LinkedIn Groups are a great way to connect with like-minded people. They can also help to build your brand reach and endorse your credibility as a thought leader.
There are currently 1.9million active LinkedIn groups and more than 8,000 others are entering the playing field each week. People who engage in LinkedIn group discussions get an average of four times more profile views than other LinkedIn members.
So I think you will agree, if you want to take a step further on your path to being seen as an expert in your field - getting active in LinkedIn groups is the next logical step.
But how do you find the right ones that will help build your credibility and extend your reach?
Be Where You Can Add Value
Good healthy groups are those that are full of conversation, as well as insights and resources – it’s not all one way. You need to pick your groups carefully, so avoid any that look like they might be a bit spammy.
Look for LinkedIn groups around your hobbies, interests and even industry-specific groups, for example, ‘internal communications’.
Try and find groups that have between 1,000 to 14,000 members. Anything below 1,000 and they may not be active enough, while for those with more than 14,000 members - posts are likely to get lost or be forgotten.
You can also find groups by looking on your customer or competitor profiles. Watch out if you’re on your competitors’ profiles, though, as they may have set up groups of their own. You can see who the group’s admins are by looking at the right-hand side of the group page.
To find out what groups your customers or competitors are in, view their profile, then scroll down to interests. Click ‘See all’ then ‘Groups’. Some people can choose to turn this option off on their profile, so you may not see it for everyone.
Joining the same groups as your customers is a great way to establish yourself as a thought leader. That’s why it’s important to be selective and find the one(s) that can benefit you the most.
Remember – join many (you can join a maximum of 100 groups), engage in a few, but make one group the one that you actively share and comment in.
How To Engage In LinkedIn Groups
When engaging in LinkedIn Groups, it helps to remember the 9:1 rule. For every nine insightful contributions from you (that’s a like or a comment), create one post or ask one question.
Always make sure that you:
- Listen first
- Earn trust
- Don’t sell
- Provide value
The goal here is to add additional insight to the discussion, gain feedback from other members and/or position yourself as a knowledge resource.
If you’re still a bit nervous about joining and engaging in large LinkedIn groups – then why not start safe by joining your company group, or a small group with colleagues to help you find your feet?
When you first join a group, start small with a like. Show people you’re reciprocating and that you enjoy their content before you go in with your own.
If you comment on a post, remember to put some effort in. Don’t just say ‘great article’ or ‘great post’. This doesn’t add anything to the discussion. Show that you’ve read the post by acknowledging the topic or question. Add some personal insights into your comment.
Remember: This isn’t a place to sell your product. Never hijack the conversation and make it all about you.
You can, however, offer a contrary point of view, so long as you’re not trying to turn it into an argument. State your case with objective facts and research to back up what you’re saying.
Turn Notifications On
Once you’ve joined a group, make sure to turn your notifications on. Go to the group’s page, click the three dots at the top, then select ‘Update settings’. Here, you can choose whether people in the group can message you and whether the group will appear on your profile.
You can also change your options for if and when you receive notifications from the group. It can help to have a weekly digest, so that you know what’s going on and you don’t waste time trawling through every post that’s been shared.
Before you post, be sure to check the group’s rules. Some allow you to promote your product on specific days, others will remove you if all you are doing is self-promoting. Each group is different, so take a few minutes to ensure you understand the group etiquette before you start engaging and posting.
Posting In LinkedIn Groups
There are two types of things you can share in a LinkedIn Group: your insights, and your questions.
Your insights help to establish you as a thought leader within your industry – provided that what you’re sharing is of value for the other group members and not for yourself. The earlier on you bring in mentions of you or your company name, the sooner you’ll lose people.
Asking questions helps to generate conversations within the group. These are great for getting advice or seeking opinions. To generate in-depth discussions, ask open questions.
Make sure your questions aren’t leading, though. You want people to share their genuine opinions - even if they disagree with you.
Remember: there’s no right or wrong answer when you’re asking for advice or opinions.
Responding To Comments
It’s hard to go back and find conversations within groups, as they don’t have a search function, so make sure you respond to people when they comment - or you may lose the chance to connect with them.
Unlike with other social media sites, text-only posts get the most engagement, so don’t distract yourself by trying to find the right image or a link to back up your point – just ask a question. Focus on providing quality content instead.
There is only one rule: DO NOT SELL. It’s not about products, it’s about building early-stage relationships and positioning yourself as a trusted advisor with prospects that may be interested in what you’ve got to say. Remember that and you can’t go wrong.