You probably already know that using LinkedIn can be a fruitful way to generate leads and strengthen your company’s brand. It’s also great for establishing your expertise through its groups feature.There are hundreds of LinkedIn groups on every business category out there, from engineering to yoga. Finding a few in your niche and becoming an active participant can help potential customers find you.
Benefits of LinkedIn Groups
Establishing yourself as an industry expert is one of the best ways to build trust with potential clients. Let’s say you’re an expert in public relations, and you join a group geared toward people who work in healthcare technology (your niche). You share relevant articles and start discussions. You make yourself available to respond to questions people have on the group about PR. People come to think of you as the go-to person on the subject. Before long, you’re getting LinkedIn requests from other members, and people start inquiring about your services.
You could easily snag a few clients simply by sharing what you know best.
Business to Business Public Relations is a good example of a LinkedIn group in which members use their professional expertise to connect with one another. Members share PR-related content, comment on one another’s posts, and engage in dialogue.
Groups are also beneficial because they help you get your company’s name in multiple, targeted social media posts. If you’re already active on Twitter and guest blogging regularly, LinkedIn groups provide one more place for people to find you. Often they’ll start to see you across multiple channels (professionals in a given industry tend to spend time in the same places online), and might begin to think of you as a top player in that industry.
Finding the Right Groups
The key with groups is not to go overboard. Yes, it’s tempting to join all the groups that relate to your industry, but don’t join more than you can feasibly participate in on a regular basis. Also consider whether you’re better off joining groups designed for networking with other professionals in your industry (they won’t be hiring you, but will provide great insight and updates that can inspire your work elsewhere) or groups of interest to your client base.
Take the industry-focused group HVAC Service Selling, for example. Group members are engaged, supportive of one another, and actively share useful content. Even though they’re in the same industry and may in some cases compete with one another, they all work together to share information and insight.
Make a Plan
If you’re already spending time on social media, add LinkedIn groups to your to-do list. Typically, it’s a good idea to:
- Review and comment on other members’ content and conversations
- Share your own content and insights
- Like or share existing content
- Connect with active members on LinkedIn to further the relationship
If you spend some time checking out active LinkedIn groups, you’ll notice they have more than just a wall of content from members. In the Agile Transformations group, for instance, not only do members share relevant content, but they also engage in dialogue around that content and follow up with each other to provide supporting information.
Set a goal each week for LinkedIn group activity. For example, you could share one of your blog posts, share two of someone else’s posts, comment on two posts, and connect to five other members. It won’t take a great deal of time, but after a few months, you’re likely to see your LinkedIn network grow, and more engagement on the content you share in groups.
What’s the Cost?
Joining LinkedIn and participating in groups is free, but keep in mind that your time costs money. Participating in groups can be professionally rewarding, but you need to balance the time you spend participating against the results for your business — such as client leads, referrals, or potentially lucrative professional networking opportunities. If you’re time-strapped but have the budget, you can work with a social media firm to help you with your LinkedIn group updates.