Associations Can Leverage LinkedIn to Engage and Grow

Social media can be a low-cost tool for associations. The various platforms allow associations to drive membership and engage with existing members. LinkedIn has remained a place for professional interactions since its beginning and continues to offer valuable resources. It has become a hub of expert advice, networking, and awareness. But associations who aren’t using LinkedIn to promote their brand, attract membership, and engage with current members are missing out on a promising opportunity.

If your association is looking to grow its LinkedIn engagement and overall presence, here’s what to look out for.

Start with what you know
Ask employees to follow your page. They can be a great source of content and are the most likely to share updates with their networks. Do the same with any board members you may have. If your association has a blog, put some of your posts on LinkedIn. This sets up LinkedIn as an outlet to share original content – and the potential for an audience much larger than your association’s blog.

Connect with prospective members
One of the advantages to using LinkedIn to engage with your member community and attract new members is that people truly want these types of discussions on LinkedIn—in fact, they often are seeking them out. A very large number of people are using Facebook and Twitter daily. But many of them are using those platforms primarily for more personal reasons—to connect with friends, share family news or photos, gossip about the royal baby, etc. LinkedIn members join because they’re truly interested in connecting with companies, organizations, and others in their profession. Therefore, don’t be afraid to do direct outreach.

Your association is the authority in the field, and you can leverage LinkedIn’s publishing platform to establish your association as the expert. Use LinkedIn’s publishing platform to highlight the work you’re doing, grow audience awareness and attract new members.

Don’t be afraid to do direct outreach. People generally join LinkedIn because they want to network. Peruse the networks of your current connections or browse groups in your industry. Reach out to prospective members for your association.

Create a Group
Have you thought of establishing a LinkedIn Group? Groups can be open to all LinkedIn members or closed to all but your association members. You can create more than one group, so that prospective members can also join in on the discussions while you preserve a “members only” area as an added benefit for your member base.

Groups are a terrific place to foster a feeling of community among your followers. Group members can interact, post polls, questions, or network among themselves. You can use the group to promote upcoming events and gain an in-depth member perspective on your most pressing policy issues.

Identify and Reward Strong Contributors
Among the many uses of social networking for associations is finding creative ways to fill open positions within your organization. Need to recruit a new board member, or find a member to highlight in your newsletter or blog? LinkedIn can be your friend. Keep an eye on how your members are engaging, particularly those who are active in group discussions. Frequently monitor your followers and group members looking for those connections that catch your eye, and don’t be afraid to reach out. Again, people on LinkedIn are often looking for just these types of opportunities. Your next terrific volunteer, board member, or conference keynote speaker could be among your LinkedIn connections.

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