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How LinkedIn Groups can Explode your Blog Traffic

A Guest Contribution from Fiona Hamann.

Whatever topic you blog about, whether it’s your business or your life, getting your name out there and expanding your blog community can be a challenge. Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram are free and work well if you have the time to organically grow a following. But let’s face it, if you are new to blogging or a small business blogger with little or no social media strategy, achieving 10,000 organic followers on these sites is often a pipedream.

Now, you could take the paid route via Google AdSense and sure, AdSense is a great tool for bloggers who want to get noticed online, but the drawback is that it costs money and can quickly eat through your budget.

So what other options are out there for bloggers wanting to increase their blog traffic and gravitas in their industry, without breaking the bank?

The answer is LinkedIn Groups.

Now I’m not guaranteeing that you will receive 10,000 ‘connections’ or that LinkedIn Groups is the only answer for bloggers with no marketing budget; nevertheless if you are considering social media as part of your online promotion strategy, LinkedIn Groups is a must.

What is a LinkedIn Group?

LinkedIn defines LinkedIn Groups as “a great way for organisations to keep in touch with their members about current events and to discuss issues of common interest.”

LinkedIn Groups have a stronger business focus that Facebook or Twitter, and unlike other social media sites, most LinkedIn Groups are industry specific. With its focus on careers, business and networking, LinkedIn Groups is one of the most appropriate social media tool for industry bloggers, and is one of the best ways to attract people to your business blog.

Not only can LinkedIn Groups attract readers and customers to your blog, who have a genuine interest in your topic and industry; it can also create viable financial business opportunities – all without breaking the bank.

The benefits of LinkedIn Groups:

  • It’s free
  • It’s social
  • The members are your targeted audience and either work or are genuinely interested in your industry
  • It’s effective at driving traffic to your site
  • It’s effective at getting you noticed in industry circles

LinkedIn Groups are not normally open for just anyone to join. This means that in order to be a member of a LinkedIn Group, your profession usually has to be the same as those members within the Group. For example, the LinkedIn Group labeled ‘Sydney Financial Services Industry’ is likely to have the captains of the financial services industry in Sydney as their core demographic – an ideal target audience if you are blogging about Australian fiscal matters and policy.

Give me the stats…

Before jumping in to how LinkedIn Groups works, let me firstly give you a real example on the effectiveness of LinkedIn Groups:

A small Sydney-based, PR firm used a WordPress blog post to attract clients and connections in the Public Relations and Communications sectors. The specific blog post in question was called ‘The 4 Words That Will Get Your Email Opened’ – a dilemma most PR professionals come across in their career.

After pinning the blog post on the Walls of just three different LinkedIn Groups, the blog readership skyrocketed from 212 readers to 736 readers in just 24 hours – a jump of 334%. Not only that, the blog viewership for this PR firm has remained consistent at about 200 hits every day thereafter. In addition, subscriptions to the blog grew by nearly 300%.

graph.jpg

As can be seen by the above graph this specific blog did not begin with a huge readership, but to get noticed, you don’t need a huge following.

Let’s look at the bare facts. This company spent nothing and tripled the amount of hits on their site from a single post on LinkedIn Groups.

graph4.jpg

The table above shows nothing grew the blog’s readership faster, or as organically, as LinkedIn Groups. According to the table, the blog article got as much as 29 times more views from LinkedIn Groups than from Facebook.

This response was enough to get the ball rolling on the PR-firm’s social media strategy, and the blog’s popular commentary helped cement the firm as a thought-leader in the industry. Moreover, another PR firm contacted them with a job opportunity that led to a monthly media monitoring contract.

Ca-ching! Free LinkedIn Groups marketing turns to profit.

Why do LinkedIn Groups work?

Killer content rules in social media circles and this is no different with LinkedIn Groups. If you blog content misses its target audience, or is not well written, it is unlikely to attract readers.

Using the above example on the PR firm, the majority of the content on their blog is about copywriting, social media and Public Relations. They targeted industry LinkedIn Groups that would be likely to read about these topics. In this example, the LinkedIn Groups they joined were ‘Copywriters Guild’, ‘Sydney Media People’ and ‘Public Relations and Communications Professionals’.

Each of these groups had over 250 members and unlike other social media, LinkedIn Groups sends a private email directly to these members whenever a new article/blog has been posted on the Groups community wall.

Essentially, putting your blog post on a LinkedIn Group wall is like direct mail marketing to a targeted audience, who are likely to click back to your site. All for free.

If you consistently post up new articles on the Linked Group wall, it’s as if the members of the LinkedIn Group are already subscribers to your blog.

