By Joshua Rodriguez published September 24, 2014

5 Spam-Free Steps To Use LinkedIn Groups in Your Content Marketing Strategy

linkedin logoFind the LinkedIn groups that attract your customers and share each of your new blog posts with them. On the surface, it seems like a sound strategy, doesn’t it?

LinkedIn groups frequently send notifications about new posts, meaning you’re not only sharing your blog post with people who immediately see it; you’re effectively using the group’s email list to share it with its full audience.

Sounds like free marketing to me, so what could be wrong with making this the centerpiece of your inbound marketing strategy? We’ll get to that in a minute. First, let’s examine some more benefits of working with LinkedIn groups as part of your content marketing strategy.

LinkedIn groups are useful for sharing content

Like most social networking groups, the primary goal of a LinkedIn group is to build a hub for quality discussions and feedback. LinkedIn is a professional network, focusing on B2B interactions. That means the quality of the contacts you’ll get for any business-related content is much higher than those from Facebook or Twitter.

Naturally, the more questions and content you share that’s relevant to the interests of the group, the more quickly you’ll move up on the influencer scale.

This provides content marketers with the opportunity to really get their posts in the hands of the right audience without having to pay for them. Rather than hash out money for ads, you can directly target groups that your content will appeal to organically.

The pros of posting in LinkedIn groups for inbound marketing:

  • You’ll find more qualified leads within targeted groups without having to pay for them.
  • Sharing relevant and useful posts helps build credibility for your content creators, your brand, and your content.
  • You are tapping into a community that can help give you feedback on topics and ideas you’re developing.
  • Groups also provide opportunities to help solve problems for others or to share useful insights.

Although it may seem like a simple and obvious content marketing strategy, managing content distribution across multiple LinkedIn groups means dedicating a great deal of time and effort on reading what others post and on sharing your thoughts within those discussions.

There are many rules for content marketing on any social platform, and LinkedIn is no exception. To find success on this platform, you will need to avoid click-bait marketing and focus more on creating high quality posts.

Unfortunately, not everyone follows this advice.

How LinkedIn groups get ruined

A major problem for many LinkedIn groups is the amount of spam or self-promotional materials posted by marketers and other content creators hoping to drive traffic to their websites.

Because some groups have thousands of members or more — and are therefore filled with potential readers and customers — they are ripe targets for spammers, as well as for well-meaning content creators who just want to spread their messages as far and wide as they can, without due concern for where it gets placed. This results in dozens of posts with self-promoting links showing up that do not speak to the group’s purpose or to its primary interests.

A side effect of this is that the relevant, high-quality discussions that are posted to the group’s pages end up getting pushed down and diluted among the spam posts, making it less appealing or enticing for group members to find posts worth interacting with.

Cons of posting in LinkedIn groups for inbound marketing:

  • Members are often accepted into groups simply to grow the number of users.
  • Some groups do not have administrators, so anyone can post as much as they want.
  • Too many emails from groups can dissuade people from reading your posts at all.

The right way to post in LinkedIn Groups

Joining LinkedIn groups to share your content must therefore be done very strategically. Here’s how to do it effectively:

LinkedIn_posting_Template

Click to enlarge

1. Start by making a spreadsheet of all your content creation team members and the groups that are most relevant to your content marketing strategy. I’ve included a sample Excel sheet I created, which you can use as a template. (As you can see, I’ve also included content for other social networks, such as YouTube, Reddit, and Facebook).

2. For each new piece of content you publish on your blog, your website, or anywhere else, mark down the LinkedIn groups that the article could be beneficial for.
smiling guy-group contributor3. In your posting, always try to ask a question or share a valid opinion on the content you post or comment on. Encourage your team members to get involved in the existing discussions on the group page as well to generate buzz around your post, specifically. By becoming active members of the community, your team will not only help your own content remain at the top of the group for much longer, their rankings as top influencers in the group will also be raised.
smiling guy-linkedin comments4. Make it a part of your strategy to respond to feedback. Save the marketing pitches for offline or private discussions with interested parties who you come across as a result of your conversations. But on the group discussions themselves, make sure you focus on creating a dialogue — not on promoting your products/services.

