One of the most effective ways to network on LinkedIn is to join groups. However, there are best practices that you want to consider to ensure that you’re productive. As you probably already know, social media cane be a major time stealer so you want to get the most that you can out of the time you spend.
Getting the most out of LinkedIn groups depends on your goals...
Set Your Objectives for Joining Groups
The first thing you need to clarify is why you want to join a group. You may have several goals that require different types of groups. For example, if you are trying to recruit an employee, you should join groups that consist of that type of employee. If you are trying to network to find business for yourself, you should join groups of people who need your services or products.
Join the Right Groups
Once you have set your goals, find the groups that you need to join to meet the objectives you set above. Don’t join too many groups at once because you want to be able to have time to give the group all you have if it’s the right one. Once you’re well known in one group, you can add more groups.
Get to Know the Group
Take some time to observe the group. If people are introducing themselves, go ahead and do that. Each group has a different leader or owners, so the rules may vary. Check the rules and remember them. You might want to check the rules each time you enter a group until you get used to it.
Participate in Discussions
When you are sure that the group is the right group and that you can reach your objectives there, start participating in discussions. At first, freely answer questions that pop up that you know the answer to, using proof and logic and kindness in your answers. Remember the mission of your business and the personality of your business and speak like that.
Post Your Own Questions
Once people are used to your participation in the group, after a couple weeks, go ahead and pose your own questions in the group. However, don’t post questions that you have no intention of engaging with just to get people to click on your links. Post real questions with real intent of listening to the answers.
Share a Conversation Starter
Another way to participate in some groups, when permitted, is to post links to conversation starts. First, write a blog post about the article or issue that you want to discuss. Ensure you have put links to sources and other information in the post. Then write a blurb giving most of the information so that they don’t have to click on the link, but they can if they want to. When you get responses, make sure you engage with them in a highly professional way. Remember, people are always watching.
Connect with Other Members
When you get to know people in a group, you’re going to be attracted to some members over others. These are the people you likely have something in common with. Make sure to reach out and connect with them so they become part of your network.
Keep Your Profile Up to Date
When people see your discussions and information in a group, they’re naturally going to want to look at your profile. Ensure not only that your personal profile is up-to-date and targeted toward your audience, but also that your company profile is targeted toward your audience and up to date. That way, they won’t be confused when they view your profile.
Consider Starting Your Own Group
Another thing you can do is start your own group. If you do that, make sure you plan out what you want the group’s purpose to be. It should consist of members that want whatever it is that you offer and run with transparency, honesty, and ethically - always putting your ideal audience first.
When you know your reasons behind joining a group and have a plan in place, you’ll end up a lot more successful. Remember, every post you make, every discussion you have, and every connection you make, is one more step toward reaching the objectives you set in the beginning. If that’s not happening, reassess your strategy and your tactics.
Business & management coach, mentor, trainer, author, speaker, social entrepreneur, (and chief pot and bottle washer!)