Here’s how to migrate a LinkedIn group to your association’s
website so that you can reap more of the benefits.
By Sarah Michaud
Can your association improve social media engagement with
members more effectively through LinkedIn — or by building a private
Gary Rubin and Anne-Margaret Olsson from the Society for
Human Resource Management (SHRM), and Heather McNair from Higher Logic LLC held
a session titled "Implementing a Social Media Strategy: Is LinkedIn your Friend
or Foe?” during this year’s Association Media & Publishing Annual Meeting.
Their presentations centered on ways association staff can improve social media
engagement with members and used SHRM’s HR Connect, an
online community for human resources professionals, as a case study.
Rubin started the session with a discussion about how LinkedIn
can help — but also compete with — association efforts to engage members. He says
that LinkedIn provides a space for association members to network, but it does
not build engagement. If association staffs rely solely on LinkedIn groups for
member networking, they miss opportunities to directly engage members, as well
as relinquish ownership of member lists, content, and analytics for the group. Staff
also may miss out on increased or new sources of revenue because conversations
on LinkedIn do not boost the number of visitors to the association website;
numbers that are needed to justify ad sales.
LinkedIn can still be a tool for engaging members online, he
says — It just shouldn’t be your only tool.
Olsson and McNair followed with a presentation on SHRM’s strategy
for building a private collaboration site, HR Connect, and using LinkedIn to SHRM’s
benefit. They summarized their efforts in 10 steps to success that others can
use to migrate a LinkedIn group to their association’s website:
Step 1: Prepopulate profiles for your private collaboration
site. Integrate information from your AMS database into member profiles to save
members time and effort.
Step 2: Allow members to import information from their
LinkedIn profile. Leverage your association’s LinkedIn group by giving members
a mechanism to import information from their LinkedIn profile to their private
collaboration site profile.
Step 3: Use "single sign-on” to make access to your private
site easy. Allow members to access your private collaboration site with the
same login they use for other online association benefits.
Step 4: Automatically assign interest groups to member
profiles. Use information in the AMS database to assign members to groups based
on interest areas, job titles, etc.
Step 5: Increase content quality with accountability. Require
community members to use their real names. Without anonymity, there’s more
accountability for user-generated content.
Step 6: Generate traffic to the private collaboration site. Make
some of your site’s content public to increase page views. Having open-access
areas on your private site is a great way to bring new people to the site and
generate membership leads.
Step 7: Provide guest access for non-members. Offer trial
memberships or limited access for non-members of your LinkedIn group.
Step 8: Extend learning opportunities on your private site. With
community message boards, create content around your events and meetings to
draw people to your site and to learn more about your attendees ahead of time.
Step 9: Earn non-dues revenue from your private
collaboration site. With a private community, you create an opportunity for additional
advertising and sponsorships, for subscription products, and to promote
Step 10: Draw traffic from LinkedIn to your private site. Don’t
ignore LinkedIn; use it to generate traffic to your online community. Start a
discussion, but drive LinkedIn group members to your private site for
participation. Send out a weekly update on LinkedIn of what group members are
missing on the private site.
Sarah Michaud is associate editor, Optics & Photonics
News, at The Optical Society. Association Media & Publishing sincerely
thanks her for volunteering to cover this Annual Meeting conference session for
our members who were unable to attend.