For some, networking events stand for opportunity, relationship and business development and referrals. For others, just the thought of attending networking events is overwhelming; it seems impossible to target who they need to meet.
LinkedIn has come to your rescue! There are over 3 million groups on LinkedIn. Essentially, groups are virtual networking events that are available 24/7. They may be local, regional, national and international in scope. Their subject matter covers almost every conceivable industry in existence. Best of all, you can attend, contribute to, and participate in these virtual networking events from the comfort of your home or office at any time.
LinkedIn allows you to join up to 100 groups. We suggest you balance out your 100 to include a variety of groups such as: industry, local, regional, national, international, alumni and personal interest groups. At any time you may decide to leave one and join another. Some require the approval or invitation by the group manager before you are accepted into the group to make sure you meet their membership criteria.
LinkedIn Group Classifications
In an effort to keep the groups free of spam and allow for easier navigation, LinkedIn recently changed the classifications to Unlisted and Standard.
• Unlisted Groups will not show up in search results,
• Only the group’s owner and manager can invite members to the group.
• Standard Groups will show up in search results;
• Any member can invite any of their 1st degree connections to join.
How to Find Groups
LinkedIn has made finding groups easy. You may do so by searching for groups from the Groups You May Like page or the Search field at the top of your homepage. Here’s how:
In the search box at the top of any page, select Groups from the dropdown list on the left. Then type in your keywords or group name to search. Once you receive your search results, you may refine your search using the checkboxes on the left; or
Move your cursor over Interests at the top of your homepage and select Groups. Select the Find a group link on the right side of the page. Type in your keywords or group name to Search.
Is A Group Right For You?
Find out by clicking on a group’s About tab. Here you’ll find group rules, a description written by the group’s owner, and the group owner’s name with a link to their profile and when it started. You will also see which of your 1st level connections are members.
The Two Ways to Join a Group
1. Click “Join” on the group Discussions page or anywhere you see the button.
2. Respond to an invitation from a group member or manager.
Strategy for Joining a Group
It is important to join and participate in groups where your target audience can be found. Too many people only join groups within their industry and their peers. For example, a career coach could join a peer group such as the International Coach Federation (61,000 members), a job seekers group such as Job Posting Group (318,000 members), a local business group such as the Greater Charlotte Biz group (665 members), and an Alumni group such as Duke University Alumni Network (29,000 members).
By strategically selecting your 100 groups, you now have the ability to search through the group members to find valuable prospects. This is accomplished using LinkedIn’s Advanced Search tool available to all members.
Participation in Groups
• Monitor the conversation and interject and contribute to the discussion.
• Post news and content that is relevant to the group.
• Message members of the group without even being directly connected to them.
• Never sell. Educate, communicate and connect instead. This is the essence of social selling.
LinkedIn groups has the potential to expose your profile to hundreds of thousands of people within a short time. This would never be possible by attending networking groups. Join 100 today.
Content contributed by Linda and Ira Bass of IB Media LLC, an advertising media planning and placement firm built using the strategic power of LinkedIn to serve agencies and marketers with a targeted approach to reaching their customers. For more information, please contact Ira Bass at IraBass@IBMedia.biz or 704-989-3790. Learn more at www.IBMedia.biz or www.LinkedIn.com/company/IB-Media-LLC.