5. Then, if you see certain people consistently posting relevant discussions in your groups or offering very helpful responses, consider the following to expand on your inbound marketing efforts:

  • Connect with them privately on LinkedIn and build a personal relationship.
  • Interview them for a guest blog post on your website.
  • Ask them to become a beta user or tester for your product or service.

By following a few simple rules of give and take, you’ll give your content creation a leg up among relevant communities of potential customers — without contributing to the demise of LinkedIn groups as an engagement powerhouse.

Have you ever used Linkedin groups for inbound marketing? What tricks do you have for using groups effectively without being overly spammy? Please share your thoughts in the comments. 

Couldn’t make it to Content Marketing World this year? You can still catch up on the latest best practices for social media content creation. Check out our Video on Demand portal for more info. 

Cover image courtesy of Ben Scholzen on Flickr

Author: Joshua Rodriguez

Josh is a content marketing associate who blogs about his video experiments and strategies at Trackbat. He tweets as @TheJoshSpeaks and creates self-help/ dating videos for young adults on his YouTube channel.

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  • http://robertgibb.me Robert Gibb

    Thanks for the insight, Josh.

    I just started writing posts directly on LinkedIn and I have seen some positive results. It’s awesome how LinkedIn does some legwork for you, automatically distributing your LinkedIn content to a relevant audience via Pulse.

    I understand writing posts on LinkedIn is a form of “digital sharecropping,” but as long as it’s part of your content marketing strategy – not THE content marketing strategy – I think it’s a really great distribution channel.

    I’m going to combine this newfound content marketing tactic of mine with your group-joining and group-sharing advice and we’ll see what happens (only good thinkgs, I’m sure). Currently, I’m freelancing while looking for a job at a truly badass company, so right now my content marketing efforts are really for self-branding purposes.

    By the way, does your GetCourse website run on the NewRainmaker.com platform? I’m interested in using it for some of my clients.

    • http://www.thejoshspeaks.com/ Joshua Rodriguez

      True, LinkedIn should be part of a much bigger strategy. On GetCourse.com we are not using NewRainmaker.com, I do know that we are using mixpanel.com though.

  • http://www.carolynfrith.com Carolyn Frith

    I think one of the key steps is to become active in other people’s discussions before you post your own materials.

    • http://www.thejoshspeaks.com/ Joshua Rodriguez

      I agree with you there Carolyn, being active is key in developing an identity within the group. I’m a firm believer in not only starting conversations but being active in them as well.

      • rkalita

        I think you need to establish credibility before you post, these are longer term strategies but they work!

  • http://www.tempocreative.com/ charmon stiles

    Great post! I have ‘left’ several groups due to the spam issue. I agree with Carolyn as well.

  • lbwireless

    LinkedIn groups are useful, but the rampant imposition of LinkedIn’s System Wide Automatic Moderation (SWAM) has become a nightmare for regular users and moderators as well. Do you wonder why your posting privileges are suspended out of the blue? I suggest that you read this LinkedIn Pulse article for a further perspective on the service: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20140811214423-37034-is-linkedin-the-most-unsocial-of-social-media

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    Although LinkedIn is a social website but nowadays people are used for it as their marketing publication now you can easily collaborate with your customer and convey your best product to them through LinkedIn.

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  • http://bluedogscientific.com/ Dr Gary Sharpe

    As a Top Contributor in the Social Media Marketing Group one of the largest and most active groups, I have a certain philosophy about using LinkedIn groups for content marketing, which I outlined here http://bluedogscientific.com/2014/09/21/a-philosophy-for-linkedin/

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    LinkedIn suit for Online Marketing???

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    LinkedIn Groups are a great place to meet new people, share ideas, collaborate on projects and learn something new. I have joined several great LinkedIn groups on different subjects and enjoy the relationships that are built.

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    Nice article Joshua Rodriguez , can you write some blueprint about how to use http://linkedinposter.com/ properly? this tool is a powerful software for Linkedin but as every software need a good blueprint from an expert in the niche.

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