Do you know that there are more than 2 million LinkedIn Groups? About 8,000 are created each week!
Generating 200 conversations per minute, those communities for business professionals can be a treasure-trove of information and networking, a hotbed of self-promotion and spam…or a ghost town. Or all at once.
So, how can you leverage LinkedIn Groups to build solid relationships with peers, create awareness around your name, and increase leads and sales? Read below.
A quick overview of LinkedIn Groups
There are two types of groups:
- Private (Members-only) – They have a padlock next to their names. The content posted there is only visible to members and will not be indexed in search results.
- Public (Open) – Discussions in those groups are visible to anybody, searchable, and shareable. Managers can allow non-members to contribute.
Note: The visibility of a member-only group can be changed to public only once.
Each group has several sections:
- Discussions – The stream of general posts. The content can be viewed by latest publishing dates or popularity.
- Promotions – All promoted content will appear there. There is no expiry date, but it can be deleted by the poster or by a group manager / owner.
- Jobs – This section is dedicated to job postings and discussions around those opportunities. The latter are automatically removed after two weeks. You can also search through all LinkedIn Jobs directly from that page.
- Members – Looking for a specific group participant? This is the page to visit.
- Search – A handy section to find new content or old discussions.
- Subgroups (if applicable) – The smaller, private groups within an existing parent group. They provide members with a space to discuss specific or niche topics that may not be of interest to other participants.
How to select the right LinkedIn Groups for your business
In essence, LinkedIn a very solid platform for marketers and brands. Groups are a great place to connect with others!
With that said, not every community is a good fit. So, you will have to be selective. Here are some tips to help you:
- Goals – Interested in networking with peers, engaging with potential clients, establishing your expertise, and/or keeping tabs on the latest trends in your industry? Answer this question first.
- “Groups You May Like” page – This is a great starting point because the suggestions are relevant to your connections, existing memberships, and information in your profile.
- LinkedIn’s Search engine – The results are personalized and can be filtered based on relationships (1st degree, 2nd degree, and 3rd/everyone else), privacy level and language(s).
NB: To get the best results, take advantage of Boolean search operators. For example, quotation marks around several words allow you to search for that exact phrase (e.g., “social media marketing”). For a complete list of operators, click here.
- Don’t join a group right away – First, look around. Click the wheel icon next to the “Join” button to access the description, posting rules, and statistics (e.g., demographics, growth, and activity).
- Read some discussions (Open groups only) – What kind of content is shared? Is it link-centric or are links mixed with the Q&A format? Is it mainly self-promotional? Is it interesting and relevant to your business? How active are members? Who are the commenters? Are the managers engaged?
- Get your feet wet – Take the time to look around and understand how the groups operate. Start joining conversations. Leave comments and answer questions. Then, post a few things. Be consistent, respectful and helpful.
A few tips to enjoy your experience in groups
I have seen some experts advise to join as many as 50 groups. I disagree. It is better to be selective. Focus on the communities that will bring you “the most bang for your buck” in terms of content quality, discussions, and contacts.
Follow the rules and choose the right category for your posts (general, job, or promotion). Repeated misdemeanours like spamming or heavy self-promotion will get your content deleted. Your future posts and comments could also be moderated and your membership revoked.
Contacting members privately is a good idea if you want to continue a conversation or discuss a potential partnership. However, use this option sparingly. No one likes receiving too many unsolicited messages.
Curate useful content. Avoid heavy self-promotion. Interact with other members in comment threads. In a nutshell, build relationships before thinking of sales.
You could also host your own group. For example, why not create a personalized (and private) hub for your clients? Subgroups also give you an even more laser focused space to answer their questions and start important conversation.
Some of my favorite LinkedIn Groups
- Business in a Social Media World (my group) – “The goal of this community is to discuss and share the latest tips and news in social media, social media branding, and social media marketing.”
- Content Professionals (Spundge) – “Content professionals of all levels are welcome to join this strictly non-promotional group. Learn about the challenges faced when launching and scaling content operations. Discuss your content workflows and discover end-to-end techniques covering research, curation, creation, distribution, monetization and more.”
- HowToWriteBetter.net (Suzan St Maur) – “HowToWriteBetter.net is a popular resource for anyone wanting to improve their writing and get inspired with ideas for fresh content – for blogging, business, marketing, hobbies, speeches, presentations, and much more. In this group you can ask any questions you want about writing, and I will either answer on the spot, refer you to the relevant article on my HTWB.net site, or refer you to another resource where you’ll find the answers you need.”
- Writing on LinkedIn (Amy Chen) – “Writing tips, engaging discussions, and other strategies to help professionals publish on LinkedIn.”
Some useful resources
- General limits for LinkedIn Groups
- Getting started
- Group management – Best practices
- Changing the frequency of group emails
- Shutting off group digests and emails with discussion updates
- Subgroups – FAQ
Do you use LinkedIn Groups? If so, what are your tips to leverage them successfully? And what are some dos and don’ts that I forgot to mention?