Community Building on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a platform that can be utilized in a variety of ways. In addition to increasing brand awareness and sales, it is an excellent resource for building and cultivating a community. In a recent USA Manufacturing Hour chat on Twitter, host Ingor van Rooi, the Networking Ninja and also of We’ve Got This Admin in Canada, led a discussion about ways to build a community using LinkedIn.

Defining Community

The discussion began with participants sharing their definition of community.

Whitney Koch from Welker, Inc. in Texas said, “A community is a group of people with some kind of shared connection.

Julia Gardner from Hourly – Insurance & Payroll in California replied to Koch saying, “We're a community, right??”

Erin Courtenay from Earthling Interactive in Wisconsin said,A community is an interdependent collection of living things”

Gardner said, “People in regular contact that support each other!”

Ruby Rusine from Social Success Marketing in California said,A community is a group of people that share a common interest. People work together to achieve common goals.”

Dana Engelbert, a Marketer from Mississippi said, “People who share a common interest, values or culture.”

Pavel Stepanov from VirtuDesk said,A community was never built alone. It's a group of people working together to support each other!”

Gardner replied to Stepanov, “Couldn't agree more!”

Dan Bigger from Optessa Inc in New Jersey said, “A group of people that share like-minded opinions that come together to join each other in furthering a cause in which they all believe in.”

Brett from FreightPOP said, “A community can be many things! It can be a group in a physical location, like a neighborhood/town/city, or a group that is defined by a common interest, such as all of us here in #USAMfgHour!”


David Crysler from The Crysler Club in Michigan said, “Friends helping friends as my good friend Russ Hedge would say!”

Amy.M.Anderson said, “Traditionally a community is a group of people in a given geographic area. In our global digital world, a community is defined more on shared interests, goals, and values.”

Nigel Packer from Pelatis Online in Wales, UK said, “A community is any group of people who come together for a common cause or objective, from which a culture and traditions evolve.”

Gail Robertson from Gail Now in Canada said, “Community is … a “feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” A Google definition. But a good ‘un!!!”

Stepanov said, “A community is a group of people with the same interests and goals.”

Kati McDermith, the Manufacturing Hype Girl in Illinois said, “I think community can mean many thing to different people at different times. I have a local community, a social community, a church community, etc... all are a group of people I am a part of... like #USAMfgHour

Courtenay added in “I'm going to be a weirdo and say that a community can include people you don't necessarily agree with or feel in-common with, but circumstances put you in a position to rely on one another.”

Anderson replied, “Yes! And sometimes, time and working towards a common goal helps develop unlikely friendships.”

Robertson added “Not weird at all! I enjoy having people with different viewpoints - often we have same goals as in working to build a better world… We just have different ways to get there. Thank you for highlighting this- it’s been very true in my life. I thrive on diversity!”

Koch then chimed in with “I love being able to talk things out and brainstorm with other people. It really helps you work through problems and come up with great ideas.”

Mandy from Tech Financial said, “Community to me is a network of friends sharing and practicing their purposes to bring and maintain awareness”

Emily Kite from Obsidian Manufacturing Industries, Inc. in Illinois said, “A community is a group of people that may have the same interests!”

LearnX Leadership said, “The community is a group of any people who have at least one common value and/or work together to reach a common goal”

Host van Rooi said, “A community is a group (of people) that has something in common.”


Why Is Building a Community Important?

Next, participants shared their thoughts on why it is important to build a community. Many had a lot to say about the importance of community building.

Koch said “It's important to build/have a community because no man is an island! Life is hard, and we all need a support system.”

Rusine said, “It's important because it can open doors to new relationships, friendships, job opportunities, events, and organizations.”

Courtenay said “Building community" can mean either literally adding numbers or strengthening the ties within the community. Both are investments that make the community more resistant to change or challenges.”

Host Van Rooi replied, “WOW!!! Really great answer.”