Obviously, the more LinkedIn Groups you post on your blog to the greater chance of an improved readership. For example, say you post your blog on the walls of five LinkedIn Groups related to your industry, and each Group has around 500 members – essentially, you are targeting an audience of over 2,500 potential clients and connections – at no expense.

Just remember, there is a fine line between targeted promotion and spam. It is highly likely that same industry captains will be members of more than one group, which means they could potentially receive your blog post 3 or 4 times if you share it with too many Groups. For this reason, limit your blog post to the most important Groups: The ones with the most members or the highest level of comments and interactions.

The nuts and bolts – How do I make LinkedIn Groups work for me?

Step 1: Create a blog

Your blog’s purpose is to promote your business and/or your online profile, as well as to drive traffic to your website. If you are unsure if your website has a blog section in its Content Management System, speak to your web developer, they can help you get started.

In my experience, the more controversial or opinionated a blog post is – the more response you will get. However, don’t be rude, insulting or arrogant; after all, the intention of your blog is to sell your expertise, and you don’t want your opinions to come across as ‘rogue’ in the industry. Be professional about what you post, be informative and give some tangible advice.

If you find an edge in your business or in the industry, don’t be afraid to share it. Fellow members and bloggers in the industry will often thank you for it, share your discussion or even send you business – it happens!

Also, if you are a business, don’t make it obvious that you are selling something. This is spam. It is acceptable at most to put a single byline at the bottom of the post like:

“I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the topic, and if you are considering a personal loan, feel free to contact me.”

It is also fine to inject some humour or a funny photograph but keep it in tune with the professional character of LinkedIn and the group. You are talking to your industry peers, not your friends.

And again, be consistent. If you put up one or two posts a week, your face will become a familiar sight in the LinkedIn Group and will give your blog more exposure.

Step 2: Join LinkedIn

Sign up to LinkedIn. You can’t join a LinkedIn Group without a LinkedIn profile and signing up is easy and free. Just go to www.linkedin.com and follow the steps to create an account.

Once you have created an account complete your LinkedIn profile so that the bar on the top right-hand equals 100%. This may take some time as you will need to build connections, seek endorsements and put up a professional profile photo. Note, that some LinkedIn Groups won’t allow you to join their group if your profile is incomplete, so to increase your chances of being accepted into a Group, spend some time giving your profile some love.

Step 3: Join a LinkedIn Group

Once you have a LinkedIn profile, select the tab ‘Groups’ at the top of the page and in the search bar type your profession. For example, if you are in the financial broking industry and is selling personal loans, type keywords such as ‘Financial broker’, ‘Personal Loans’, ‘Financial Planning’ into the search bar. Different groups will appear such as ‘Finance Industry Professionals’, ‘Finance Broking Careers’, and ‘Women in Finance’.

Tip: To find Groups that are more local, type in your country or state or city in the search bar in addition to your profession.

Look for Groups with a strong following – anything above 500 members is fair game. Anything below that may be worth joining but is probably not considered the chief Group of that profession and, if you want to be noticed in the industry, you will need the biggest audience.

Moreover, check out the conversations taking place on the Group’s wall. Sign up if you see a lot of peers commenting in the Group – healthy conversation is a great form of networking.

Once you’ve found a Group, click the button ‘Join Group’. Don’t be discouraged if you are not accepted straight away, as many Group administrators want to check who you are before allowing you into their Group (hence the importance of a ‘complete’ LinkedIn profile). Spamming is an issue in LinkedIn Groups and Group administrators put up these checks in an attempt to keep it spam-free.

Step 4: Post your blog to the Group

Once you have been accepted to the Group, it is time join the conversation.

  1. Start a ‘Discussion’ or ‘Promotion’ by giving your blog a compelling headline. There are a number of ProBlogger articles that will teach you how to write the perfect hook for a blog headline, but one technique that I normally use to get results is to incorporate numbers and lists. Using a financial broking business as an example, some good titles to use would be ‘5 tips to paying off a personal loan faster’ or ‘4 smart ways to consolidate your personal debt’, ‘the cheats guide to loan applications’.
  2. Beneath the headline there is a section that asks you to add more details about your post. Fill this space with a quick synopsis of your blog post, e.g: ‘A recent survey revealed 64% of Australians take out a personal loan to buy a car. We all know that cars are a necessary, but bad investment. Check out these five savvy ways to pay off your personal loan in record time…’
  3. Lastly, ensure you post the link to your blog post where it says ‘Attach a link’, it will bring all LinkedIn traffic directly back to your blog.

In addition, Some Groups have strict rules on what you can and cannot post on a wall and when you post is also important. Some Groups like to use the ‘Discussions’ section, while other Groups prefer that you post in the ‘Promotions’ section. It is important to abide by the rules otherwise your post may be blocked by the administrator.

