LinkedIn Groups are incredibly powerful, they allow you to connect with new people as well as helping to increase your credibility amongst potential clients.
Before you actively start to use groups we would recommend that you get your LinkedIn profile in tip top condition because when you become active in group discussions people will look at it. To learn how to do this watch our group of videos ‘How to create your LinkedIn Profile’ which can be found in ‘Tutorial 3 – Making LinkedIn Work For You’.
To start with it is crucial that you join the right groups for you. Sure joining your university alumni group can help you with keeping in contact with old connections but it probably won’t bring you in much new business. You should join the groups your potential clients are in, not the groups occupied by your competitors. Think about the criteria your ideal client would have so industry, size, job position, location are just a few things to think about.
There are a few ways to find the right groups
1) Search using criteria like the industry or profession your clients are in using the search bar at the top of all pages. Simply type in the appropriate keywords relating to your ideal client and searching. You can then filter it down to just groups. You will notice under the groups some have ‘Very Active’ or ‘Active’. This is telling you that there is a lot of activity on the groups, so new discussions are happing regularly, these are the groups that you want to join as the more active groups will probably have a higher number of people willing to connect with you.
2) Another way is to go through the people you’re already connected with and at the bottom their profiles, you can see what groups they are in. If 3 or 4 of your connections are in the same group, odds are that more potential clients will also be members.
3) Finally if you go to your groups page by going to ‘Interests’ and ‘Groups’ from the main menu and scroll to the bottom you will see LinkedIn recommend other groups you may wish to join.
Once you have found a group you think is suitable the next thing to do is check the group statistics to determine if this is a group worth joining. To do this open up the group and on the top right hand side there is the ‘Information and Settings’ Icon which looks like an ‘i’. Once you have selected this you will see more options appear, you want to select ‘Group Statistics’. The statistics show you a summary of the group, including location and comments, then along the tabs at the top you will see demographics which go into the type of people who are members, growth which details the growth of the group and activity which goes into discussions and jobs on the group. If the statistics show you it’s the right group then request to join it! Sometimes the groups are closed groups, you can tell as they have the lock next to their name, all this means is that you have to apply to join.
If you are just starting with LinkedIn groups we recommend joining 5-10 groups but restrict your activities to just three. This allows you to be active without getting swamped, discussions can be very time consuming.
To find out how to use groups please watch our video ‘How to make use of LinkedIn Groups’