LinkedIn groups can be incredibly useful when developing your network. To find out how to find the right LinkedIn groups to join watch our video ‘How to Join the Right LinkedIn Groups for you’
When you have been accepted to a group (which is almost always the case if you have had to request to join) you can visit the group page by going to ‘Interests’ on the main menu and down to ‘Groups’. Then you will see a list of all the groups you are a member of, simply select the group you wish to go into. From within a group you can browse the members looking for suitable targets. To get here go to members towards the top of the page. The list will be ordered by level of connection so all of your 1st level connections will be at the top, then your 2nd level and so on. You can also search the members list using keywords in the search box to the right for job titles, industries or even individuals.
When you find a suitable person you can invite them to connect purely based upon the fact that you are members of the same group, make sure to customise your invitation. Here is an example of what you could send.
Invitation on shared group only
Hi <their name>, I notice we are both members of the <group name> group and I thought it would be useful to connect because of our shared interest in the <group theme>.
If you have time please take a quick look at my profile and if you agree I’d be delighted for you to be part of my network.
Regards … <your name>
If you are not comfortable about inviting people to connect in this way you may wish to get involved in the discussions first. To start with we recommend commenting on other peoples discussions to see how they work and so that you can start to make acquaintances. To do this simply find a discussion you feel you can add value to and click in the ‘Add a Comment’ box. Remember always be polite and never inflammatory, disagreeing with someone is fine but make sure to always be respectful otherwise you can not only damage your reputation but you can also be removed from the group by an administrator. It may be that you start up a dialogue with someone, in which case you can send them a personalised invitation at that moment and they are much more likely to accept.
If you wanted to start your own discussions then you simply click in the box next to your profile image towards the top of the page. In the top box you have 200 characters, this can be used as a sort of title, and a further 4000 in the ‘Add More Detail’ box. Asking a question will increase your chances of getting a comment or too, as will talking about something topical.
The one key rule about becoming involved in groups is to not to overtly sell you or your services. The groups allow you to make connections that you can sell to using various other means, it is considered highly bad form to sell in group discussions. You can, however, start discussions around any blogs you have written. It can be useful feedback whilst also reinforcing your credibility and capability and driving traffic to your blog.