If You Build It, They Will Come

If you are looking to build a database of prospective clients, consider starting a group on social media websites such as Linkedin or Facebook.  For those of you already on these sites, I’m sure you may have started joining groups, and may have even started or commented on some discussions.  But the power in prospecting and marketing lies in your ability to create the right group and making it grow.

The first group I ever started on Linkedin is The Golf & Business Networking Group.  I originally started this group to attract business professionals who play golf so that I may promote my golf membership organization FORE Networking.  Currently, this group has grown to over 18,000 members.  Understand, I did NOT name the group “FORE Networking.”  If I did, the only people who would join are existing members.  Or, people that did join, may assume they are now a member of the organization which I don’t want them to believe until they’ve paid a membership fee.  So, if you have a company or business name, do NOT name your group after your company name as you’ll only attract employees and existing clients.  If you want to attract new contacts who may become your followers and prospective clients, you should create a generic group name that reads to that demographic.

I also created a group called OCHR (Orange County Human Resources).  This group has about 2,000 members but it is very targeted to a local job field.  In addition to the group, I whipped up a simple website as well.  At first, I didn’t really have a strategic plan for putting this together other than the hopes of picking up a marketing client that will target this demographic of decision makers.  In the meanwhile however, I posted a job board to the website while restricting job postings in the social website group.  Doing so allowed me to generate additional revenue on the website and create a job board that’s more beneficial as it is connected and will post the position to job boards nationally for my members.  So, it’s a win for me and a win for my members.

So, if you’re looking to find the right contacts to become a work at home employer or one of a handful of consulting clients, building a group doesn’t cost you anything and if done the right way, will get prospects to come to you and sometimes even thank you for it!

 

 

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About Sinnary

Sinnary Sam is a marketing professional specializing in Prospect Marketing Events. She works from home part time and manages her four daughters' busy school and sports schedules.

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56 Responses to If You Build It, They Will Come

  1. Matt McDonald December 6, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    Very insightful, and a great idea to maximize exposure as well as attract possible business partners. Well done!

    • Sinnary December 6, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

      Thanks Matt!

  2. Sinnary December 6, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

    Thanks for the comment & compliment Albert.

    • Kelvin Otis December 6, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

      Thanks for the helpful and insightful information Sinnary. Give us more:-)

      • Sinnary December 6, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

        Thanks for the feedback Kelvin. I definitely will!

  3. Susan Roark December 6, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    Sinnary, thanks for the insight. My team and I use Facebook Groups to build new business and communicate with our existing clients but I had not thought about utilizing LinkedIn Groups in the same way. People like being a part of things, so it’s a powerful tool. Thanks again for the very relevant post.

    • Sinnary December 6, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

      Thanks for the comment Susan. I hope your team takes full advantage of the capabilities of Linkedin.

  4. John Redell December 6, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

    In short, yes. I’ve built 14K direct connection on LinkedIN. I exploit it, for sure.

    • Sinnary December 6, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

      John, that is amazing that you have such a vast network on Linkedin.

  5. Scott Rhoades December 6, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

    I use groups regularly when doing a niched candidate search for my open positions. I join relavent groups to the positions I hire for and network through them to find the right people in the respective markets across the country.

    • Sinnary December 6, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

      Thanks for the feedback Scott.

  6. John December 6, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

    I think groups are a phenomenal way to contact a targeted group of like minded individuals. A group of “warm leads” as it were. The best way I have read about utilizing groups is to be an active participant not only sending a message when you are selling something. This builds trust and leads to better conversions.

    • Sinnary December 6, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

      Thanks for the feedback John.

