Two weeks ago we launched Groups in Martindale-Hubbell Connected and already we have a few groups created by members. I received a few emails in the past few days asking for some guidelines and tips around creating a group, so here goes:
Can anyone start any group? Absolutely! Depending on your Martindale-Hubbell Connected membership type, you will be able to create and own as many groups as you want. The way Groups are built is to be quickly edited and changed at any time, so no decision you make is set in stone, never to be changed. Similarly to all other social media tools, you just need to do it, give it a go and see where it goes.
What do I need to do to create a group? To create a Group you will need to think about 4 elements: a name, a description, the category under which the group will live, and what type of group you want it to be (public, private or confidential).
Broad or Narrow Focus? “Employment Law” or “Employee free choice act”? “IP” or “copyrights”? It is recommended to start with a broad topic, so you can cover as many sub topics as possible, give flexibility and freedom for the discussion to grow and develop, and if and when it becomes very focused, open a new group to focus on the narrow topic.
Formal or Informal? If you want to open a group to be shared by people that are members of the same organization, and the formal group was not created yet, you can start your own group, and make sure you clarify it is not the Official group, either by indicating that on the name or the description.
Group is created – now what?
First thing to do is invite other members to join your group. In Connected Groups you can either invite Connected members by username or send email invites to users not in Connected.
Next, offer your new members some content to kick off the discussion with: a forum post, a blog post, articles, share a document or offer a poll.
Third, remind your members, either on a forum post or the group description, to subscribe to email and/or RSS updates to alert them when content is added on the site – this is very important to keep members looped into the discussion and involved in the group.
If you have questions, if you are not sure about any of the above recommended steps, feel free to email me or ask questions here.