One of LinkedIn’s greatest and possibly most underused features is its groups. Used in the correct way, LinkedIn groups can help you successfully reach almost any social media marketing goal, especially when it comes to networking.
LinkedIn limits users to 50 groups. I am a member of 50 groups, so I know a useful LinkedIn group when I’m in the middle of one. Anyone can join 50 LinkedIn groups, but doing so can be like having 100,000 Twitter followers. You can’t successfully be a part of that many conversations, so choose carefully.
Here are some tips for making the most of LinkedIn groups:
Will You Be My Number 1?
If you are new to LinkedIn or haven’t been as active on it as you should, I’d advise attempting to first find that one go-to group that can have the most impact on your social media goals. Depending on those goals and the industry you are in, you may only have to join one LinkedIn group to be successful. There are a few ways you can go about searching for that “killer” group. For example, if you are interested in anything Cisco, then the 122,000-member CISCO LinkedIn group is for you. It’s a one-stop shop for all things Cisco, whether the topic is what company Cisco is purchasing this week or what certification is changing next month. Many companies you are partnering with will have these separate LinkedIn groups. I find them especially helpful in providing better insight than Cisco’s LinkedIn company page, which is run by Cisco’s crack social media team. You will want to take advantage of the CISCO LinkedIn group’s healthy number of subgroups as well that don’t count against your 50-group limit. Same thing goes for cloud computing. LinkedIn boasts a 218,000-member Cloud Computing group that is the must-join group if cloud computing is in your wheelhouse. Hopefully there’s a group like this for your industry that will fulfill all your needs. Let me know if you need help finding one.
Don’t Be That Guy
If you do choose to join a number of LinkedIn groups, be aware of group etiquette. Don’t blast your sales promo in every group that has even the most remote link to your industry. Any group worth joining also has a membership that will mark items as spam, so make sure you post relevant info. Be sure to pace yourself as well. Liking discussions and commenting on topics is fine, but posting discussion after discussion with links to your website is not being part of the conversation. At the worst, you’ll get kicked out of the group. At the least, you’ll get ignored. You’ll want to avoid both.
Watch Your Language
I’m a techie in the marketing field, so when I’m trying to acclimate with the natives or target audience I try to watch myself. Unless it’s a marketing-based LinkedIn group, try to keep the “synergy leveraging” to a minimum. Buzzwords are a buzz kill in a legitimate LinkedIn group, especially if the users have no purchasing authority.
While I find large industry groups on LinkedIn useful, some of my best interactions on LinkedIn are in smaller regional groups where you not only share an interest, but you also share a zip code. Every industry has that huge LinkedIn group. Some have more than one. I’d suggest searching for a more regional group for your industry where you can contribute content and add to discussions with more impact. HDI, PMI, Microsoft, VMware, and others have a number of local chapters and user groups in most major metropolitan areas. I am located near Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, so there’s a wealth of technical and marketing LinkedIn groups that have fewer than 100 members. They are very active, so you don’t get lost in the firehose flow like you can in the super groups. It’s also easier to have a greater impact in a smaller group if you treat them as if you’re the big fish in a little pond. Just make sure your content is always relevant to the group and you’ll be golden.