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My Linked In Group, Trainer Talk now has over 1200 members and is growing rapidly by the day.

Every single day I’m approving between 10 and 20 members who have heard about Trainer Talk and want to be part of it. It seems that now the Group has got a large membership it’s becoming easier and easier to grow it as people are attracted to LinkedIn Groups that are active, lively and interesting.

But it wasn’t always like this.

I set the Group up about 18 months ago and had to put in a lot of hard work to encourage people to join.

Here’s some of the things I did to get my first 100 members:

1. I created the Group and gave it a name. I listed it on the Group Directory with a description of what it was about and who it was for. I posted a Welcome Message on the Discussion Board.

3. I set the Group up so that people have to be approved by me first if they want to join. I then wrote a Personal Message which new members receive when I approve them. The message welcomes them to the group as well as stressing the importance of participating in discussions.

4. I started posting discussions on a regular basis on topics that I figured would be of interest to freelance trainers, ie What is Your Biggest Challenge As A Freelance Trainer, What Do You Do When Clients Won’t Make A Decision, What Low Cost Marketing Ideas Would You Recommend and so on.

5. I went through all my existing Linked In connections and all my other connections and sent them a personal invitation to join the group.

6. At the same time I set up a Twitter account and started regularly tweeting about the Group.

7. I also mentioned it in my newsletter to my list. Every newsletter that goes out now has a Follow Button which links directly to the Trainer Talk Group.

8. I included a link to the Group in my Email signature.

9. I sent messages to my Linked In connections and people in my circle and said I’ve just put a discussion on Trainer Talk about  …. and it would be great to get your contribution.

10. I sent a follow-up email to new members thanking them for joining and encouraging them to make a contribution. If people made a contribution I sent another personal email to say thank you and also acknowledged their contribution on the forum too.

These 10 strategies were the basis for getting my first 100 members – and they worked. If you are thinking of setting up a Linked In Group and you want it to be successful I’d recommend that you do the same.

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