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.
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.
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.