If you are on LinkedIn (and if you’re not, you should be), you should be actively participating in LinkedIn Groups.
LinkedIn Groups give your overall LI experience more mileage – it’s really the meat on the LinkedIn bones.
Some Groups are open to the public, some are closed, some have strict rules and some are “anything goes”. No matter the structure or the purpose of the Group, there is no doubt that they are fast becoming a must-use LinkedIn feature for professionals and job hunters in every industry.
In order to get the most out of your LinkedIn Groups, it is important to know the rules of the road. I suggest following these 8 tips to get the most of out of your LinkedIn Group experience.
Tip #1: Mind your manners! Remember the golden rules of social media – be helpful first and foremost, provide value, sit back and observe first, no hard selling. Follow the stated rules of the Group in all cases or risk being blacklisted. Group rules can be found in the Group Profile. Most groups have places for job postings (Jobs) and self-promotion (Promotions).
Tip #2: Be professional. LinkedIn Groups tend to be more professional in scope, whereas Facebook Groups can be casual and centered on more intimate issues. LinkedIn Groups tend not to tolerate rambling messages, grammatical or spelling errors, offensive or obscene content and “TMI” (Is there anything more awkward than TMI in a professional setting?)
Tip #3: Choose your Groups carefully. Yes, you can join up to 50 groups, but who can actively and authentically participate in that many? Check the Summary, Demographics, Growth and Activity of the Group by clicking on the More link under the Group name. Make sure each Group is worth your investment in time and energy.
Tip #4: Identify your LinkedIn goals. Write down your top 3 reasons for using LinkedIn. What do you hope to get out of it? Join Groups according to your goals. For example:
If one of your goals is to increase your sales or get more clients, identify your ideal customer/client and join the Groups where they participate. See what the Most Popular Discussions are in that group. What are your potential clients and customers talking about? What riles them up? What makes them excited? What problems do they have that you can solve? Where can you jump in and add some value to the discussion and help them out?
If one of your goals is to bounce ideas off others in your field, then choose Groups that put you in touch with influencers. When I first joined LinkedIn, all I joined were Groups full of social media “experts” and consultants. It was a bunch of people talking at each other, but no one was listening and no one was learning. I am now much more selective about my Groups and I join the ones that offer me the most value and are the most interesting.