We get a lot of people asking us how they can better use LinkedIn for marketing or business development. It seems an almost universally accepted fact that LinkedIn, and in particular LinkedIn groups, can be a powerful marketing tool. We agree – that’s why we started the Marketing of Life Science Tools & Services group. Now, however, LinkedIn groups are a mature feature, well-used by scientists and suppliers / service providers. There are usually multiple groups for any given area of interest, and “copycat” groups frequently don’t catch on. You can create a more niche group, but that may be of interest to only a fraction of your audience and you may have problems growing it to a critical mass. Quite frankly, the best time to have started a LinkedIn group was probably 2007 – right before the early adopters started using them. At that point, you could have been the founder of the “Molecular and Cell Biology” group (currently 6,725 members), the “Genomics: Next Generation DNA Sequencing (NGS) and Microarray” group (15,554 members) or the “Structural Biology” group (3,817 members). Wouldn’t that have been nice?
Well with every new platform comes new opportunities, and last month Google launched their equivalent to LinkedIn Groups: Google+ Communities. It’s very early in its life-cycle, so most of the popular terms are still available as community names. It’s way too soon to know if Google+ Communities will ever reach the level of adoption that LinkedIn Groups have, but it’s not much of a risk to snap up a name and occasionally seed it with some content. You might be glad you did later.