

4. Choose a Group Type that best reflects the type of “activity” you feel you want. When I created our group, I felt that none of the options were a good fit, so I chose “Other” and then typed in “Class Group.”

5. Write a brief summary that will attract people to join. IMPORTANT: Choose keywords that people will use when searching for groups to join.

6. Here’s where you can go deeper into the group topic. When I created the group, I went back to our class syllabus and used a quote from Shari Weiss (and, of course, cited her) that I feel best summed up why we journalism aspirants should study social media.

7. Enter an email address that you check on a daily basis, so you can monitor group activity as it happens.

8. Website: this is optional. I chose to enter my Journ65 blog as a way to show group members that I’m the Real Deal striving, to be the “resident expert” on the subject matter.

9. Modify the Access of the group to fit your needs. You have two choices: Auto-join, or Request to join. Click on “Display this group in the Groups Directory,” “Allow members to display the logo on their profiles,” and “Allow members to invite others to join this group.” This will make it easier for people to find your group.

10. For the logo, search for an image that is public domain (copyright and royalty free) from a site such as www.freedigitalphotos.net or upload a photo from your computer. Choose a photo that catches the eye and is a spot-on representation of the subject matter. Read through your Summary and Description for inspiration for finding a logo that works for the group.

When you’ve completed the 10-steps, click on “Create an Open Group.”

Once you’ve created the group and sent invites, managing it will be simple and rewarding. As people join, make sure to invite them to join in on the discussion. Introduce yourself as the group owner, and make them feel welcome. As the group owner, it is up to you to think of discussion topics and post them to the group “wall.” The more people that join, the bigger the discussion.

[Note from Shari: I just read how important it is for you to choose the right NAME for your group: “On LinkedIn you want to win the mindshare of your target audience and attract them to become members of your group. You can only do so by naming your group appropriately.” Hubspot ebook Learning LinkedIn from the Experts]

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Posted by Shari Weiss   @   21 March 2011
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Comments
Mar 21, 2011
6:01 pm
#1 Gail Kent :

This is a great tutorial. I started a LinkedIn group about a month ago for people who live in my area who are interested in social media. I’m amazed how fast it has grown — we already have 106 members! It’s a great way to become known as a subject matter expert and to build your business. One of the advantages for starting a group is that as group owner, you can send a group announcement by email once a week, which puts you in front of all your members very efficiently. While you need to be careful about not abusing that power, it’s a good strategy to create positive PR and name recognition.

Author Mar 21, 2011
9:09 pm

Good going, Gail.
😉
Yes, LI groups will definitely help build your influence AS LONG AS you are a responsible and diligent moderator.
🙂
Otherwise, a mis-managed group could hurt your reputation.

Mar 21, 2011
11:47 pm
#3 Gail Kent :

I totally agree, Shari! Doing anything half way can hurt your reputation — whether it be a blog, Facebook Fan Page, etc. They’re all time consuming, but ultimately worth the effort.

Author Mar 22, 2011
12:20 am

Gail, nothing is as time-consuming, I suspect, as a well-run Facebook Fan Page. To leverage that platform, you must be creative and continuously attentive. Building a community on that kind of site requires excitement and moderation. On the other hand, I have started a Facebook group for my online course in Social Media for Journalists that pretty much runs itself. In less than six weeks, we have more than 100 pages of comments and responses NONE of which were required for the course. Good stuff. Let me know if you’d like to be included. It is a “closed” group.

Mar 22, 2011
12:23 am
#5 Gail Kent :

I definitely would! Thanks for the invitation!

Author Mar 22, 2011
6:21 pm

you are IN 🙂

Author Mar 22, 2011
11:18 pm

Gail, the Facebook Group is called Journalism 65. This is the Great One that you have been invited to join.
The LinkedIn group is OPEN to anyone. That is Social Media for Journalism Students. It has just gotten started, so there isn’t much content yet.

Mar 24, 2011
12:45 pm
#8 Taniesha R :

Thank you for the information, with me also being a newbie to LinkedIn, waiting to be accepted into some of the groups was a bit nerveracking, but your idea to start a group with no need of approval, eliminates the “newbie stress” and allows you to have more time to explore the new site or group. I appreciate you starting a group for the class, you’ve given some great key points on starting a LinkedIn group.

Mar 24, 2011
3:04 pm
#9 Breanna Morris :

Very nice instructions! I think I will have to set up a group soon.

Thanks

Mar 24, 2011
5:24 pm

I completely agree with Breanna_great instructions Billy! Thanks for being so helpful!
I’ll have to start thinking about ideas for a LinkedIn group that I can start.

Mar 25, 2011
11:49 am

Great tutorial Billy. This would be very helpful for those starting to create LinkedIn group.

Mar 25, 2011
11:56 am
#12 Kevin Jennings :

I think this was a great feature Billy. Being that you started our class group on Linkedin i’m glad you gave us all a tutorial on how to start one of our own.

Mar 31, 2011
1:52 am
#13 Emma :

Hi Shari,

Thank you for such a thorough guide to creating a linkedin group and why.

I don’t believe I’ve seen such a complete guide before!

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net looks like a great resource, thank you so much.

Kind regards,

Emma 🙂

Author Mar 31, 2011
9:29 am
#14 Shari Weiss :

Emma, thanks for the reminder about Free Digital Photos. I just put the link on Twitter and LinkedIn. It is a great place for many of us “posters.”

