Everybody has heard of it, and most business professionals use it, but when it comes to using it for your business, many avoid it. But LinkedIn can be just as valuable a source of contacts as Facebook and Twitter (perhaps even more so). CEO of agencyonnet, Rajesh Menon, brings you the top tips to making the most of this social media platform.
LinkedIn groups is a community of like-minded professionals from the same industry or interest area coming together. Today there are over 1.8 Million groups on LinkedIn which make it an extremely powerful tool for networking. Before you jump in and try joining all 1.8 Million groups, bear in mind that LinkedIn restricts members from joining more than 50 groups. Like every other social media, users tend to abuse groups and as a result get little out of it. The secret lies in the 5 critical things that you need to bear in mind.
- Join groups carefully.
Identify groups where your potential customers are present. Before you join a group check out the group statistics. You can find it by clicking on the information and settings icon on the top right of the group page.
- How many members does the group have? Do the demographics fit into who you want to network with?
- How active is the group. Do many members participate or is the participation restricted to a few members?
- What are the group rules?
- Is the group a closed or open group? An open group allows discussions to be viewed by everyone while in a closed group they can only be viewed by members. Personally speaking I prefer open groups as it allows for indexing by search engines which lets whatever I post be picked up in search.
- Set your group digest frequency.
Go back to your profile privacy setting. You will find it under your picture on the top right of your home page. Under the Groups, Companies & Application tab you will find an option to set the frequency of group digest mails. You have the option of either having a weekly digest or a daily digest. Set your frequency for a daily digest.
This will auto-forward to you all activities taking place in your group in a digest form and deliver it to your mail box. If you are managing 50 groups, this is a great functionality to have as it will allow you a quick reference point as to whichgroup post or discussion you could go and participate in rather than having to go to every group, every day.
- Participate in group discussions
Participating in posts by putting in a comment and nudging the conversation is a great way to put your point across and begin establishing yourself as a top contributor and a thought leader. Make sure that your comments are relevant to the post and that you are not doing a shameless plugin.
Make sure that you like comments that you really like. Its human nature to find out more about someone who has liked us and the chances are high that the person will view your profile. Bingo! You’ve managed to establish your credentials and your company’s sales pitch to him via your personal profile.
- Post Discussions
Posting is another way to build high credibility. Your posts should be relevant. If you blog, you could post your article and ask members to review it. You could also share interesting articles pertaining to your industry. Don’t just share but remember to put across you own personal viewpoint also on what you are sharing.
Be wary of group rules and avoid the temptation of spamming the same article across all 50 groups to save time! With the new changes that LinkedIn has made on groups, your article may find itself under the promotion tab where no one will see it.
- Connect with members
One of the great advantages of joining groups is the ability to connect with members easily by inviting them. Make sure you tell the member why you want to connect with him. A bigger advantage is the ability to send private messages to group members without incurring costs on LinkedIn’s Inmail. Just make sure that you don’t abuse this facility or you’re likely to be flagged as a spammer.