To illustrate this point, here is a message from the administrator of the ‘Australian Writers’ LinkedIn Group:

201304181926.jpg

And that is it.

Monitor your progress using Google Analytics or WordPress Stats and tailor and time your posts to how your audience responds. It is entirely free to use LinkedIn Groups and it’s an effective way to get traffic to your business site or grow your blogging profile. Good luck.

Fiona Hamann is the senior PR manager at Aussie. She is passionate about all facets of communications including PR, writing, editing, website content, new media, crisis and issues management and branding in the finance industry – home loans, personal loans, credit cards, and insurance.”300%

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Comments

  1. Nick Lewis says:

    I’ve found LinkedIn an excellent forum to share my material, to which I have had excellent feedback on the network and my blog itself.

    However, I think LinkedIn is getting a little bit too over-zealous with *automatically* flagging some content as spam (a new development), and this has caused some awkwardness for some. See the following discussion thread for details:

    http://community.linkedin.com/questions/16699/why-are-all-my-comments-and-discussions-pending.html#answer-26431

  2. Posts on getting-traffic-from-linkedin-to-your-blog has always attract me to read till end though I have not applied in any of my blog or blog’s post.

    I think the only reason could be is, there are so many networks available to be social. Then why would I go to linkedin – a very new concept of being social, Although I got a profile there but never tried being social with it.

  3. Sharon says:

    This is a fantastic post, Fiona! I’ve just been over at Ramsay – The Blog Tyrant’s blog extoling the virtues of LinkedIn groups. It has worked so well for me and I’m usually too shy to post my blog posts. Just contributing in the group discussions has skyrocketed my blog visitors, readership and subscriptions. The only regret I have is that I wasted so much time not being active on LinkedIn groups. I also love the fact that it isn’t as time-consuming as the other social networks (for me anyway).

    Thanks for the step-by-step guide. So many people don’t really know how LinkedIn works and it’s been desperately neglected by lots of bloggers. This was really on point.

  4. sandi says:

    Linkedin is great to promote your blog.

    You must to find groups that match your niche, and suddenly you get a lot of traffic!

  5. Nathan Segal says:

    Agreed. LinkedIn is a great tool for list building. I’ve used it myself in the past to grow a list and this article was a timely reminder of the need to use it again. As a direct result of this article, I went back to LinkedIn, joined several groups related to my travel niche and made several useful posts.

  6. Hi Fiona,

    Search for niche specific groups. Sometimes I run into some spammy groups on LI but overall I see a nice traffic boost after promoting my latest blog posts on these groups.

    You said it: be persistent. Post daily to groups for the best results.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Ryan

  7. Brian says:

    Linkedin is THE best social network because it was founded with intention.

    Facebook was haphazardly concocted, and now struggles in it’s business model because there’s truly no intent behind its being – only to be cool (as stated by Justin Timberlake in the Social Network)

    I’ve used Linkedin Groups for any and all of my market research. The Google Keyword tool only gets you so far, learn to leverage Linkedin Groups and your business will thrive.

  8. Jon Rhodes says:

    LinkedIn is also great in that you can email your contacts, 50 at a time, and let them know about opportunities, offers etc. I would say that it’s round about as responsive as having your own email list.

  9. Eric says:

    I’ve known about LinkedIn but haven’t used it before myself. I’m going to look into doing so now after reading this as I agree with some of what’s being said in the comments as well. Facebook doesn’t do much of anything for traffic, at least not yet. Twitter, the same.

    However, I do know that using HootSuite.com will save you time if you’re on multiple social networks and want to manage them all at once without posting to each one individually.

    I’m checking out LinkedIn Groups now.

    Thanks for info!

  10. marc Duke says:

    Great post I live by the advice given here thanks will save in bookmarks as the stats given are great

  11. Kingsley Agu says:

    I’ve never thought of it in this direction before. I do have a LinkedIn account, but I had no idea of it efficacy. Thanks to this awesome post I do now.

    I think it’s time to Linkify my blog a little.
    Thanks for this post!!

  12. I think that LinkedIn is worth another look…. I’ve had my profile up forever and participated in some groups, but never generally promoted blog posts. Will give it a try!

    Thank you for the post

  13. Tom Dixon says:

    I had a similar experience with my career oriented blog – I am getting more traffic by posting relevant articles on LinkedIn – recently getting over 500 hits from one article. The key I’ve found is to try to have a catchy headline and to actually try to start a discussion on LinkedIn itself. Folks tend to comment on LinkedIn (which promotes the discussion higher) AND visit the link. Great article!

