How Can LinkedIn Groups Help My Business?

LinkedIn offers a number of opportunities to help your business grow but I’m going to focus on groups as this is one of the best ways of networking with potential customers. Groups are like discussion forums based around topics of interest covering a wide range of subjects and, there are 1.6 million to choose from. Taking part in group discussions means you can network, research and develop relationships with potential customers. To pick out and make the most of groups I would suggest taking the following steps.

Which Groups Should I Join?

Initially start looking for groups for your main business activity as well as any related sectors where your target market is likely to be. Connecting with people with whom you have an affinity can be fruitful so check for groups on a local, regional or even national basis. When studying groups check the group statistics for data on how many members it has, where they are from and how active it is.

Share these stats

Not All Groups Are Equal

Some groups are plagued by spam and excessive job listings by recruiters so they may be active for the wrong reasons. The better groups are moderated and focused on promoting discussions. Job listings & promotions in these groups may still be prevalent but they are usually organised in appropriate sections so they don’t interfere with conversations.

Build Your Authority

After doing your preliminary research, join the group so you can assess its usefulness. Study the group so you can understand the type of conversations that are taking place and work out the value you can provide. The more you participate in discussions the more authority you will build in the group. It takes time to build a reputation and your focus should be on adding value to discussions.

Build Your Network

One of the advantages of joining a group is the ability to easily connect with other group members. Sending a request to connect with someone in your group is facilitated as shown in the picture below and it means they are more likely to accept your invitation.

Invite Jacob

New business opportunities

Once you build up your reputation you are much more likely to be a considered for a working relationship. It is not uncommon to see group members asking for recommendations for suppliers or simply listing projects they need help with.

You can use your content (e.g. blog post or ebook) to answer queries and you can start a discussion based around your content so there is an opportunity to drive targeted traffic to your website as well as building your mailing list. When using your content to start a discussion think about how you can start a conversation that group members will be interested in. Avoid repeated self-promotion and only add your content where appropriate.

Thanks for reading and if you have any tips or questions regarding LinkedIn groups please leave me a comment.

J
Jose Jimenez is a social media consultant who specialises in helping small to medium sized businesses. His website can be found at: www.thedigitalpos...
L
Thanks Jose for making LinkedIn much more addictive! haha :)

Just found out that you can discover more groups by using this link:
http://www.linkedin.com/groupsDirectory?recommendations=&trk=hb_side_gyml

Make sure you are logged in, just joined more groups and hope to bump into everyone soon.
    J
    Glad it was helpful and one thing to bear in mind is controlling how often you receive emails from groups as you can control these via the settings. You can receive them for each new discussion, daily or weekly depending on your preference.
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    LauraRa
  • March 13th, 2013
Thanks ! Before reading it I was sure LinkedIn is just wasting of my time!
    L
    Easy to think that when Facebook and Twitter are hogging the spotlight but LinkedIn is definitely a silent achiever. One thing, when you sign up for an account it's good to have a clear purpose of what you want to achieve. Most of the time it's to gain professional contacts and improve your reputation especially within your industry.

    I also observe that conversations on LinkedIn are more thoughtful and relevant compared to other social media platforms. What does everyone else think?
      J
      On the whole I would agree and especially in the better run groups. A lot boils down to the owner/manager and how they run the group.
H
Hi Jose,

Linkedin Groups remain useful but, as you say, the key is to select the right ones to join and be actively involved with. Otherwise it can be a waste of time and effort. Thanks for sharing these strategy ideas with the BizSugar community!
    L
    And thanks Heather for dropping by TSC! :)

    We just followed @bizsugar on Twitter, we might share some blog posts on your community soon. Does BizSugar have a group on Linkedin too?
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  • March 20th, 2013
I just started getting into Linkedin Groups, I never really thought about it before. Thanks for the tip Jose.
H

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