  7. Scot Duke December 6, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    Sinnary,
    Looks like your experience with LinkedIn is somewhat different than mine. Let me say I am not a fan of LinkedIn Groups and really disappointed at LinkedIn’s attitude towards who they allow on their platform.
    I have been on LinkedIn since it was in started Beta in early 2003. I created a groups…Business Golf Country Club immediately after Groups were available in 2006. Naturally with something new the popularity of Groups was rapid and the BGCC Groups jump to over 12k membership in a few weeks. By 2007 the Group was well over 24k and was when the spammers infiltrated LinkedIn by the thousands for which a large number of the people who joined the BGCC Page were only there to post unwanted promotional material. The situation was so bad that in 2008 I purged the membership and started over with a strick review policy of of who I let into the Groups. In 2010 I started a second group, Business Golf Advisory Group. I held to the same policy of screening who is allowed in the group.
    Even with this time consuming effort of screen every member, the self promoters who wear Sheep Skin well would work themselves into the group and begin their spamming which caused me to get hundreds of complaints from the members for allowing spammers in the group. This resulted in thousands of people leaving the groups.
    As of today both groups have a moderate level of several hundred membership which are mostly inactive due to the apprehension people have to receiving spam if they were to start any like of interaction in a group discussion.
    Over the years I have talked to dozens of other LinkedIn Group managers who are having the exact same problems and I have attended conferences where the subject of the waste of time the LinkedIn Groups have become.
    A few months ago I spoke to a business associated who had not had any problem with spam with her groups which she managed for two years. She contacted me a few weeks later to say she now is getting spam by the bucket loads.
    As recent as of last week I spoke to a LinkedIn Group owner who just started his group a few weeks before who now is considering closing the group due to the time it takes him to delete high volumes (sometimes 25 a day) unwanted promotions and comments.
    Even Wikipedia warns of the spam in LinkedIn Groups..

    So you can say, I am not a fan of LikedIn Groups.

    • Sinnary December 6, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

      Thanks for the feedback Scot. Yes, I have experienced the same thing and moderation is a key issue with running a group on Linkedin, especially when the groups grow to such a large number they become targets. Linkedin has made quite a few improvements to make it easier for moderators. But, we’ll just have to wait and see if they are able to better improve on blocking these “spammers” from Linkedin altogether.

    • Sinnary December 7, 2012 at 11:04 am #

      Thanks for sharing David. That’s a horrible ratio of spam posts. I haven’t experienced that, but it could be because my groups are much smaller. I wonder what Linkedin will do in the future to help curb this.

  8. Ken December 6, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    This is great blog. Thanks for sharing your story of building networks.

    • Sinnary December 6, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

      Thanks for the compliment Ken.

  9. Sinnary December 6, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

    Thanks for your feedback Adrian. Yes, I agree, there’s quite a bit of spam going on now on most social websites. It is up to the site manager to control that and it can be done with some effort.

  10. Sinnary December 6, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

    Thanks for the feedback Dan. Yes, I have touched on it at a meeting or two haven’t I? Hope you give it a try someday soon. How’s your golf?

  11. Leigh December 7, 2012 at 5:36 am #

    Sinnary..Great information! Well written and easily understood. Thanks for sharing.
    Happy Holidays……

    • Sinnary December 7, 2012 at 11:05 am #

      Thanks for your feedback Leigh.

  12. Mark b December 7, 2012 at 7:01 am #

    Sinnary,

    Thanks for sharing and Happy Holidays. Good work!

    • Sinnary December 7, 2012 at 11:05 am #

      Thanks for your feedback Mark & likewise!

  13. Joseph Dowdy December 7, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    My wife and I both work from home and we rely on the Internet for marketing purposes.

    As far as creating a group goes, my wife has created a group (the Happy Firm Butt Club) that is just for women who want to lose weight. Some women have lost over 100 pounds and one of them beat cancer following my wife’s advice. She has lost over 60 pounds (and 12 dress sizes) and I have lost over 55 pounds (and went from a 44 to a loose 32-inch waist).

    We both help our friends to exercise and eat right. We use Facebook to get a group of people together when they are doing programs at the same time so that they can mutually support each other in addition to receiving specific coaching, videos, recipes and more.

    My wife also sends out her clean-eating cookbook ebook for people who get on her mailing list or join the Happy Firm Butt Club.

    While I do try to use LinkedIn and other social media platforms to get new customers, my main business comes from personal referrals, but the people who became referrers were Facebook friends who are in the same business as I am or they found me on Google.

