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!