LinkedIn Groups are a great way to self-learn, an opportunity to contribute to conversations with influencers, and, of course, grow your network. If you’re on LinkedIn (and if you’re not, you should be!) there are over 2 million groups to choose from, and you can join up to 50 at any one time.
But the number of groups you join doesn’t matter as much as making sure you’re in the right groups.
How to Find the Best Groups for You
To discover groups where you’re most likely to find those with the common professional and personal interests as you, use specific words and terms in the ‘Group Search’ function, like these:
- Your industry or role
- Schools you have attended
- Associations you belong to
- Your customer’s industry (often an overlooked opportunity)
- Your hobbies or outside interests
- Certifications you have earned
- Types of software or other tools you use in your job
- Events you’ve attended or will be attending
- Blogs and communities you enjoy
Other than the Group Search function, there are several ways to find groups relevant to your career:
- Check out “Featured Groups” on LinkedIn company pages
- Look at LinkedIn’s “Groups You May Like” feature (this usually shows up on your home page)
- Download my worksheet LinkedIn Groups: Cash In On This Powerful Tool
After you’ve found the best places to hang out, it’s time to get involved.
Each group has a different feel or culture, and it will be pretty obvious what type of activity is appropriate. However, here are some general do’s and don’ts to help improve your effectiveness when hanging out in groups.
Do This in LinkedIn Groups
- Get involved in discussions where the right folks are talking about the right topics. Contribute to the conversation with your own expertise or by sharing a link to a place where they can get more information on the topic being discussed.
- Invite fellow group members to connect with you. If they’re a particularly good target, mention in your invitation that you’re in the same LinkedIn group or refer to a comment they made in a group discussion.
- Use the ‘Member Search’ function within the group to find potential future connections.
- Start your own discussion, and be sure to follow the ongoing conversation.Before starting a discussion, however, check out the group’s rules, because some group managers have specifically outlawed links to your website or other things they feel are too self-promotional. For more on this somewhat tricky subject, read Cheryl Snapp Conner’s Forbes article: LinkedIn Ruckus Redux: Site-wide Moderation Policy (Quietly) Evolves.
- When appropriate, suggest taking the conversation offline and build a personal relationship. Then send direct messages to members and share helpful information and/or resources.
Don’t Do This in LinkedIn Groups
- You must avoid spamming. Spending most of your time in group discussions selling your products and services is a big no-no.
- Make hurtful, personal or overly negative comments in the discussions. You don’t have to agree with everything said, but you must stay positive!
- Feel compelled to receive the daily or even weekly LinkedIn email notifications from every groups you are in – this can be overwhelming! Pick a few of your best groups, and follow those consistently; check the others out when you have the available time.
- Hesitate to end your membership in a group if you feel you’re not getting any benefit. There are usually several groups in the same space. Find a new one that’s a better fit for you!
Now that you know the best ways to find and interact in groups, go join some new groups and start making friends!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Power Formula!
About the Author: Wayne Breitbarth is the CEO of Power Formula LLC. He is an experienced businessman, speaker and author who has shared his passion for social media with 40,000+ business professionals through private business consulting and dynamic presentations to audiences including Inc. Magazine, the American Marketing Association, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Wayne is the author of the best-selling book The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success. Connect with Wayne on Twitter.