5 Tips for Networking within Trade Association Communities on LinkedIn

1.      Connect Emotionally
A great way to create attention and interest in your association, which will encourage networking, is by making your mission known to your audience. Take our client, the Grain Foods Foundation for example; the popularity of fad diets that eliminate grain foods is high and can lead to a number of health issues. Grain Foods used their LinkedIn page as a platform to inform industry members about current issues while also connecting with consumers emotionally in discussing their overall health. Which perfectly leads into our next tip…

2.    Curate Content Based on Your Audience
Your association page will most likely experience a range of visitors. You will have visitors who know nothing about your association, others in similar industries and your current follower base. It’s important to have a steady mix of content that would appeal to each of these audiences. Emotional content is great for pulling in interest, facts and figures are intriguing to industry members and updates, news and stories about your association’s work keeps followers engaged. If you’re beginning a concerted effort to grow your association’s presence online and within an industry, we recommend creating a monthly content calendar. This will help you visualize the balance of content and who you’re addressing with each post. 

people networking in various ways

3.    Stay Current
The worst thing an association’s social page can do is go silent. This sends an indefinite “away” message to anyone that visits your page. Your handy monthly content calendar will help you map out regular posts on your LinkedIn. Another key part to staying current is posting timely content. If you see something online and it relates to your association or industry, share it and start a conversation. Visitors to your page will feel encouraged seeing frequent and timely content.

4.    Get Involved with Groups
You won’t be able to do so from your association’s business page but as long as you have your personal profile up to date, you’re good to go! This could be something you or other members of your association dedicate time to. Join groups that are relevant to your work and your overall mission. Create conversations in LinkedIn Groups by posting articles, asking questions or sharing your association’s work. When people see who has posted, they will also be able to see your title and/or depending on what you have listed, your place of work. Engagement in groups not only grows your personal brand but it creates a bridge between similar association members and industry professionals.

5.    Grow Your Network
Our last tip might seem a bit obvious but you’d be surprised how little time people spend growing their network. This is another tip that is meant more for your personal page rather than a company page, but since you represent your association, it goes hand in hand. Connecting with past coworkers, bosses, mentors, professors, classmates, etc. not only adds an additional person to your network but bring you and your association to your connection’s connections pages. Engage with your community of people and brands that you follow by reacting, commenting and sharing their posts.

That’s the beauty of networking. One connection can lead to a handful of others and before you know it you’ve expanded your audience further than you thought possible. LinkedIn provides several tools and a networking space for trade associations. Let the platform expand your brand to promote your message, attract new members and keep current members informed and engaged in your common mission.

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