If you are going to incorporate LinkedIn marketing to your online strategy, then getting involved in LinkedIn Groups is a must.
LinkedIn Groups are similar to old school, online forums. They are a great place for like minded people to post questions and ideas for discussion. Since LinkedIn is the largest, professional social media site, it is a great place to go and find like-minded professionals to network with. These professionals may be potential customers or they may be strategic partners that can help your business in other ways.
Finding A LinkedIn Group To Join
First, think about if you want to target potential customers or strategic partners. If you are targeting customers, what type of jobs do they have? Search for their job title or description and find groups related to their profession.
If you are looking to connect with strategic partners, then do the same for their jobs or professional roles.
Once you have an idea of what you are looking for, head over the the LinkedIn Group directory (http://www.linkedin.com/search-fe/group_search) and do some searching.
Some LinkedIn Groups are open and some review their applicants.
The open LinkedIn Groups will allow you to click Join and gain access almost immediately to start joining in discussions and starting your own discussions.
Closed LinkedIn Groups have moderators (likely someone who started the group or a highly valued member of the group) that will take a look at your LinkedIn profile and determine whether or not you would be a worthy member of the group.
Either way, you will be notified via email if you are accepted to the group or not.
Make Sure You Follow The Guidelines Of Your LinkedIn Group
Different groups have different guidelines. Some groups are just open floodgates of posting anything you want. This usually leads to a ton of spam discussions, which is unfortunate for real professionals looking to have quality discussions with like-minded people. Some groups have strict rules about not self-promoting any links from your own website. Others moderate what you are able to post in order to keep everything relevant to the group’s topic.
What Makes A Quality LinkedIn Group?
We’ve already mentioned that some open groups are swamped with spam posts. These groups probably won’t be very beneficial for you to join if there are no true discussions going on.
A quality LinkedIn Group would be one that has members in your target demographic. This demographic may be one of potential customers if you are looking to generate leads with LinkedIn. It may be a group of your peers if you are looking to get or give advice and build your network. Or it may be a group of strategic partners that you want to add to your mastermind group and help build your net to bring in new leads.
Another aspect of the group you will want to see in order to qualify it as a quality group would be how many different people are posting and how many comments the discussions have. If you take a look at a LinkedIn Group and see it is all one person posting links to their website and there are no Likes or comments on the discussions, then you won’t likely see any action here. You will want to join a group that has several active members as well as frequently commented on posts. That way when you start a discussion with the group, it won’t fall on deaf ears.
How To Interact In LinkedIn Groups
Once you’ve found and qualified a group as one that you want to join and be an active member of, it’s time to dive in to conversations.
First, you’ll want to take a look around at what type of content is being posted. Are they questions, mini-blog posts or links to websites? Check out some discussions that already have a couple of comments and join in the discussion. This way, the other members will get notified of your comments and see your face in the group. It will also show that you are a worthwhile voice to listen to.
Once you’ve contributed to a few discussions, start your own discussion. Of course, make sure you are following the group’s guidelines. Stick to the script of what has worked for others in the group. If they are posting questions in their headlines, you should do the same. Are there long, thought out ideas entered here or are there mini-teasers and links to blog posts (my personal favorite)? Make sure you follow the etiquette of the group as well as the documented guidelines.
In my experience, I’ve been able to get much more engagement on posts where I ask a question in my discussion. I will often write a description of a link, paste the link, and then ask a question about the topic or for other people’s experiences on the topic.
Also, the more engagement with your discussion, the more likely it will show up for people in their weekly LinkedIn Updates email. The social proof of the comment number next to your discussion will also provide more reason for a newcomer to click through and read and interact with you.
Want To Generate Leads With LinkedIn Groups?
I’ve already discussed how to use LinkedIn Groups for lead generation in a previous blog post. You can read that post here for ideas and let me know what you think - http://220.127.116.11/~tresnic/how-to-use-linkedin-groups-for-lead-generation/
Are You Active In LinkedIn Groups?
What has been your experience with finding and interacting in LinkedIn Groups? What industries have you seen the best engagement for? Does your website generate traffic from LinkedIn? How about leads? Leave your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. And if you are active on LinkedIn, connect with me here - www.linkedin.com/in/toddgiannattasio/
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