Whenever I’m holding a webinar, presenting at a seminar, or just interacting with our awesome customers, I’m asked a lot of social media questions that span all major networks.
When it comes to LinkedIn, the one question I hear time and time again is “Should I be spending my time participating in Linkedin Groups?”
My short answer is “yes” and here’s why…
LinkedIn Groups are virtual meeting rooms (or forums) where people with similar interests can post and hold conversations around topics they want to share or learn more about.
Participating in Groups allows you to show off your expertise around a subject and start to grow relationships with like-minded people.
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Many of these people may be colleagues, who could offer solutions to certain challenges you’ve been facing, or could provide partnership opportunities to help you grow your business in the future.
Others could be potential customers, who are using groups to network and also find solutions of their own.
By sharing your expertise, participating in conversations, and being a reliable source of information within the Group — you’ll have the opportunity to build valuable relationships to help you do more business.
How do I find and join the right Group?
LinkedIn makes it easy to find Groups that are relevant to your business, or the audience you’re trying to reach. Within LinkedIn, you can perform a search based on keywords and filter to find the right Group.
For each Group found in your search, you have the option to view who in your network belongs to those Groups. Joining Groups that your connections are already members of can help you nurture the connections you’ve made on LinkedIn.
Take it one step further and reach out to your network to ask them what they think about the Groups they belong to. This can help to continue building the relationships you already have, while starting to understand what Groups may be right for you.
On LinkedIn there are both public and private Groups. If they’re public, all you need is to hit the “join” button when you find a Group you’re interested in and you’ll gain access instantly. Private groups on the other hand, require you to request an invitation from the manager of the group to get access.
You can join up to 50 Groups, but be aware that many groups aren’t actively managed. Make sure to spend the majority of your time on the key Groups you find that are managed well and have constant interactions.
How do I participate in a Group?
When you join a Group, take the time to familiarize yourself with the content people are sharing, and types of questions that are being asked.
Relevant content is the only way to take full advantage of a LinkedIn Group. When you share content that others are interested in, your chance of “connecting” with that person is much higher than if you just hit “connect.” Use groups to strengthen relationships, with your ultimate goal of connecting on and offline with Group members.
Here are a few tips to remember when participating in a LinkedIn Group:
- Show off your expertise by answering questions that others have asked, and don’t forget to ask some questions of your own! Groups are meant to be a forum for like-minded people, so make sure you’re asking and answering.
- Post articles and ask questions. Share articles or blog posts you’ve found and ask the Group members a question related to the article.
- Don’t over-promote! Your goal when posting articles or answering questions is not to promote yourself or what you’re doing, but to build relationships. When you use the words “me”, “I” or “my”, your content will more than likely get sent directly to the “promotions” tab of the Group.
- Make that connection. Once you’ve been interacting with someone in your Group, and you’ve built up some familiarity, send them an invitation to connect on LinkedIn. Make sure to let them know why you want to connect, and remind them of your interaction in the Group.
- Don’t forget other networks. If you have been interacting with someone on numerous occasions in a Group, connect with them on Twitter or find their business page on Facebook. Most people are participating in a Group for the same reason you are, so they will be happy to connect with you and extend your relationship!
Are LinkedIn Groups really worth the time and energy?
Hopefully, by now, I’ve convinced you that the answer is YES! The ability to reach people you wouldn’t otherwise have access to is one of the main reasons that social media works, and LinkedIn Groups are no exception.
Get out there, begin by joining three groups and see what relationships you can build by engaging with the right audience.
Have you joined a LinkedIn Group? How has it worked for you and your business? Let us know in the comments below.