LinkedIn Tip: Get With a Group

Posted by Lindsay Hicks on June 9, 2011
LinkedIn Tip: Get With a Group
LinkedIn Groups provide a valuable opportunity to get involved in specific topics related to your brand. They also are a great way to find and collaborate with like-minded people. There are groups for just about everything, including alumni, professional associations, nonprofits, and fraternities. You can engage with the group by posting news or starting discussions. Groups are a great resource for inside info on company culture or fresh job leads. And if you don’t join any groups, you appear disengaged.

“If you are Googling candidates before you call them, whatever online content you find about that person will help them or hurt them,” says one human-resources insiders. “If you have glowing recommendations and are out there on LinkedIn groups offering up high-level advice, and then I have another candidate that looks better on paper but I don’t find anything on that person, I would absolutely call you simply because I know more.”

Do some research before clicking “Join Group.” You want to be able to get something valuable out of each group, as well as contribute to each. Find profiles of professionals in your field whom you look up to or people in the departments of companies you’d like to join and find out where they’re conversing. Once you’ve joined a group, read up on the topics members have been posting about. Then, to immerse yourself in the community, comment on links posted and direct members to interesting articles or your own work.

Another way to strengthen your brand using LinkedIn groups is to start a group of your own. Pick your niche, the specific topic most interesting to you as a professional, and click the “Create a Group” tab. You’ll need a logo and group name, so research similar groups and develop a clear purpose for yours. Brainstorm with some close contacts you can be sure will join your group right off the bat—you don’t want to look like no one showed up for your party.

5 Tips for Creating a LinkedIn Group
LinkedIn groups provide a platform for people with similar interests to congregate, network, and share information. If you’re the creator of a group, you’re immediately identified as a subject expert and can gain tons of valuable LinkedIn connections.

1. Name your group something clear, concise, and easily searchable on LinkedIn and Google. Lewis Howes, the founder of the Sports Executives Association and the website Sports Networker, started the Sports Industry Network on LinkedIn. “Make sure you type in compelling keywords that people search for in Google on a regular basis,” he says. “My group grows 100-plus members every week just because of Google searching.”

2. Connect your group to your website or blog. There’s some prime real estate on the right side of the group page that lists the owner and website. Use this space to link to your own site. Just remember: Nobody likes shameless self promotion, so make sure your site is relevant—don’t link to your Cocktails in the City blog if your group is the Miami Medical Device Sales group.

3. Leverage your network to gain members. Send out invitations to existing LinkedIn connections to join your group. Add your group’s link to your email signature, your Facebook profile, blog, and business card.

4. Post related content on a regular basis. The more often you add discussions, news, and jobs, the more opportunities you provide for interaction. Posting once a day and syncing your post with Facebook and Twitter is a good way to stay in your network’s radar. Just don’t go overboard: Posting more than once a day may annoy your group members.

5. Make it your priority to help others. As Robert Townsend, the former CEO of Avis Rent A Car, said, “True leadership must be for the benefit of the followers, not the enrichment of the leaders.” Although you may have your own agenda when starting a group, the most successful groups help advance their members.

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