Are B2B LinkedIn Groups Worth Your Time?

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Determine which B2B LinkedIn gorup is right for your B2B marcom mix by reviewing the group's statisics.If you’re like many B2B marcom managers, you’re either considering or have already joined LinkedIn groups for your business. LinkedIn groups can be an excellent source of content and discussion as well as leads.  That said, any community requires regular participation; and if you’re a group manager, even more time must be carved out for participation and housekeeping.  As a former group manager, I spent approximately four hours per week on housekeeping alone—eliminating spam and approving members—for a 10,000-member LinkedIn group.

If a LinkedIn community is part of your B2B content marketing plan, use “Group Statistics” to evaluate a group.

Most B2B groups on LinkedIn fall into the community of practice category.  For example, in a community of practice, members share a type of work, such as “B2B marketing communications” or “knowledge management.” It’s a professional association where members discuss best practices.  If you’re seeking to participate in a community of practice-type group, don’t be deceived by the quantity of members.  Quantity definitely does not equate to quality when it comes to LinkedIn groups.

Remember the 90-9-1 rule?  When it comes to online participation, 90 percent lurk, 9 percent comment and 1 percent create.  While some have challenged that online participation is now closer to 70-20-10, depending upon the community or group, I believe that when it comes to LinkedIn groups, there is a lot of “participation” in many groups, but little dialogue or engagement.

Conversation versus content

Consider engagement and content quality.  Visit the group’s statistics and take a look at the “Activity” graph, which trends the number of discussions and comments.  In many groups, the trend lines diverge indicating much more “discussion” than comments.  I should point out here that the term “discussion” refers to a “post” and isn’t indicative of actual dialogue.

If your objective for joining a group is to get information, then high discussion-low comment groups may suffice.  If you’re looking to engage in dialogue with peers or potential customers, then you’ll want a more engaged group.

In an active group, where there’s engagement and dialogue, the trend lines should be close together indicating that for most discussions there are comments—a two-way conversation among members relative to a given discussion. Use the graph as a first pass at evaluating the group’s engagement, keeping in mind, however, that it’s not a qualitative metric. You’ll have to read through some of the posts to determine the quality of the discussion.

B2B LinkedIn Groups where the trend lines of discussion and comments converge indicate more conversation.

Convergent trend lines indicate more dialogue.

 

B2B LinkedIn groups where the discussion and comment lines diverge indicate little dialogue.

Divergent trend lines indicate little dialogue

When you find a number of groups that you think are worth your time, then narrow down your list to those which meet your criteria and objectives as well as your resource and time commitment.

What do you think?  Are LinkedIn groups worth your time?

Tell us what B2B LinkedIn groups you found effective and why.

By: Joan Damico

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» B2B Content Marketing - How marketing and sales alignment drives revenue


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