Jeff Simmons, who runs the B2B Social Media group on LinkedIn, and whom I really like, posted a question the other day that garnered over 39 comments. I was number 40 when I decided to turn it into a blog post since I had so much to say about it. It's a legitimate question and a good one too.
The comments that came in were of a similar flavor, like this one,
"when I see this tactic employed, it mostly seems to be for self-promotion...and that tends to turn me off from reading the discussion or following the post creator."
I'd just like to add my two cents here. I write a daily social media blog that mostly focuses on educating people/businesses through tutorials, tips and tricks. I also am a heavy LinkedIn user and belong to 50+ groups and subgroups and post status updates often. As a social media blogger, I have social media sharing icons on my blog that allow me to click "share to LinkedIn" and I can post it to all 50+ groups if I want to in just one click. Now, of course I don't post to all 50+ groups because every post is not going to benefit each group. However, on any given day I do share the blog post to probably 5-10 groups where I think it would be applicable and useful to folks. It saves me a lot of time and I always respond to comments when I get them. So is that being self-promotional when I think I'm being helpful or educational?
What I do think is offensive is when people post multiple times in one day or who don't respond to comments (post and run).
The more important question I think that needs to be addressed is exactly what is considered "promotional" content? Because most social media bloggers I know aren't selling anything, they're giving away their expertise on their blog (example: Heidi Cohen). If it's a catchy headline and it's well written, then wouldn't anyone enjoy reading those posts again from those people?
I don't know about you but I use LinkedIn for industry news. I don't necessarily have time to look and read every single blog that is served up to me from Bloglovin or Feedly or other blog aggregators. And just as group managers might be tired of seeing the same post in multiple groups, I'm also tired of reading the same old stuff from the same people.
I believe that we have a partial solution to this issue. This is what LinkedIn's new Top Contributors feature hopes to mitigate, albeit with the power being in the hands of the Group manager. Which is why I think every Group Manager should be explicit in what they consider promotional or spam content. I also think they should cut bloggers a break. It's not the blogger's fault that they belong to the same groups. The blogger is just looking for distribution and for many they are their own marketing team. I don't think they should be punished for marketing their content well.
Does auto-posting to multiple LinkedIn Groups work? Of course it works. Last year I heavily promoted on LinkedIn and my blog had twice as many hits as this year, where I hardly promoted my content across multiple groups. However, it not only increased traffic, but it increased RFP's (requests for proposals), help me develop new relationships, and garnered a few new clients.
What are your thoughts on this subject?