  14. I have been giddy since discovering the power of list building and driving traffic with LinkedIn groups. Honestly, LinkedIn was not my favorite social media, but I’ve changed my mind. Sometimes, depending on what’s going on over at The Happypreneur Blog, LinkedIn Groups are my #1 traffic referrer. Great post. I love ProBlogger!

  15. Vickie Allen says:

    I’ve tried it and it did boost my traffic. I’d recommend linkdln guys and I’m sure you’ll not regret it.

  16. I’ve been earnestly involved in LinkedIn groups for the past year. Yep, there are plenty of groups, and lots of activity – conservatively, I’d say 75% – 80% of the dialogue is self-promotional. Then of course there is the perk of endorsements and recommendations – couple of problems with that. First people thinking that if they endorse you – you will automatically owe them an endorsement back. And then there are the people who endorse you but you have no clue who they are – maybe you both commented on a thread – who knows?! I do always take the time to say thank you when this happens, and ask just how this individual knows me. Funny thing is, I’ve never had a reply to that question. Finally, there’s the emails LinkedIn sends to members recommending groups for you. For some reason, they keep sending me MLM groups. I’ve never been involved in MLM, nor have I ever been a member of a MLM group. Not once have they sent me a recommendation that is even remotely similar to the types of groups I do belong to. Sorry, I know this is a rant, and I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but as far as I’m concerned, LinkedIn has a lot of work to do before I invest anymore time there.

  17. Sonny says:

    LinkedIn is an untapped social media network on my site. That will change soon however as you have laid some great tips on how to leverage its potential. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Roger says:

    I haven’t ventured onto LinkedIn yet, but I do get about a bazillion emails from other people inviting me to join. Those results are super impressive. I would love to do that. I’ve used social networks in the past and they are great for getting traffic.

  19. John says:

    Fiona! The blog clearly give enough credential details of how a linkedin group/s can work good for your/our blogs. Really appreciate your thorough research and share. Aspiring!!! :)

    Posts such as above make me come back regularly on Problogger. Nice one!

  20. Onyekachi says:

    I really appreciate Problogger and you Fiona for this post. I only share to my wall and in a group sometimes when I make an update but that has not given me the benefits in Linkedin.

    I will apply the steps in this tutorial most especially be consistent and active in the group.
    Thank you once again.

    • Jeff Gundy says:

      nice post, one tip in order to promote your website easily, you can use twitter marketing. Gaining followers is easy too.

  21. One thing, perhaps unsurprisingly, that I’ve found is that if you actively participate in the LinkedIn discussion groups that you post to then you get a much better response.

    Clearly, if you make intelligent and helpful contributions to other discussions then people will recognise you as trusted source rather than simply just another random person syndicating their content.

  22. I love the idea of using LinkedIn Groups for traffic and it used to work for me, but then the discussion in many groups vanished and they became dumping grounds for bloggers. I’ve found that if you can really attract new readers in groups where people are focused on discussions and only share a post when it’s relevant to a discussion OR would benefit the group – but also start and participate in regular discussions.

    Congratulations on your success on LinkedIn. I was wondering if Google Plus was going to take over with their Communities, but they suffer from the same Post and Run syndrome if moderation isn’t strict.

    Kimberly

  23. Thanks for the tips, Fiona! I’m just getting started with LinkedIn, so I appreciate your pointers on how to self-promote without coming across like a jackass :)

  24. This is really amazing and I was not aware of this. I am gonna now create a group in linkedin and hoping to get traffic from there. Thanks a lot for this post. it was really helpful :)

  25. Great article. I think LinkedIn is one of the most valuable social media platforms available for building your online credibility.

  26. I currently have a LinkedIn account and that has info related to my career that I have degrees in. My blog is not related to the same industry at all. Should I create a separate LinkedIn profile for my blog or add to my existing profile?

    • Dan says:

      Hi Will,
      I would add it to your existing profile, but only if the blog is professional and not about you. If your blog is like a diary, then Facebook is probably a better outlet. I say this because LinkedIn is best used for business and building connections, not hobbies, and if your blog, regardless of the topic, runs in tandem with your professional online persona, then it has a place on your LinkedIn profile.

      For example, if you are a solicitor who has a personal blog reviewing movies – LinkedIn is probably not the best place to promote it, simply because the Groups you will join contain people who actually make movies and will not consider your articles a benefit to their learning in the industry. However, if you are a solicitor who has a personal blog writing about the legalities of copyright and piracy in movies – then you would find an audience on LinkedIn.

