Have you asked yourself why you are in this LinkedIn Group. Did you click on the Group because you saw one of your peers in the Group? Did you click on the group because you were keen to ‘flesh out’ your personal LinkedIn profile ? Or did you click on the group because you were invited to join from someone you know? Maybe all of these reasons are true for you – they were for me, at first. But now LinkedIn Groups are a central part of my business development and marketing strategy. About 50% of new business comes to me from my interactions in LinkedIn Groups. Here are five simple reasons for you to be in a LinkedIn Group and how to get the best out of them.
- Your customers, stakeholders and peers are in LinkedIn Groups. Australian professionals love LinkedIn and we have one of the highest adoption rates of LinkedIn in the world. As each month rolls on Australians are becoming more proficient at using LinkedIn for business development, marketing and networking. Some industries are very clever at using LinkedIn groups to develop the dialogue within a specific sector. These are conversations and exchanges you don’t want to be left out of. Select a LinkedIn Group that matches your industry. Look at the leaders in your industry and your key customers and notice the groups listed in their personal LinkedIn profiles. Take a look at the Group Statistics (the gear cog symbol top right of the group page) to decide if you are in the right group and note who the key networkers are in the group.
- A LinkedIn Group lets you network within your industry without leaving your office and it costs $0. Don’t get me wrong Industry events are great, but they cost money and it means you need to get up earlier to go to that breakfast or you need to leave work by 4pm to get to that cocktail briefing. You don’t have to do that with LinkedIn Groups. 15 minutes networking in a LinkedIn Group will give you far more than attending an industry event.. In 15 minutes in a LinkedIn Group you can research new business contacts, you can directly engage with people in the group building a rapport just as you can over a coffee at a breakfast event….and you didn’t leave your desk.
- Don’t over share. A good rule for social media in general. Think of it like a cocktail party. It’s rude to break in and talk all about yourself and hog the conversation – LinkedIn Groups are the same. The rule is to make it count. Listen first, read and learn for a while and start commenting on other people’s posts so you can gain an understanding of what’s relevant in the group. Look at the posts other people have shared that have attracted the most comments – this is what you should be aiming to emulate. When you are a regular contributor to the dialogue on other peoples’ posts, they are more likely to comment on yours and your contributions are more likely to succeed. Only share high value content. Be a generous commentator and support other peoples’ posts. Don’t hog the microphone.
- Establish yourself as an industry thought leader. LinkedIn Groups are a very influential place to be visible in your industry, raising your professional profile, demonstrating your skills. LinkedIn is the perfect platform for opinion. LinkedIn audiences respond best to opinion pieces rather than cutting-and-pasting articles with a little commentary. LinkedIn Groups are perfect for gathering market intelligence, asking questions within your industry, highlighting issues and stimulating comment.
- ‘Hi, I noticed your comment in the LinkedIn Group last week – that was a really thought provoking comment.’ The perfect ice breaker. LinkedIn Groups are the biggest opportunity for business development executives and managers. Someone who have been trying to get an appointment with is in your LinkedIn Group and has just posted an article – this is a no brainer – comment and start building the relationship. You can do the most extraordinary amount of research on potential customers, collaborators and stakeholders on LinkedIn that would have been almost impossible to do before LinkedIn came along. LinkedIn Groups is the fast track way of talking to those people when you are not connected directly with them and at the same time marketing your company to others in the group.