    • Sinnary December 7, 2012 at 11:09 am #

      Thanks for sharing Joseph. That sounds like a great group and I’d love to firm up my derriere! That is great that Facebook groups has worked for your purpose. I see how both social networks are successful in their own demographic. While people may be on both, one is more business focused while the other consumer focused.

  14. Sinnary December 7, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    Thanks for sharing Charley. I’m very glad to see that groups have been a huge success for you and that you are cultivating relationships. That is definitely key to networking.

  15. nikki December 7, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

    As always, very informative, I have formed large networking groups in person, never thought about doing that online, gotta take off my blinders! Thanks for helping me see that!

    • Sinnary December 8, 2012 at 8:54 am #

      Thanks for the compliment Nikki. Good luck with building your groups!

  16. Patelli Paschal December 8, 2012 at 8:36 am #

    Groups have been a help in getting insight,but,context is key.I’ve asked related questions and not hawked any goods as to be spammy.People love communication but,shun telemarketing type behavior in my experience.

    • Sinnary December 8, 2012 at 8:53 am #

      Yes, I agree Patelli. People must be careful to help provide meaningful information, not just promote.

  17. Sinnary December 8, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    Thanks for the comment Erick. I’ll have to check out that blog.

  18. Steven Bonacorsi December 9, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

    Hi Sinnary,

    Thanks for inviting me to comment on your blog. Yes, i used LinkedIn Groups. I am also a LinkedIn Supergroup Owner of the Lean Six Sigma Group of 157,000+members
    http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Lean-Six-Sigma-37987?gid=37987
    We have over 2000 jobs each week in Lean Six Sigma, Management Consulting, and Leadership roles. On Average we have 200 Discussions and over 400 comments each week. We grow on average 1,200 new members and so a very active group. We allow promotions on our promotions tab and have between 800-1,000 each week.

    Business is booming.

    I welcome the readers of your blog to join our Lean Six Sigma Group of transformational leaders. You can also go to the More… menu and select Subgroups, we have 20.

    Here is a LinkedIn Secret. they allow you to join 50 Main groups but they also allow you to join 50 Subgroups, so you can be a member of a total of 100 groups. This will help members network to those group members they are not directly connected – for free.

    Hope that helps,

    Steve Bonacorsi

    • Sinnary December 9, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

      Steven, that is amazing! I never even thought of the 50 subgroup limit. thanks for sharing.

  19. Joshua December 9, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

    Sinnary,

    Great post. I’ve followed some of the ideas you’ve shared but haven’t put as much thought and dedication as I should. I’ve created two groups “H.R. Managers and CEO’s that care about their 401k’s” and “Business Owners That Reach and Grow Rich”.

    Both groups are resourceful and fun.

    I’ll be spending more time re-thinking the ideas in 2013 as a result of your post.

    • Sinnary December 9, 2012 at 7:49 pm #

      So glad to hear that Joshua. I hope those groups are growing for you. Keep me posted on the progress in the coming year.

  20. Sinnary December 10, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    I’m glad you found it informative Eric. Today’s post is on “how to build it.”

  21. Sinnary December 12, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    Thank you for the feedback Divya and I love that you have provided valuable information on your comment. It’s appreciated.

  22. Paul June December 12, 2012 at 4:51 pm #

    Sinnary,

    Enjoyed your blog on building groups within LinkedIn. LI is quite overlooked at times for how it can be used for new business development. With any group, it must be fun and informative, but what a great way to pull in a lot of people and show off your skills. You can actually apply conversation rates and analyze with other marketing business development tactics to review the lowest cost of acquisition. I have enjoyed the benefits my blog, used as content, in several my groups has improved my SEO rankings and credibility. If you ever want to guest blog on http://www.monkeyzbusiness.com, let me know! Happy holidays!
    Paul June

    • Sinnary December 12, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

      Thank you for the feedback Paul and the tip on Share. I’ll see how to add that. I’m still new to this, haven’t reached 40 posts yet, so learning as I go. I’d love to guest blog. I suppose I need to learn what that means as well. Thanks!

