If you want to effectively network on LinkedIn it’s important that you join groups. There are ways to ensure that your time on LinkedIn is productive and that you are getting the most out of your time spent there. Getting the most out of LinkedIn groups depends on what goals you have set.
Setting Goals for Joining Groups
The first thing you need to establish is why you want to join a specific group. You may have several different goals that each require a different type of group. For example, if you are trying to recruit an employee, you should join groups that have that type of employee you’re looking for. If your goal is to try to find some business for yourself, you should join groups of people that need your products or services.
After you’ve set your goals, find groups that will meet the objectives you have set. Don’t try to join several groups all at one time. You want to be able to give the group your best and if you’re spreading yourself around too thin, you won’t be able to. Once you establish yourself and are well known in one group, then you can add more groups.
Become Familiar with the Group
Begin taking some to observe the group and get a feel for it. If people are introducing themselves then go ahead and introduce yourself. The rules will vary by group, as each group has a different owner or leader. Go over the rules and remember them. It may be helpful to check the rules each time you enter a group until you get used to them.
Once you’ve determined that the group is right for you that you can reach your goals there, start participating in discussions. Start by answering questions that come up that you know the answers to. Be sure that your answers are kind, well thought out, and you’re able to provide proof of your position on the matter. Keep in mind your business’s mission and its personality, and speak accordingly.
Ask Your Own Questions
After a couple weeks of participation in the group and people are used to you, go ahead and ask your own questions in the group. Your goal here is not to simply get people to click on your links. Post genuine questions with the intention of listening to the answers. Stay engaged in the discussion when you post questions.
Your connections with the other group members should be your focus. There will be some members over others that you will feel a stronger connection with. These are people you likely have something in common with. You’ll want to reach out to them so they can become part of your network.
Post a Conversation Starter
Posting links to conversation starters in another great way to participate in certain groups. Start by writing a blog post and the topic you want to discuss. Be sure to put links to outside sources and other various information in your post. Next, write a blurb that summarizes it so they don’t have to click on the link if they choose not to. Make sure you engage with any responses in a professional manner. People are always watching how others present themselves. For more information on posting on LinkedIn, see our previous post, Post Like a Pro on LinkedIn.
Update Your Profile
People will naturally start to look at your profile when they see your discussions and information in a group. You need to be sure that both your personal and business profile are geared toward your target audience and up to date. You don’t want them to be confused when viewing your profile. For help on your LinkedIn profile click here.
Start Your Own Group
If you decide to start your own group make sure that you plan out what you want the goal to be for the group. Think about the group’s purpose. It should have members that want whatever it is that you’re offering. Lead your group ethically and honestly, always keeping your ideal audience’s needs in mind.
When you know your reasons for joining a group and have a solid plan in place, you will be more successful. Keep in mind that every connection you make, every discussion you have, and every post you share, is one more step closer to reaching the goals you set in the beginning. If your goals aren’t being reached then reevaluate your strategy and your methods.