Apr 1, 2011
1:42 am
#15 Billy Rivera :

I’ve had a great time reading through these comments. I love hearing positive feedback from you all. So far, most of the groups I’ve created are geared towards getting more artists to join LinkedIn. Whether you’re a singer-songwriter, photographer, painter, sculptor, welder, or just an art lover, my goal is to create a community for artists to share their work, their websites/blogs, and spread the word that LI isn’t just a place for corporate professionals. I will keep you posted as the community grows. Thanks again for reading.

Apr 2, 2011
2:56 pm

Shari,
Thanks for sharing this. I’ve been underutilizing LinkedIn and have been thinking about creating a group for awhile. So great to have the steps laid out so neatly for me.
Thanks so much,
Adam

Author Apr 2, 2011
4:00 pm
#17 Shari Weiss :

Adam, you are most welcome.
🙂
If appropriate and relevant for me, please send an invite and good luck with the group.

Apr 4, 2011
10:09 am

Hi there!

LinkedIn is the *sleeping giant* of social media and I like its group features. Including step by step pictures in your post above would help too.

I had a new group set up early on in the year, and Shari, you’re absolutely correct to caution on the need for active involvement and creativity in a group you manage.

It does take time to get things rolling.

Yasser

Author Apr 4, 2011
10:29 am
#19 Shari Weiss :

Yasser, YES, doing business online requires the social aspect and that does mean active involvement 🙂 . . . and time 🙂
Good luck with your group; is it still active?

Apr 12, 2011
3:51 am
#20 Yorinda :

Hi Shari,

I love that you not only show how to create a group but also why one would want to create a group.

To inspire would definitely be one of my reasons. Branching of into a niche is something that I am processing an idea for.

Will come back to this post when I am ready to create my group.

Thank you so much for the great information!

Author Apr 12, 2011
7:42 am
#21 Shari Weiss :

And what niche will you be carving out, Yorinda? Also, how do you plan to recruit members for your group? Joining other groups first, making friends, and then inviting some “hand-picked” people works for many. Good luck

Apr 20, 2011
12:12 am
#22 Clare Kelway :

Hi Shari,
I haven’t yet created a LI group although I have a significant presence on this platform, but I waited to consider how I would present my company to a community and I am about to launch. I am looking to create a significant presence when i do launch so this is why I have waited two years to do so. However, my purpose is very different to most so I agree with your points. Groups are incredibly powerful as the big players will testify. This is where I am intending to play – in the main field and this is why I waited. However you can carve a neat presence right out the gates too. There are as many ways to do it, as there are people! Great that you are showing people the power of LI – awesome!
Clare

Apr 20, 2011
10:25 am

Hi Billy (and Shari:

Over this last week I have learned a ton about LinkedIn and its benefits. I just learned some important information today!

Thanks!
Kevin

Apr 25, 2011
7:07 pm
#24 Bill Cowan :

great step by step guide for me to use in creating a group or community on Linked In. Thanks

Apr 27, 2011
8:21 am
#25 waterpearls :

hi,Nice and interesting tutorial.You give 10 easy steps to creat our own linkedin group.It is very easy to understand and also a helpful topic.

Apr 28, 2011
9:40 pm

I did create a LinkedIn group that was aimed at former students of a workshop I teach. The downside is that I have not done a good job of keeping it interesting. It is largely dormant. I think these things can indeed require a fair amount of work. Many professionals (my students) don’t have much spare time for “discussions” etc.

Author Apr 30, 2011
1:35 am
#27 Shari Weiss :

Richard, when people do start benefiting from the opportunities afforded by Groups, Answers, and Company Pages, then the sky’s the limit where LlinkedIn can take them.

Jul 30, 2011
6:24 pm

I have already a Linkedin profile and have some friends on it. But creating a group is something new to me. I hope I could create a group and make good bunch of great people. Thanks for the instruction 🙂

Author Jul 30, 2011
9:20 pm
#29 Shari Weiss :

Kristy, many LinkedIn members open groups to form a community of potential or even current clients. There are many, many reasons why starting a LinkedIn group can work for you.

Oct 21, 2011
1:50 am
#30 Scott Harvey :

So I’ve built a powerful LinkedIn profile,and created a group.

Before I start inviting people to join the group,it ought to have some content, right?

So how do I start out?

Just make a few “tips and tricks” posts and a little video and links to a publication where one of our articles got published, and like that?

Thanks

Dec 13, 2011
9:27 pm
#31 Tina Wagner :

2:56 pm #10 Dr. This would be very helpful for those starting to create LinkedIn group. I did create a LinkedIn group that was aimed at former students of a workshop I teach. Thanks for being so helpful!

Nov 14, 2012
11:34 pm

I never thought about starting my own group. I am fairly new to LinkedIn and still figuring out how everything works. Great article though, thanks for the heads up.

Jan 12, 2013
3:22 am
#33 glen :

awesome tutorial, i will follow this steps.

Mar 11, 2013
7:49 pm
#34 Regina Gould :

This would be very helpful for those starting to create LinkedIn group. One of the advantages for starting a group is that as group owner, you can send a group announcement by email once a week, which puts you in front of all your members very efficiently. Thanks!

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