  23. Paul June December 12, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

    FYI – side note…I would add SHARE button to your blog. I am now cutting and pasting into my accounts to give you mad props!

    • Sinnary December 13, 2012 at 11:52 am #

      Thanks for the side note, I added the share buttons right away. Appreciate the advice Paul!

  24. Sinnary December 13, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    I’m glad to hear that David. Best wishes for your continued success and thanks for the feedback.

  25. JW Najarian December 14, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

    Hi Sinnary, looks like I am late to this party! I largely agree with your post, but I have noticed that many of the early group builders have the largest groups. I am the creator of US Veteran on Linkedin and CREPIG both groups have are in the 5 figures.

    I utilize these groups all the time, but as Scot mentioned they are different than they used to be.

    Now you really have to stay on top of moderating your groups.

    I believe groups are great, but Linkedin yanked most of the power from the moderators some time back and I believe if you start a group today, the odds of it going big are slim.

    The are great for small groups you want to run however and mostly should be used for keeping in touch with teams and like minded individuals. Facebook groups work about the same and if you are really serious… Open a Ning Group… My CRE Ning Group has over 4400 members and is a great tool for communicating with your group in many different ways… Ning has true social networking functionality, but you still have to get people to join..

    • Sinnary December 14, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

      JW, thanks for the feedback. Yes, we had a lot more different avenues to communicate with group members in the past. And it is not as easy to build a group now as it was a couple of years back. I’ll have to look at Ning again.

  26. Jamie Richards December 17, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    Hi Sinnary,
    I have joined a few groups that mostly are about the technical aspect of my field of profession, to help my keep up to date on the latest advancements in printing, making it very convenient for me to learn and research my needs.
    The one thing that is different about us is that we have evolved from a full service printshop into a marketing company, that we can help a company explore different ways to get there product into the market. We are always reaching out to our customers and giving them ideas. The most difficult part is getting them to let go of what they are used to doing and trying something different new. The best part is when they do get on board and they see that it was a success.
    I can see by your blog that you are creative in your angle, which gives you an edge in a very competitive profession, using the power of the ever expanding social network. At our company we need to use this tool more effectively as it has become a very useful and powerful way to market what we do.

    • Sinnary December 17, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

      Thanks for sharing Jamie. I think that is excellent that your company has evolved. In today’s communication era, marketing is so expansive and there are so many different aspects. Being able to expand on your services allows your clients more opportunity to realize the potential of your services.

  27. TrinaF December 17, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

    Great points on how to effectively use LinkedIn groups Sinnary! Thanks for sharing!!

    • Sinnary December 17, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

      Thanks for the feedback Trina!

  28. Kamal Grewal December 20, 2012 at 7:16 am #

    Very Nice!!

    • Sinnary December 20, 2012 at 8:35 am #

      Thanks for the compliment Kamal!

  29. Tracey Downey December 26, 2012 at 6:02 am #

    Hi Sinnary! Great post, I comment and belong to several groups but, haven’t started one yet…

    Keep up the great work! You are a Marketing Diva!!

    • Sinnary December 26, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

      Thanks for the compliment Tracey, happy holidays!

  30. Vincent Rosenbalm January 8, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

    Sinnary Have a happy New Years and I just started a golf blog on Constant Contact with friends and customers, and I think you are doing the right thing to interact with your network as it really builds the bridges. And as you know 80% of your work probably comes from about 20% of your clients. And my passion of golf has become my obsession so I can really interact well with those that are part of the golf field for a livelihood! My business Ace Golf, LLC or Ace Company will have a booth at the Portland Golf Show in February and this event has about 10,000 golf fans in attendance, hope to see some of you all there. I like the idea of a golf blog to keep up with those fellow golfers in my network. Have a good day and keep smiling! God bless and a great year! Vince Rosenbalm CEO of Ace Company

    • Sinnary January 8, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

      Thanks for the supportive comment Vincent!

  31. Sinnary January 9, 2013 at 8:23 am #

    Good to hear Dave, hopefully it stimulates some of your activity for 2013. Cheers!

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