Bigger said, “Loaded question. To help you and help them. To learn from each other. To introduce you to others. To spread your common interests and so on and so forth”

Brett said “Building your community allows not only your community to grow, but it opens up the doors for others who may feel alone or lost. It's hard to put a price on something as impactful as that.”

McDermith said, “to build awareness and credibility as well as social proof”

Engelbert said, “Community provides support and feedback.”

Crysler said, “Trying to solve problems on your own is stressful. Building a community allows you to surround yourself with a support system.”

Stepanov said, “As the saying says, "No man is an island", we can't live on our own alone. Imagine marketing to yourself or having no one to talk to when you're sad. We all need company.”

Robertson said “We achieve much when we work together. Others can open doors for us; Others can brainstorm with us. Others see things we may miss. Every opportunity that has come my way stems from community & connections - @LinkedIN (and @Twitter) have helped online & IRL”

Koch replied to Roberson, “I love being able to talk things out and brainstorm with other people. It really helps you work through problems and come up with great ideas.”

Host Van Rooi added “Connection is imperative to us really living up to our full potential!”

Adam Baker from Schooley Mitchell in Pennsylvania said, “From a biological view, we actually need community for our mental well-being and building our community allows us to feel safe. From a professional view, building a community provides insights, opportunities, and outlets that aren't available on your own.”

Rusine agreed with Baker saying, “That's very true, Adam. Even on virtual spaces, we need a community.”

Stepanov said “Communities help us feel supported and loved”

Packer said, “Stage one of any community is small about 10 to 15 people. As that community develops it grows to around 150 to 175. After that, breakaway communities with the same culture and objectives form away from the first community. Christianity started with 12 apostles.”

Mandy said “The human need for connection and belonging is at core. Connecting with our community takes care of ourselves and our shared goals or common interests. And let's be honest... maintaining our sanity!!”

Kite said, “Building up your community allows you to have multiple connections with individuals in interests like yours and even not like you.”

Host van Rooi said, “Building community cultivates a sense of belonging and connection with others.”

She continued, “Building community exposes one to different people and ideas; helps you learn and grow.”


Why LinkedIn?

Participants then shared their thoughts on why using LinkedIn is a great tool to grow a community.

Rusine said, “LinkedIn is where people go to build professional networks, identify potential employees, find new clients, build relationships, and more!”

McDermith said “I use LinkedIn primarily because that is where my audience is... the people I want to meet and talk to and learn from and do fun data nerd stuff with!”

Brett said, “LinkedIn is a powerful tool for building a community, because you can create groups and make your community easy to find and join. You can also message users directly and meet new people, have conversations, and schedule meetings, all within one platform!”

Courtenay said, “one of the most appealing qualities of LinkedIn is that it is driven by shared success. That's the most powerful accelerator on the platform (vs others that use anger or bragging to drive participation).”

Koch replied to Courtenay saying, “Oooh, this is a very good point! It really changes the whole vibe of the platform too.”

Gardner added “Linkedin is a great way to connect with other people and add them to your community or merge with theirs, it's also a great platform to share value!”

Engelbert said, “LinkedIn is great for joining and building multiple communities based on your interests. I belong to PR groups and my university's alumni group, among others. I also get to choose how and when I interact.”

Gardner replied to Engelbert saying, “That's so true, gets the conversation going between many groups!”

Bigger said “That is where business is done and where people are to connect and learn from and connect with.”

Koch said “There are MILLIONS of people on LinkedIn. Since it's often seen as the more professional social media platform, a lot of people you already know or would like to know are there. That really sets it up well as a knowledge-sharing platform.”

Baker said, “Generally speaking, LinkedIn members are typically very supportive, even if you reach out to someone you don't know. The interactions are more positive and for those of us working alone most of the day, it provides camaraderie equal to the office environment.”

Stepanov said, “On a professional side, the platform can help you connect with other professionals in the same industry. Aside from learning from them, you are also capable of building a network of professionals and establishing partnerships with them.”

