Yesterday I met some people from the Central Coast Professionals LinkedIn group at the meeting hosted by  Kymn at Foresters Beach. I wasn’t sure what to expect as it was my first “networking” event through a social media website, but it turned out to be a lot of fun and very interesting.

Possibly due to the timing at 4.00pm in the afternoon, this wasn’t a big group of people, but that made it easier to talk to the people who could make it and do a little brainstorming.

Kymn started the Central Coast Professionals Linkedin group about 3 years ago so she could meet more local people on LinkedIn. She was quick to reassure those who haven’t been to a group meeting before, that she has no agenda to market to us. She is simply offering the opportunity to meet and talk to people in local business in a social setting. She is hoping that the CCP LinkedIn group members will start to take it offline more often and meet other group members socially in person.

I can now say I think it’s a great idea! I think most people join LinkedIn with the aim to network with other business, and to extend the reach of their business into their local community. We get an invitation to join LinkedIn but then we don’t really know what to do or how to make it work for us. We may be thinking should I write an article or post something, but then we don’t because we’re not sure. Well we should be writing articles and posting links to them but maybe we need a bit of help!

What do we want the LinkedIn group to achieve?

The group spent a lot of our time discussing how best  the LinkedIn group can serve its local business members and I made a few notes of some of the ideas we came up with. As these were varied and we had a lot to discuss, I’ll make a few different short articles over the next few days so we keep ideas and comments grouped together.

I’m hoping that everyone reading will jump in and leave us a comment as to what you think of each idea. Do you like these ideas? Do you have better ideas? Click inside the comments area and tell us what you think and what YOU’d like to get out of this group.

How should we structure the Central Coast LinkedIn Group?

We spent quite a lot of time thinking how to best structure the Central Coast Linkedin group and what systems we could use to make communication easier with members. Of course LinkedIn itself will be primary, but a website with the next group meeting event details and some basic information about the group is primary, so we thought getting that happening quite soon was a good idea.

We agreed to keep it simple at this stage. We don’t want to start making something easy – expensive or time consuming. Most of us agreed that we’d just like to meetup with like minded business people in the local area and get to know people who we would otherwise have no chance to meet.

Great Ideas from Several Group members

That said we did put forward several plans that we think you may find exciting. We all know the cost of advertising and its limitations. Kymn had some great ideas from a marketing perspective that we can implement over time. As she pointed out one person advertising a single business is expensive, but group advertising funded by several businesses brings the cost down dramatically.

Warwick asked some great questions especially “what do we want the group to achieve” which got us all thinking. He also came up with the great idea about the Central Coast Linkedin group logo competition. I’ll write a post about this tomorrow, so stay tuned.

Ian and Helen who have been to other networking meetings talked about keeping group meetings social. We are all looking for new business, but in a social group we need to first relate to other people and listen, as well as talk to them whether its about business or not.

Gerhard suggested that a small business group should be looking after each other and helping each other out if they can. I think that belief would make a really appropriate group slogan or motto. We are bombarded by ads leaving us at the mercy of big business. If we can give our normal business needs to a group members small business we all benefit. Maybe if we can all aim to look after another group member,  we will achieve what we came here for.

That’s it for this post, but I will write up some of the major ideas on LinkedIn tomorrow. I hope we get some more feedback from people who couldn’t make the meeting.

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