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A LinkedIn groupie

Ok, I admit it. I’m a LinkedIn groupie. As of this writing, I belong to 44 groups on the social network for professionals. Come to think of it, I may add six more and hit the maximum of 50 after hitting the “Publish” button on this post.

Why am I such a groupie?

Because LinkedIn groups help me connect with strategic audiences — communities  interested in topics of high importance to me, such as: Public Relations, Social Media, Government, Cincinnati and Cancer Survivorship.

This year, I’ve learned  a lot about LinkedIn groups while serving as social media chair for the Cincinnati chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Chris Kemper, the chapter’s 2010 president, challenged us to offer more value to members. He envisioned the Cincinnati PRSA LinkedIn Group as “the place” for local PR pros.

Our Social Media Strategic Plan revolves around getting chapter members (and non-members, for that matter) more involved in the group. We want members to share links to news items, start discussions and post job openings — and, on the other end, read and comment on news items and discussion topics.

We’re counting on members of the chapter’s Leadership Team to get things started. We’re challenging people to add at least one news item or discussion topic a month.

I’ve promoted involvement in the agency’s newsletter, at leadership team meetings… whenever I get the chance.

Things are building slowly, but surely. Right now, we’ve got six discussions going — each with two or three comments. Seven or eight people are posting news items and job openings.

 It’s not as lively as I’d like, but at least it’s a start — a big jump from the days when the group pretty much consisted of people promoting their upcoming events or media coverage they’d gotten for a client.

Outside of PRSA, I have had good success drawing readers to this blog by posting links to relevant topics on group discussion boards. For example, I put last week’s post about my wife’s cancer survivor blog on groups such as Komen Foundation, LiveStrong and American Cancer Society. I posted my writeup about Cincinnati PRSA Media Day on various public relations blogs, drawing record numbers of visitors.

There are many uses for LinkedIn groups. Most importantly, they give me a clear channel to professionals interested in areas of strategic importance to me.

For those who want to learn more about LinkedIn, I’d recommend Neal Schaffer’s excellent book. Here’s my review.

Well, time to search out some more groups. I’m definitely a LinkedIn groupie.

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