Just as everyone has a good book that they could write, everyone has a good LinkedIn group that they can create.
I am a believer that everyone has a niche that they have special expertise in, and thus you can argue that everyone should have their own LinkedIn group. For whatever reason you are on LinkedIn, if you are looking to connect with similar minded people, there is no better way to do this than to start your own LinkedIn group. Live in a region where there is no LinkedIn group? Start one. Work for a company that doesn’t have a LinkedIn group? Start one. I think you get the picture.
Once you decide on your objective for starting a LinkedIn Group, the creation process is incredibly easy…the majority of the work is in creating the logo that will represent your group. But now that you have the group and the profile shows that it only has 1 member (yourself), how do you promote it to get as many people to join as possible?
I have created two different LinkedIn groups for two different niches, so I can speak from experience. First of all, seeing that you created a _LinkedIn_ group, it makes sense to first of all promote it directly to your LinkedIn 1st degree connections. However, I urge you to only promote it to those that you think might be interested in joining the group. For instance, if you want to target a particular industry or geography, you can isolate those that fit your target through the LinkedIn People Advanced Search functionality and then only send the information to them. I think a lot of people are annoyed when they receive group invitations for groups that are totally irrelevant to them! In your introduction, be sure to include details regarding the group, and you should definitely be thinking about your group “brand” and differentiate yourself from the hundreds if not thousands of LinkedIn groups that already exist. Finally, there should be a good reason for those that read the email that you send them to join. What is the benefit for their joining?
So if you think about your 1) target audience, 2) branding/differentiation, and 3) benefits of joining, you are bound to create and email sent to the right people and have a good percentage of people who actually will join. My two oldest LinkedIn groups, Windmill Networking in Southern California “So Cal Sushi” and Windmill Networking in Japan “The Izakaya Club”, are very much niche groups but they have around 800 members apiece (note: figure has been updated as of July, 2010). Do let me know how your group promotion efforts go, and do share your expertise in the comments for the rest of us to learn about!