LinkedIn For Business Success: Using LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn for business

Using LinkedIn for your Business Success – LinkedIn Groups

In my last article, I wrote about why it's important to use LinkedIn for your business and its online marketing and I listed 5 different ways that you can market your business with LinkedIn.

One of the tips I gave was to use your participation in LinkedIn Groups to help establish your thought leadership in your field. I've heard that there are many people who haven't yet used this marketing tool, so I thought I'd give some more in depth information about how to market your business with LinkedIn.

Using LinkedIn for Business – Introducing LinkedIn Groups

Thought leadership is about generating unique ideas that contribute overall to your niche. But sometimes it can be tough to initially attract an audience, even if you're creating content or products that give an amazing benefit to your industry.

This is why one of the best ways to establish yourself as an expert in your niche (besides blogging on a regular basis) is to join and even begin niche specific groups on LinkedIn.

Begin by searching for groups related to keywords in your niche. LinkedIn has a richer search function than you might think – you can use words like "and" and "not" (aka Boolean search operators for the geeks among us) to get a more precise search. 

What's also great is that not only can you search group titles, but you can also search discussion threads within groups. So you can truly find where people are talking about questions related to your niche.

But choose the groups you join carefully, and be careful that you're giving good information when you post. 

It's especially important to understand how to interact respectfully in a group, especially if you have information that differs from the group's facilitator or leader.

If you're not the host or facilitator of a group, and you have a difference of opinion, you should know that there's a helpful way to answer questions in a group – and a not so helpful way. Here's what I mean. 

It's never a good idea to flat out contradict the facilitator of the group. Never cause the facilitator to lose face in front of his or her community. If you wish to add additional information, you might say, "That's a great idea, and I'd even take it a step further by…"  It's also helpful if you can use personal examples to illustrate the point you're trying to make.

When you're providing information in groups, remember, you need to be providing great value – not always selling people on your product or service. You'll attract connections and leads much more effectively with value than you will by clubbing them over the head with a sales message.

You want to engage carefully in groups, whether you've started them or joined someone else's. And if you answer a question posed in a group, make sure you truly know the answer!  If you're not sure about something, it's better to choose a different question than to sound like you're trying to know more about a topic than you do. Trust me, it always shows.

Notes on Posting in LinkedIn Groups

Take the time to draft your group posts on your word processing program (Word, Open Office, etc.) in order to double-check grammar and spelling.

This is important because LinkedIn is a more professional platform. Your posts needs to show that you give them a little more professional attention than you might on other platforms.

The truth about LinkedIn is this:  Users expect a higher standard of communication. So make sure your communication here reflects this. Use correct grammar, make sure you're spelling correctly (without text message abbreviations, please!), and answer as completely as possible.

I challenge you to find a group or a discussion related to your niche and join in today!. Then come back here and leave a comment, telling us about your experience.  I can't wait to hear how you're adding this to your marketing toolbox!

12 Comments

  1. "What's also great is that not only can you search group titles, but you can also search discussion threads within groups. So you can truly find where people are talking about questions related to your niche."

    That's good to know; I'm a member of several groups on LinkedIn; they are a tremendous source of information.

    I have never tried to search discussion threads; I should try this before joining a group. I usually search the titles, and then if it sounds interesting, I join the goup. But if several weeks go by, and I haven't found any discussions that I want to participate in, I leave, because I don't want to waste my time.

    I will try searching the discussion threads, as you pointed out, to see if they are talking about topics I'm interested in.

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  2. Great advice, Edmund, and timely. I've just joined a couple of LinkedIn groups and find there is so much content, and so much interaction, I feel like my voice would be lost. (Probably ego talking here!) Plus, the time involved. Any suggestions? 

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  3. Excellent summation of using Linked In groups. One mistake that I see a lot of people make is that they join too many groups and cannot keep up with them, thus gaining little or no value from the experience.  
     

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    • I've decided that the big groups are not worth the effort, and concentrating on the smaller ones. 

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  4. Shelley, that's what I've noticed too.  Quite the opposite of what Jackie said….. I find I'm in groups where nobody posts for months.  I feel I should just leave those groups but I'm afraid of missing good content that might come around eventually and I hate to be the only one talking at a cocktail party so I just lurk.  I get much better engagement with facebook groups, personally.

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    • Fascinating! One of my groups is huge, and has as 23 active discussions (people contributing every day) and 91 — yes, 91! — new discussions! It's overwhelming. Heather, I started out by lurking and then jumped in on a few discussions, but one of the things I've noticed (in this group in particular) is that everyone is staking out their own business claim. As in, "Well, in my highly success business consultancy" or "As I tell my many coaching clients" and so on. Very territorial. As my ex-husband would say, "peeing on every bush." 😉 I tried posting a blog post in this group and it was not approved. It made me wonder if I was horning in on the owner/moderator's territory. 

       

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  5. Great post! I need to spend more time in LinkedIn. I check it when I get a message but don't spend enough time in there.  Thanks for the reminder!

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  6. Very good advice you've got there! Sure LinkedIn is a more professional platform and as you've said it is but right to give it a little more professional attention too. Any more advice on other groups such as this?

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  7. Thanks for mentioning the higher standard of communication. This is ignored by quite a few users. I appreciate the advice on how to interact in the groups.

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  8. Thanks for providing the tips. Totally agree with the value of LinkedIn groups. They help with leads, but also help users build credible connections and thought leadership. But, I think the LinkedIn group experience requires improvement. I would love to know how you tackle some of the issues I face:

    1 – If you are a member of multiple groups, email digests feel like a spam and most people I talk to have turned them off because they simply cannot keep up with them
    2 – There is a lot of promotional/spam discussions that puts people off
    3 – It is extremely difficult to reach discussions that are relevant to a user – total lack of filters (part of the problem is people who just post random stuff)
    4 – There is a bias towards discussions that are active even if they are old (even though there are few active discussions – they get most of the comments) – most other ‘relevant’ discussions go unnoticed

    Can you please share your thoughts on how you are solving these problems today? Also, what other improvements would you like to see in LinkedIn Groups? Please share..Thanks!

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    • Excellent questions, Jasmeet, and I concur with the issues you outline. I'm not sure there's a way to improve LinkedIn groups from the inside. I'm thinking about several directions myself: Joining the much smaller groups, where I have a chance of being heard (and yes, noticed). Or, conversely, starting a group of my own. 

       

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      • Not a bad idea, Jackie! You can always start up a group of your own if you want to.

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