Sales Leads added to the chat, “It's a great place to nurture relationships. A place where we can all be professionals and keep personal out. Our business safe space.”

Paulie Rose from RCF Technologies in Missouri said, “LinkedIn is THE BEST place to build a community related to business and beyond!! It is a platform where people are serious about making authentic connections. A platform where one can find support from others in their industry, potential customers and more.

Packer said, “As has been said by others LInkedIn has the tools for creating a community. We do not use the group "Fans of #USAMfgHour Chat" enough.

Robertson said, “A few reasons… 1. LinkedIn works well with Twitter! 2. An online business card to start!! Then start engaging with others 3. It is a business focussed platform so you can share less personal info 4. You can talk to Ingor vanRooi & get coaching!!”

Kite said, “Using LinkedIn can help you grow your community with like-minded people which can teach you new things (example: current trends) but also learning new things from communities that are different than yours.”

Host van Rooi said, “LinkedIn is the most trusted Social Media Platform.”

She continued, “It allows you to meet people from all walks of life, regardless of your or their location.”

She added, “There are approximately 800 million users on LinkedIn, so many opportunities to will find your tribe.”


Advice and Tips

Next participants shared any advice or tips for someone who is just getting started with building their community on LinkedIn.

Brett said, “Make sure to fill out ALL the fields you possibly can. This helps LinkedIn push your community to the top when people search for your community/relevant keywords. Also take the time to keep the group active and alive so people don't hesitate to join in!”

Engelbert said, “Start small and slow. Don't necessarily build the largest community but build a community that is a resource. Post and comment on others' posts.”

Koch replied to Engelbert saying, “Definitely! You want a community of quality.”

Bigger said, “Just join in. Comment until you get comfortable. Share others ideas you believe in with your own thoughts, Post when comfortable, and attend as many events as you can that fit your goals and allow you to network with others.”

Host Van Rooi agreed saying, “YESSSSS, Dan...Just do it!”

Rusine said, “Make sure your profile has everything people need to know about you, professionally. Connect with people and engage with them. Follow business pages that interest you. Join groups, too!”

Host, Van Rooi replied to Rusine “We do thrive when we connect! It's magical”

Baker said, “I feel like I'm still just starting to build my community, so I'm excited to see the thoughts.”back-female-pointing-screen-icons

Host, Van Rooi replid to Baker, “Some awesome insights shared here for sure, Adam! We can all learn from each other.”

Sales Leads said, “If its for customer ICP, then find a good one that is your best target. Then after a connection, go to their connections and start from there to grow the base. Then wash, rinse and repeat!”

Gardner said, “Engage, engage, engage!”

McDermith said “Be strategic! Having a thousand connections means nothing if you aren't communicating with them in some way... otherwise you are just showing off”

Rose said “Register and attend events. Connect with other attendees and begin a discussion about something you heard/learned at the event.”

Mandy said, “We are actively in this mode so looking forward to all the comments. My method is similar to Dan Bigger advice - start by starting and know that others are looking to connect - it always feels good when someone reaches out to connect - be the one!”

Packer said, “Think about the people you want to build your network/community with. Create a profile that reflects this. seek out and connect with them.”

Kite said, “I don't know much about this besides, being engaging with your connections to make sure they don't feel like you are trying to make a transaction with them.”

Host van Rooi said, “Start with the foundation (Optimizing your Profile), then use my 3 Cs (Connect, Communicate, Collaborate).”



You can’t build community without communicating. How can we communicate on social media? Participants shared their thoughts.

Rose said, ““Like” someone’s content. Comment on a post. Endorse someone’s skills. Leave a recommendation. Make an introduction.

Sales Leads said, “It requires dedication to make time. Then, be sure to tailor your messages. The engagement gets higher. So do the leads.”

Bigger said, “Engage and post, Connect, and then take the conversations offline. That is how you really get to know people and how you can help one another. Relationships start with conversation.”

