What Makes a Vibrant LinkedIn Group? So Far, So Good

Paul Simon Chief Communicator, SharperContent

Posted on December 20th 2011

What Makes a Vibrant LinkedIn Group? So Far, So Good

ImageMilestones are the measuring sticks that so often make news, so let’s take a moment to reflect on the 60,000th member joining the Social Media Today group on LinkedIn. 

That milestone happens today, Dec. 20, 2011, probably around mid-morning. Regardless of whether you consider it a novelty, statistically significant or just another number, it reflects positively on an interactive community that clearly brings value to those who participate.

Started in March 2008 as a way to share the buzz about social media and its implications for business, the group is growing rapidly. Discussion curation and membership approval required to participate in those discussions facilitates informative conversation about social media issues and practices.   

The Holy Grail of any online community, of course, is the ability to deliver interactivity. The 179 comments posted last week in the Social Media Today group and more than 100 daily requests for membership show all the signs are pointing in the right direction. It clearly also helps that we keep a sharp eye out for self-promotional content – and remove it.

Who are the group’s members?Image

  • They come from throughout the world, from countries of all sizes
  • 7% reside in New York City, 5% in the San Francisco area, 3% in London, 3% in Los Angeles, 3% in Chicago and 3% in Toronto, Canada.
  • Jobs: 15% are in marketing, 9% consider themselves entrepreneurs, 9% have media/communications roles, 8% are consultants, 7% work in sales and 5% are in art and design
  • Industry: 24% work in the marketing industry, 9% in an Internet capacity, 8% in information technology and services, 8% in public relations and 6% in online media
  • 25% are at senior level, 15% are company owners, 14% are managers, 14% are at entry level, and 12% consider themselves directors

Why are they here?

I posed that question as a discussion. A sampling of (excerpted) responses:

  • Gary: “Continuous education while attempting to get new clients & incumbent accounts more involved in social, mobile interactive media marketing.”
  • Glenn: “To keep up-to-date on social media because it is continually changing and improving.”
  • Graham: “I think that it’s paramount to keep up with the changes to social media which are happening at lightning speed. There are those individuals that appear to understand all the nuances, as well, that I’m anxious to learn from.”
  • Steven: “My business partner and I are in the middle of launching what could possibly be the biggest social media video marketing network ever … I find lots of great info here in this group.”
  • Matthew: “It has been a fantastic way to learn from some true social media experts. The quality of interaction and practicality of information is top-notch.“
  • Kim: “I am a new member and, like others here, I hope to shorten the learning curve with this quickly changing marketing medium. Also, I am hoping to add to this site by posting the results of my experiences.”
  • Ed: “We are not tech gurus but we are good at helping our clients with the business aspect of selling and buying businesses. We realized that the ‘social’ market is not a fad. It’s an exciting new trend for our next generation.”

Social Media Today recently converted to an open group on LinkedIn. That means anyone can read the discussion or go to promotions and job opportunities. But commenting or starting discussions still requires approval and we approve just a small percentage of the submissions – mostly blogs – that arrive every day.

Laying ground rules, maintaining a personal touch, incorporating a carefully monitored news feed, setting out a clear purpose, even smacking spammers – these are some of the best practices advocated for growing active online communities. It’s not quite that easy, but obviously this group has struck aImage chord with a niche audience. Neither does it hurt to rank right at the top in a Google search for “social media” (try it and see what I mean).

By the way, the 60,000 members of Social Media Today would form the third-largest city in the state of Nebraska, behind Omaha and Lincoln. On football Saturdays, Memorial Stadium at the University of Nebraska would top that at about 85,000.  As a diehard Nebraska fan, I guess football still trumps social media.

UPDATE: Congratulations to Tomislav Gavazzi in Croatia, the 60,000th member of this group!


LinkedIn image: Sheila Scarborough/Flickr(creative commons)




Paul Simon

Chief Communicator, SharperContent

Paul Simon is the sole proprietor of SharperContent, providing the best in content and content editing and in webinar management. He previously was a senior site curator for Social Media and a manager of the Social Media Today group on LinkedIn. He previously was content manager of Candogo.com and editor for several other online sales communities. A former bureau chief for The Associated Press wire service, he also was employed as an editor at the Denver Post.

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This is a thrill. It's a vibrant and engaged group and we're grateful for the membership.