      That said, commentators from people not in an industry are still are welcome in LinkedIn Groups but the hurdle is you may have administrators closely monitoring what you say. So make sure your articles are accurate and provide value to those in the industry. Personally, I would add the blog to your LinkedIn profile if you think it will give the group readers this value.

      Keeping all your blogs and profiles together online will also help increase your online profile because you are not diluting the link values across a range of personas.

  27. Yaya says:

    I guess you mean AdWord by saying Adsense, no?

  28. Becca says:

    Thank you for this. Good timing, as I was just bemoaning the utter lack of traffic on my relatively new piano blog. I am already on Linkin, so I will definitely find some groups. Thanks again for this great article!

  29. siddharth says:

    Darren, Your tips are helpful anyday, anytime. Great writers know how to carry their readers along and make them feel at home while they reader your post.

  30. David says:

    Great post, kudos to the author.

    For me the most important thing about linkedin is that it not only that it drives traffic to your website, but also the quality of this traffic, which is highly targeted audience, as they belong to a group with common interests to you.

    I really did not pay attention to linkedin until some months ago, but I realise its potencial and now its among my favourite tactics for promoting my content.

    Regards,

    David

  31. Michael says:

    Linked is a great place to grow your blog.

  32. Linkedin is a good social media for marketing strategy like facebook and twitter but it is not totally free. You have to subscribe on the paid version to get the full feature. And also, I would like to address some correction when you mentioned Google Adsense. I think you are referring to Google Adwords. Anyway thanks for the informative posts. I learned a lot from it.

  33. Whitney says:

    Great post..I really love Linkedin groups, along with Facebook groups. Linkedin groups tend to bring more traffic though, at least for me. If you can share value without spamming too often, people will love it..and yea it’s targeted too, which is GREAT for traffic. Plus it’s easy and free so you can’t go wrong. Linkedin groups should definitely be a part of everyone’s traffic strategy.

  34. Asif Billah says:

    Yet in all the chatter about fancy new gadgets and clever JV tricks,
    there’s one technique that seems to be constantly overlooked. It’s
    almost radical in its simplicity: have you tried leveraging your real
    world contacts?

  35. Janmejai says:

    I have never used Linkedin for this,But after reading your article i think i should give it an try.

  36. Monty Campbell says:

    I appreciate LinkedIn but I have not used it for all its worth. This article is motivation to me to implement more linked in use in my digital social media strategy.

    Thank you for you fine example of practical application.

  37. LinkedIn has made its way on top of social media platforms. A lot of people have been using in to benefits their business, websites and also, to posts some positions available in a company. As a result of this, a lot of people have taken one step forward by making use this platform effectively and drive traffic to their website instantly. =) but a lot of spammers can abuse this service so it’s necessary that we should engage with the other people communicating with them consistently.

  38. Erica Price says:

    Found this interesting as whilst I’ve been on LinkedIn for ages, it’s never been a traffic driver for my blogs. Getting involved with groups might be worth a go for me. The difficulty as always is finding the time to fit social media in and often something has to give.

  39. Tamara G says:

    This article is pretty cool. I think you meant Google Adwords though. Adsense is what bloggers use to get income. It puts clickable ads on your site and then your site gets paid per click that it generates. Adwords is what we use to pay for clicks. This article really opened my eyes to Linkedin. I had pretty much been ignoring it and planning to get to it later although I have an account. This article has inspired me to be more active.

  40. Dave says:

    We belong to several niche groups on LinkedIn for the past few years. We found that when we did post selected articles from our blog within these niche groups our linkedin traffic back to our blog was dramatic. However we are trying to be selective and only share those posts that we think add value to the group and not post every blog post. Even within our own niche we sometimes will select certain groups over others not to over do it.

  41. Maisha Guy says:

    This is great information. Thank you for posting. I would love to feature your blog.

  42. Michael says:

    Linkedin groups are quite good for increasing traffic.

  43. Ashley says:

    I never though using LinkedIn to gain more readers. I actually joined a PR group on LinkedIn and I notice that many of the members in there post up their blogs and many people would click on them. Also, my teacher also posted our blogs on his LinkedIn site and saw our readership count go up on our blog. I recommend any new bloggers who want to gain more readers to use LinkedIn groups as a resource! Thanks for the advice and update!

  44. I have long been an advocate of using LinkedIn Groups to both expand my own connections as well as fine/meet like minded people. It is a great way to exchange in both your area of expertise as well as to learn from others in theirs.

    It is also a great way to connect with specific people that you might not other wise be able to connect with. Do your research and then let the connections begin!!!

  45. Lindsay N. says:

    I hadn’t thought of using LinkedIn to help generate traffic but maybe I should give it a try. Thank you for the information!