LinkedIn Groups Offer Industry Networking

imagesLinkedIn groups are typically created in an effort to provide a forum for like-minded people to interact and network. What if an ingredient company created a group open to the public that was specific to its company (products/services) or was specific to a product category (like flour)? I haven’t seen any companies taking this approach, but I think it’s a great opportunity.

This is the idea behind our successful LinkedIn group, Food Ingredient Marketing Communications (FIMC). This group has attracted hundreds of industry professionals, including senior marketing executives, R&D leaders and culinary innovators.

The content for these groups is endless. Post about new product introductions, recipe and application ideas, how to address technical issues, benefits of specific ingredients, etc. At first the group may be more of a push strategy, but eventually, as potential customers join the group your customers will start to participate in the conversation. Ideally they would post on a problem they’ve been experiencing, an ingredient they’ve been looking for, an application solution they’ve been missing, etc.

Not only will you build a database of quality potential customers you will be able to respond to them one-on-one, make an acquaintance and hopefully create some business. Like any social media approach ROI will not be immediate. By addressing your audiences’ needs, you prove to them that you are transparent and reachable. And you will probably learn something you never knew about your product/service, allowing you to either come up with something even better or decide to fix the issue.