Koch replied to Bigger, “Post your own content--text, images, videos, polls, and comments on others' posts. Send direct messages-text, voice, video. Participate in Live events and be active in the comments. Like and share others' posts.”

Courtenay said, “Do: Comment on posts with encouragement and questions. Don't: Spam in-mail with requests for business.”

Kirsten Austin from DCSC Inc. in Missouri chimed in and said, “I think you can share posts that are educational or thoughtful. You can try and find new connections each day. You can also share your networks posts to help one another. Just don't do those canned DM's when you don't even know someone, IMHO.

Rusine said, “Practice social media kindness. Be supportive and appreciative of others. Be genuine & sincere in your engagements.”

Koch replied to Rusine saying “Genuineness/Authenticity is really important!”

Austin chimed in, “Truth!”

Gardner said, “Interact with other people's content by commenting, liking, re-sharing, asking questions, and connecting!”

Koch said, “Post your own content--text, images, videos, polls, and comments on others' posts. Send direct messages-text, voice, video. Participate in Live events and be active in the comments. Like and share others' posts.”

McDermith said, “video messages, chat messages, commenting, live events (my personal fav)”

Baker said “I'll answer with a confession. We can communicate consistently - which I am terrible at. Sometimes, even virtually, as an introvert the interactions can be draining. But a good member of the community comments and posts consistently.”

Koch replied to Baker, “I'm introverted as well and agree that too many interactions are often overstimulating. I do a lot better virtually though.”

Baker responded back to Koch saying “I just left a 7 day in-person conference with great people...but I could sleep for 3 straight days now!”

Roberton said, “Start by talking with people with common interests - even similar roles! Think of how you meet people in real life and follow some similar things online….”

Engelbert added, “Be helpful. Offer connections, potential solutions to challenges, points-of-view. Be respectful. Don't just send an empty connection - explain why you're connecting. Put yourself out there. Share your own content.”

Austin agreed with Engelbert saying, “Piggyback off of Dana!”

Packer answered with “Be part of the 1% that create the content and the 9% that share and comment on the content. It is the conversation that builds the community. Don't be the 90% who just read and run.”

Bigger said to Packer, “Agree completely Nigel”

Mandy said, “Still fairly new to this, but am exercising the same values as when connecting and communicating in person, by being intentional and authentically me.”

Host van Rooi said, “It starts with the message you send when you request to connect, then by supporting their content, as well as sending DMs. Always strive to build relationships and remember: authenticity is key!”


Let’s Connect

The chat wrapped up with participants sharing recommendations for someone to follow who shares great content or a great group to join that could benefit those who follow #USAMfgHour on LinkedIn.

Rusine recommended, “These are our two communities: #USAMfgHour & #BldgREChat.”

Bigger added to the chat “ Bonus: @B2Btail, @ExpertStress, @exityourway, @YourBrandMrktng. That is a small list, but there are plenty depending on what you are interested in.

McDermith recommends, “Lately I have been digging the state of steel reports from @WorthingtonInds. I also love posts by @mailshakeapp.”

Baker said, “highly recommend Josh Braun. He is excellent at sales and communication, but approaches it from a problem solving perspective and helps you really keep your client's best interests at heart.”

Host van Rooi said, “Leadership First

She continued, “Virtual Global Tea-Break Networking Group.”



About #USAMfgHour

Anyone who champions U.S. manufacturing can join in on a new conversation each week on Twitter using the hashtag #USAMfgHour. The chat starts at 11 a.m. Pacific Standard Time/2 p.m. Eastern. Share positive blog posts, helpful articles, news, important information, accomplishments, events, and more with other manufacturers and supporters from throughout the country.

Are you interested in hosting a #USAMfgHour chat? Contact organizers @DanBiggerUsaMfg, @DCSCinc, @SocialSMktg and @Radwell_Intl


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