1. Builds Thought Leadership
One group on LinkedInhas more than 20,000 members, and around five of them have 5,000+ members. Each group has (one of) my websites as the featured site for the group. This is one of the first things people see when they join the group. Based off of perception alone, the owner is a thought leader for that groups niche (until proven otherwise). The more you back this up with quality content, and positive group management, your community will support you and anoint you a leader in that niche.
2. Connects A Thriving Community
People love to belong to a community, or a Tribe as Seth Godin puts it. The more you are able to connect like-minded people together, the more they will appreciate you for doing so. Create an opportunity for passionate people to come together because the leader that does this *usually* reaps the benefits.
3. Drives Traffic To Your Site
A LinkedIn group is a great way to drive traffic to a site. Here are a few ways you can drive traffic to your site from your group:
- Put your website link in the group profile
- Add the site RSS feed to the News Section
- Send a weekly message to you group, and include a niche related article from your site
- Add your site in the group welcome message (more on this below)
- Create a discussion and include your link
4. Builds Personal Network
A person may get roughly 15-20 new invites to connect (as a 1st degree connection) every day. Most of them come from his/her own groups. People love to connect with the community leader. This is almost true for all group owners, they seem to rack up bonus points from starting the group, therefore having more connections than the average LinkedIn user.
5. Create Auto-Responder Email
LinkedIn was wise enough to make this easy for the group managers by enabling a welcome message. Every time someone joins, you can send your own automatic message that delivers to their email account (not their LinkedIn account, but their actual email provider).
This means that you can create a decent sales funnel by first welcoming people to the group, telling them a little about how the group can benefit them and where they can go to get more information. Hopefully you have them sign up for your newsletter, or connect with you on other social networking sites. This will help generate sales in the long run.