Sure, you are an expert in your line of business, and getting more clients is a top priority.  But no man (or woman) is an island, and those complementary connections can make you better in your field.  You wouldn’t think twice about joining associations and other industry-related groups as a member, so why not use LinkedIn to also connect with these and other groups online to broaden your expertise.

Joining Groups couldn’t be much easier.  You may first want to start by logging into your LinkedIn account, and go to the “Groups” menu at the top:

You may wish to start clicking on the “Groups Directory” and then use the search bar to look up groups that may correspond to organizations you already have a connection to, and immediately be able to connect with people who already have something in common with you.

Which Groups Should I Opt to Join?

  • It makes sense to join the alumni association of any of your schools, universities, etc.  Even if you don’t personally know most of the 5,000 members of your college’s “Class of 1989,” there are many business people who like to work with fellow alumni, or to offer them job opportunities.  You may even learn about prospective work from the actual university.
  • Any professional organizations that you are already a member of – just joining a group may remind your fellow professionals that you are still “in the business” – and you never know what opportunities may present themselves.  Don’t forget to join the Group for your local Chamber of Commerce and other local business and networking organizations you participate in.
  • Include volunteer work – if you donate blood, for instance, look up the American Red Cross, Central Blood Bank, or whichever organization you donate through.  You will meet others in the same philanthropic vein, while showing visitors to your profile other aspects of your life and expertise.

Now you can be creative and look for groups that you are not yet associated with, yet perhaps should be.  In the same “Groups” menu at top, select “Groups You May Like” to peruse other opportunities.

How Will LinkedIn Recommend Groups for Me to Join, and How Should I Select Them?

  • LinkedIn will do as thorough a job of finding groups appropriate to you as you do in setting up your profile with as much work experience, school background, skills and other details.  As you update your profile, check the “Groups You May Like” again to see if new group suggestions have been added.
  • Review related groups before joining.  There may be, for example, 30 groups listed that were created to cover a specific topic/interest, like Valuation Services for CPA Firms.  But look carefully at the stats at the bottom of the group description – you’ll see how many members the group has, if there is current activity within the group, and other factors that may make joining some groups more beneficial than others.

  • Realize that some groups with actually “vet” you to ensure that you should be a member of this group.  This is not a bad thing – it may be more meaningful to be a legitimate part of a group with a certain expertise, than in a large open one that is primarily filled with businesses trying to “sell” all the time.

Periodically add new groups so your LinkedIn Updates will show frequently and let your current contacts know that you take your business seriously.