B2B Community Building – Your Competitive Advantage on LinkedIn
Building a LinkedIn Community for Your B2B Business
The power of B2B communities on LinkedIn can’t be overstated, as they offer many opportunities to forge meaningful connections, share industry insights, and foster long-lasting business relationships.
In my experience helping businesses build B2B communities, I’ve learned that communities do not happen by accident. They need a strategy, a commitment of resources and perhaps most importantly, time.
In this newsletter, I’ll share my insights and lessons learned to help you create a solid and supportive LinkedIn community for your business.
1. Define Your Community Purpose and Target Audience
A B2B Community is not just something you dive into. A clear purpose and target audience are crucial for creating a thriving B2B community on LinkedIn. Be specific about your objectives, such as generating leads, building brand awareness, or sharing industry knowledge.
Additionally, determine the ideal audience for your community, including their job roles, industries, and interests.
A community is built around the wants and needs of your target audience. As the saying goes, “birds of a feather flock together.” Individuals are looking for like-minded people to spend time with, and they must have a common cause. The community purpose of the group will be the glue that binds the community together.
I recently read Mark’s new book and especially enjoyed how he distinguished the three key differences between an audience/followers and a community:-
1) Connection to each other – communities have in-depth connections between members.
2) Purpose – Like-minded people will gather together to bond over a common interest.
3) Relevance – a community can pivot and adjust to members’ needs, but if it is to survive, it must stay relevant.
Foster Meaningful Conversations and Encourage Engagement
I have learned that engagement is crucial in building a thriving B2B community, so create a welcoming environment that encourages members to share their thoughts and experiences. Don’t expect this to happen immediately. It will take time for the group to participate actively.
I recommend encouraging open discussions and fostering belonging by posting thought-provoking questions, sharing valuable resources, and actively responding to comments. Highlight members to show that you notice them.
One of the downsides to B2B communities is that they can often attract those that spam comments. Monitor this actively and reinforce the community rules. Having spam content run rife is a surefire way to turn community members away.
Leverage LinkedIn Features and Tools
Regarding B2B community-building tools on LinkedIn, the most obvious place is LinkedIn Groups. You can use Groups to create a dedicated space for your B2B community. eg Product Pages can have Groups attached to them. Check out the Canva Product Community here.
LinkedIn Groups still have much room for improvement of functionality and visibility. Some changes are coming through, and I’ll continue to monitor for changes.
The not-so-obvious place for your LinkedIn community hiding in plain sight is your LinkedIn Company Page. Here’s why I encourage my B2B clients to create their community around their LinkedIn Company Page.
- More functionality and visibility than Groups e.g multiple page admins, update work experience
- New tools make it easier for brands to actively participate in conversations e.g. Comment as your Company Page, Pages following Pages
- You can access the full range of content types, including newsletters
- Leverage your existing LinkedIn Company Page followers
Prioritise Authenticity and Transparency
In a B2B community, authenticity and transparency are vital to building trust and credibility. Share genuine insights, be open about your successes and challenges, and encourage community members to do the same. By fostering an atmosphere of honesty and openness, your community will flourish and become a valuable resource for all its members.
Building a thriving B2B community on LinkedIn requires thoughtful planning, consistent engagement, and a commitment to authenticity. By defining your community’s purpose and audience, fostering meaningful conversations, leveraging LinkedIn’s features and tools, and prioritising authenticity, you can create a vibrant, supportive community that will benefit your business and its members for years.
One last piece of advice – don’t rush to monetise too quickly. It’s a recipe for disaster.
Michelle J Raymond is the Founder and LinkedIn B2B Strategist and Corporate Trainer at B2B Growth Co – LinkedIn B2B Strategy & Training. A globally recognised LinkedIn Pages expert, co-authoring the world’s first book on Company Pages, international best-seller ‘Business Gold – Book‘. Closely followed by her second book ‘THE LINKEDIN BRANDING BOOK by #MichelleSquared’
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