If you’re a successful advisor, you have probably spent years developing a targeted niche of the people you most like to serve. Top advisors know that it’s easier to attract and retain clients from a specific profession, employer, or demographic. Focusing on a group of qualified prospects can make your marketing efforts easier and more cost effective.
If you already have a specialty, you’re likely always looking for ways to gain access to more prospects who belong to your niche. You may advertise in relevant trade journals, host events or webinars for a specific employer, or work with Centers of Influence who serve the same group. One way to gain access to members of your target demographic is to create and manage your own LinkedIn Group.
What is a LinkedIn Group?
LinkedIn Groups were created for professionals in the same industry or with similar interests to share content, find answers, post and view jobs, and network. Groups range in size from dozens of members to thousands. The key advantage of belonging to groups is that you can share content and discuss with people outside of your network.
The Benefits of Starting Your Own LinkedIn Group
Joining groups where your ideal clients hang out is a no-brainer on LinkedIn. You can join up to 50 groups where you can share content and start discussions. Additionally, one key benefit is that because group members receive weekly digest emails from the group, you can get your messages into the email inbox of thousands of prospects each week for free.
But creating your own LinkedIn group gives you an additional layer of power, allowing you to:
- Create a network of your prospects
- Invite qualified people to join your group
- Set group owner, managers, and moderators
- Send an announcement to all group members
- Manage who can join the group
- Approve discussions and comments within the group
- Share content to all group members for free
How Top Advisors Use Their LinkedIn Groups
Deb Sims of Engaging Women in Wealth serves professional women in Southern California. Her exclusive LinkedIn Group, “Southern California Women’s Professional Network,” has about 300 members. Through the group, Deb promotes her live events and webinars on financial planning for women. Group members share information on jobs and business strategies and contribute to discussions.
Another advisor who works with business owners seeking financial freedom created the “Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise Business Owners” group on LinkedIn, where discussions range from tax planning to fitness. As the group manager, the advisor is able to answer individual questions and establish relationships with members.
How to Create Your Own LinkedIn Group
Before you create your own group, you’ll want to have a few things handy:
- Your group name. You’ll want to create your group name with LinkedIn’s group search feature in mind. If you’re targeting Dentists, make sure you use both Dentist and Dental Professionals in the group name so a search for either term with bring up your group.
- Your group summary and description. Outline your goals for the group and encourage folks to participate here.
- An image for your group page. Use your logo or another relevant image that will be displayed next to the group name.
First, you’ll log into LinkedIn and go to this link to create a new group.
Next, you’ll want to select the image you’d like to use. Keep in mind that you may be limited to the number of times you can change the image of your group. LinkedIn limits the changes to a group’s identity including the name and image, so choose one that you know will work well for your group. Then, enter the name of the group, summary, and description. Next, enter your website and email address as the group owner.
There is an option to pre-approve members of certain domains, so if you are targeting employees at a certain employer, you may want to list their domain here. I recommend leaving the group as “listed” so that people can search for and request to join your group. If your group is location-specific, you’ll want to enter your location postal code. Finally, accept the terms of service and click “Create Group.”
How to Use Your Group
To grow your group membership, you’ll want to send invitations to LinkedIn members who you’d like to belong to your group. You can select any of your current connections to join your group or you can upload an email list of folks you’d like to invite.
Invite People to Join
To invite people to join your group, go to the page for your group, then “Manage,” then “Send Invitations.” Here, you can search your LinkedIn connections and select who you’d like to invite or you can enter email addresses (up to 50 at once) of the people you’d like to invite. This can easily be delegated to an assistant with specific criteria of people who should receive an invitation.
To grow the value of your group, you will want to dedicate some time to inviting new members on a regular basis. Aim to invite at least 50 new members per month and after a year, you will have a large and thriving group. I use a virtual assistant to invite 200-300 new group members per month to my group. The cost comes out to less than $0.25 per new group member.
At least weekly, you’ll want to share high quality information within your group. Consider sharing your most recent blog post, a relevant article, or content from one of your Centers of Influence or partners that pertains to the group.
Send an Announcement
If you have something you’d really like to highlight, like an upcoming webinar, consider sending an announcement to all group members. You can send up to one announcement per week, but I recommend no more than once per month. When you send an announcement, it will go out as an email, a post, and a discussion to all group members.
Respond to Discussions
Group members can post jobs, ask questions, and start discussions within your group. To keep your group active, be sure to respond to discussions at least once a week. Follow up with individual posters who may need offline help. Finally, like group member’s comments and thank folks for contributing to your group.
Think Long Term
LinkedIn groups require time and effort to develop into effective marketing channels, but after a year or so of inviting new members and sharing high quality content, you can expect to have a captive audience of a few hundred professionals that belong to your target market. These folks can share your content, make introductions, and referral others. Keep a long term view and stay active as you grow your own LinkedIn group over time.
Do you want more information about how to use LinkedIn to find qualified prospects? Order my book, The LinkedIn Guide for Financial Advisors, on Amazon now. Have a question? Email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to learn more marketing tricks? Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly marketing strategies by email or join my LinkedIn Group today!