On July 31, 2016 we surpassed 1,000 members on LinkedIn! The 1,000th joiner was a Sales professional working at IBM in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. What a perfect embodiment of our network’s vision.
When I started this group in October 2014, I had no idea how quickly we would grow. I believed it was important to keep a strong “corporate” identity – because even with so many online vegan community everywhere, we needed something to appeal to the influential (and image-conservative) vegans working in corporate/Fortune 500 management. There are vegans working at Walmart, Chevron, Johnson & Johnson and similar companies. I felt this vegan segment was completely untapped, and it needed a peer network more than anyone.
We are primarily a LinkedIn based group (a good fit given our professional niche) allowing us to have a consolidated member directory, a main communication channel and an active discussion forum. Note that besides our 1,000 LinkedIn members, we know of other vegan corporate leaders who are not on LinkedIn or not actively in our LinkedIn group – our “true” or potential reach is much larger!
How do we grow? Based on a recent member survey with over 200 responses, most joiners (43%) have found us by searching LinkedIn Groups. The second main source of growth (21%) is our active InMail campaign. We run monthly searches on LinkedIn users with Fortune 500 employers who mention a vegan interest in their profile, and invite these prospects to join our group. Almost as big (20%; and rapidly growing!) source of new members are referrals/direct invitations from the existing members. Lastly, 9% of joiners result from noticing activity in the LinkedIn newsfeed.
Our group provides members an excellent networking platform to connect with vegan colleagues in the similar location or industry. Do you have any networking success stories to share? Did you meet any vegan friends or make new business connections through the Vegan Leaders network? We’ll likely pick some success story testimonials for our new website – yours could be one of them! Contact me via our website or via the LinkedIn group.