Monday 21st September 2015

Using LinkedIn groups for best business results

LinkedIn is a professional social network, where people meet due to work related purposes. Therefore it’s a great place to build your reputation as an industry expert and become an influencer in your field. Showing expertize and helping others can help you in building your professional network, which would benefit your business. To establish though leadership within a public that really matters, LinkedIn groups are good tool. Here are a few tips how to use them:

  • Start in the ESA group. We’ve created the ESA group to generate increased industry knowledge on solutions for addressing problematic sealing situations, to foster ideas, learning and sharing knowledge. If you haven’t already, join ESA group (click Join button next to group name) and start participating in discussions. If dealing with sealing problems, you can ask other group members for help and together you can find solutions. You can also discuss interesting articles, trends, ideas etc. with other members.

   

  • Find other groups of interest. Type topic of interest in the search bar at the top of your LinkedIn page and select “Groups” from the dropdown menu on the left side of the search bar.

    You will get some group proposals in the hint box, but click on the search (magnifying loop) icon to get the full list. Search for groups, related to your industry or professional field. You can also look for groups, where your clients and prospects gather. When selecting groups bear in mind, you can join max. 50 groups.
  • How to choose the best groups? One indication would be the number of members – more members would suggest the group is more relevant. You can also get hints from your peers. If your 1st, 2nd connections are members in a particular group, this group might be relevant for yourself also. In the search results page, you can filter results to only show groups, in which your connections are members. Check also the latest group discussions and if you find them relevant, that would be a group for you. You have to know, there are two kind of groups: “Open groups” and “Private groups”. Open groups have open membership, everybody can join. In private groups, a group manager have to approve your membership.
  • Join discussions. Discussions are the main feature of LinkedIn groups. You can start using groups by simply following discussions - you might get interesting insights from them. LinkedIn will email you about what’s going on in your groups regularly (default setting) or you would rather check your LinkedIn profile (under Interests). If you see a topic you can contribute to with your opinion or advice, don’t hesitate. Answer questions of other members, direct them to resources which may help and use your experiences to help them. This, too will help building your authority and expertise within the group.
  • Start new discussions. When you need advice or look for a second opinion of experts, start a new discussion and post your question. It’s also good to start new discussions with content that might benefit others in the group: interesting articles, trends, innovations, solutions or your opinion on something. Use Share option at the top of the group content. Type a title (max 200 characters), explanation and choose “General” for your question to stay in main Discussions tab.

    LinkedIn promotes the top contributors in each group. The more credibility you get in a group, the easier it is for you to get new connections (either when you reach out for them or others send request to you) or enquiries. However, do not use group discussions for your sales pitches. Your actions will not be welcomed by other group’s members and your content can be removed. Even more, this doesn’t just ruin your reputation in this group, but effects your LinkedIn profile in general.
  • Post links to a content on your website (Promotions). When you reach credibility, it’s ok if you post content to link to your website, article or a blog, occasionally. To do that, use the same Share option as for Discussions, just mark “Promotion” at the bottom. LinkedIn created a separate “Promotions” section to limit the amount of article-based and sales posts within the “Discussions” area. But do not post direct sales message even here, since you might be ignored and/or removed. Use it to promote content, which other members might find interesting and useful. And remember to always check the group rules, which you can find in the About section of the group.
  • Search for new employees. Groups might be the best place to look for new job candidates, since they bring together people with interest and experience in your industry or profession. Groups allow members to share and discuss job opportunities from sources outside LinkedIn Jobs (the Jobs section only shows jobs posted in LinkedIn Jobs). So, if your company is searching for a new employee, you can share a link by using Jobs Discussion share option. Or you can ask your peers about a job you are interesting in. Job discussions appear for only 14 days.
  • Follow up with members you engage in discussions. The true power of LinkedIn is making valuable connections and building relationships and you can use your group activities for that purpose. If someone engages with you in a discussion, feel free to connect with them and explain you’d like to talk more about the subject. If someone responds to or “likes” your Promotion, again feel free to reach out to connect. You can also try to make a personal connection with other members of the shared groups, but be aware that not all LinkedIn members welcome connection requests from persons they don’t know personally.

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