Maybe this sounds familiar to you: your organization has a LinkedIn group with a large contingent made up of both members and non-members. Not long ago, your organization created a separate online community, just for members, that you’re very excited about. Your question: how do you turn the nonmembers on LinkedIn into members on your community site?
This is something we hear pretty frequently. Although LinkedIn is a powerful tool in the professional world, it is limited as an online community platform – it's not created for ease of user experience. It's essentially a b2b marketing tool created for LinkedIn and its partners. LinkedIn has its place in the professional world, but your community is better off separate. This is a great opportunity to turn nonmembers who participate on LinkedIn into new community members.
How do you get nonmembers to make that switch? There are a few different tactics you can take to cash in on your LinkedIn group:
Job boards are one of LinkedIn’s strongest features – recruiters and job seekers alike are a big presence on this social network. This is a good card to play and show how much clout you have – take away the job board and make sure your members and nonmembers know that your separate community site features its own robust job board. That will be a large incentive for nonmembers to make the switch and members to get more active on your site.
Rather than letting anyone post on your LinkedIn site, set it up so that everything is by approval only. Don’t post or ignore the comments, though – send people a message thanking them for their contribution and suggesting they post on the members only site. Instead of creating a dormant LinkedIn page, perhaps post a weekly digest to show nonmembers all the discussions and resources they’re missing.
While you’re working on getting people to make the switch from LinkedIn to your site, make sure that nonmembers can be guest members for a certain amount of time (three to six months is a good time frame). This gives them full access and lures them in. When their guest membership is close to the cutoff, they’re hooked and will most likely sign up for permanent access.
One legitimate reason for some nonmembers’ hesitation to move platforms is that they’ve spent hours curating LinkedIn profiles. The thought of creating another thorough and professional profile is not only daunting, but unrealistic for many busy people. That’s why creating and emphasizing the one-click easy import is so important – show people how simple it is to take all of the LinkedIn information and copy it into new profiles.
This is a bit of a tough love strategy. But at this point, your community should be robust enough that the LinkedIn group just isn’t necessary. In fact, it may be a detractor since it gives nonmembers certain benefits you may not want them to have. Don’t just pull the rug out from underneath everyone – give a heads up and a hard deadline. Make signing up for your community quick and easy, and suggest becoming a guest member for a few months. You don’t want to burn any bridges or be too harsh, but the reality is the move will be good for everyone.
Have any suggestions, tips or tactics to add? Comment below to get the conversation started.