How Using Ecademy Groups Can Grow Your Business is one of the most popular and influential business-focussed social networking websites. Whilst the bulk of traffic is from the UK, an increasing volume comes from the US and other countries. Ecademy can be a powerful social media tool for growing your business contacts and professional profile.

One way to focus your use of Ecademy is to set up a special interest “Group”. This can be used for a variety of purposes. Why not use it to advertise an event, connect your customers or as a forum for your networking contacts to stay in touch? You may even want to use it to share business advice and expertise, to promote your business and what it can offer or as a private place in which to work on projects with your network.

Get Started

Firstly, you’ll need to create your personal Ecademy account. Once this is set up, you can click through to the Groups page and ‘Create New Group’. You can use the editing pages to advertise your business and events plus invite contacts.

Which Keywords?

Remember that the Title of your group is incredibly important as it will be visible in search engines including Google.

Therefore, include business keywords in the title to give it more of a chance of being found by people that need your help, expertise or services. Select keywords relevant to your audience, target market or industry so that you can be identified as a specialist or thought-leader on your hot topic. Pick a niche or topic which allows you to demonstrates your expertise to your target audience. You can also include geographical area in your keywords, if you are targeted a particular region. It’s advisable to do some research before selecting keywords, such as by viewing other successful Ecademy Groups, industry forums or Google External Keywords Tool for popularity of topics and keywords. Or ask your potential members or customers in a quick survey which niche subjects would be the most valuable for learning and connecting in an online Group.

Looks are Important

Make sure that your Group’s homepage is attractive and informative as it’s essentially an advert of what you are offering. Add pictures and make it a welcoming and interesting home page. If you are new to HTML, ask for advice to help the presentation be the best it can be. Ecademy networkers are extremely helpful online! Group meetings are promoted in the Ecademy newsletters so a wide range of people will get to see them. This is why the presentation of them online is highly important.

Build your Group Numbers

A tip from prolific Ecademists and social media networkers Andrew Widgery and Phil Calvert: once you have created your group, the best thing to do is to advertise it to your clients with a warm, introductory letter attached in a Word document, expressing why you have started this group and the benefits of membership to them.

Post this message to the profiles of those you want to add on Ecademy, inviting them to join the Group. When they do join, be courteous, prompt and professional, thanking them for their support.

Continue to add new and attractive content to the group via threads and event pages. The more there is for people to look at, the more likely they are to be interested and join your group.

Host Suitable Meetings & Events

Your group will not just be an online forum; for effective business networking, it pays to meet in person or Group, so organise meetings or events to get connected offline. This offers you the opportunity to build rapport, relationship and group synergy. Make sure that you find an appropriate venue in your geographical local. For one-to-one meetings, pubs and cafes are often convenient meeting points, or select a hotel lobby that reflects the values of your business. Ask other Ecademy Group members their local gems to meet.

Increase Your Circle of Influence

Setting up an Ecademy group can be of huge benefit to your professional profile, credibility and visibility in your niche or industry. Get into the habit of updating your Ecademy Group at least weekly, just as you would any other social media marketing channel.

You could also publicise your Group’s activities in the local media which will provide you with widespread coverage and potential new members. Send a press release to your local media, to inspire free coverage for the growth in social media networking for your local or industry niche.

You can generate connections with people from all kinds of industries who are interested in what you have to offer. Your group will be able to reach people you, who would never have bumped into day-to day meaning you will increase your circle of influence, and be able to help others too.

Who knows where your group could lead if you’re consistent? It has the potential to bring you more business referrals, new contacts and a wealth of experience in facilitating online discussion and offline events to your target audience. It has the potential to open doors to fresh contacts and meetings that can help your business grow. There’s only one way to find out if it’s the right tool for you. Set up your Ecademy Group today as part of your business social media marketing strategy and get networking.

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