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LinkedIn Groups vs. Google+ Communities: B2B Strategy & Optimization

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LinkedIn Groups vs. Google+ Communities: B2B Strategy & Optimization

Q & A with   Tom Edwards, VP of Digital Strategy & Innovation

For a number of our B2B clients both past and  present, LinkedIn has been the primary tool for lead acquisition and  creating contextual connections on behalf of the brand .  Over the years, TMA has engaged with both LinkedIn groups as well as LinkedIn Answers as part of our B2B strategies.

What are the opportunities and  benefits of using each platform?

There are many benefits to having a vibrant LinkedIn group and  through May 5th, 2013 over 1.5 million groups have been created.  By creating a direct connection with consumers in a relevant and  contextual manner, a LinkedIn group can create value for both the individual and  the brand .  But it’s worth pointing out that a vibrant group requires a sound strategy that includes attracting members, keeping them engaged with relevant content and  staying top of mind.

This can prove to be a difficult task and  the decision to create a brand  group vs. industry topic group is also critical in terms of how you would approach recruitment.

When it comes to Google+ and  the growth in popularity for B2B organizations, the structure and  type of engagement will differ from what you’ll see on LinkedIn.  There are opportunities to broadcast relevant messaging via a brand s feed or create intimate points of engagement via a Hangout.  There is also the direct correlation between Google+ and  search.  With the intersection of social and  search, Google+ can coincide with the greater Google ecosystem (adwords, youtube, etc.) to drive additional “discoverability” on behalf of B2B organizations.

What are some best practices for developing a community strategy?

When I look to create a B2B social strategy, I will review the consumer target and  behaviors, core business objectives, brand  goals for the campaign and  then map that to a channel specific strategy. If the “community” is bigger within Google+, the goal would be to optimize that experience and  create direct opportunities to tie Google+ into the goals and  objectives of the brand .  This could include connecting the B2B’s domain via direct connect, optimizing the Google+ profile and  focus on engagement via a comprehensive content strategy based on public facing posts and  driving referral traffic.

If the “community” of targets is more aligned with LinkedIn, we would devise a strategy for how to maximize that channel that may include optimizing the company presence including updates, leverage targeted ads, creation of topical groups, in mail etc.

One important point to consider is that Google+ does not currently support post-level amplification. This simply means that the core driver is to get the user to engage with the Google+ overall brand  presence vs. being able to amplify specific content types which can be key to driving acquisition. With LinkedIn’s rich media, the ability to create highly-targeted campaigns that are relevant can be a key driver for those looking for larger targeted acquisition numbers.  But LinkedIn may not be the ideal platform to create an on-going dialogue with an individual.  Each platform has its pros and  cons, and  for most B2B strategy, it’s a mix of platforms with each playing a specific role to meet organizational objectives.