Have LinkedIn groups had their day?

One of the questions that keeps coming up in discussions with my clients recently is the value of LinkedIn groups and whether it’s really worth getting involved in them. Many of the groups on LinkedIn have lots of members but really low participation. Some don’t have many members at all. And far too many are full of spam, blog posts and self-promotion.

I find personally that LinkedIn groups are much more formal and less fun to use than Facebook groups. You certainly have to work a lot harder to create engagement and build relationships. But from a business perspective, they are still very useful – if used in the right way.

Here are five ways you can get more value from LinkedIn groups: 

1. Join the right LinkedIn groups

Before you rush out and join any old group going, spend some time thinking about what type of group you want to join and why. Do you want to meet potential clients? Do you want to keep yourself updated in your industry? Do you want to meet people within your local area?

Answering this type of question will keep you focused and prevent you from joining too many groups that just clog up your news feed. Think quality rather than quantity. Don’t forget about personal interest groups too. Building relationships with people who share the same interests is the way that a lot of business gets done!

2. Engage, engage, engage

The only way you will get real value from a LinkedIn group is to engage with people and start to build relationships with them. So, if you are a member of a group, don’t just lurk – participate. Start discussions. Ask questions. Help people out. Connect with them via Twitter and Facebook too.

3. Build your network

Check out the profiles of fellow group members. Ask to connect with them if you like what you see! Use the search button to help you find what you want. For example, you might want to find group members in your local area or fellow freelance trainers.

4. Manage and Review

One of the biggest mistakes that people make with LinkedIn groups is joining too many and not really using any of them. If you feel that you fall into this category, it’s probably time to have a review – and a cull!

Check out all your groups.

  • How many are you a member of?
  • Which ones do you contribute to?
  • What type of discussions are happening? Are they useful and interesting?
  • Do you feel you want to get to know the members or not?
  • Which ones are full of spam and self-promotion?

Asking yourself questions like this will help you focus on the groups that you get value from and the ones that you don’t!

5. Build relationships offline

This golden rule applies to all your LinkedIn connections, not just fellow group members. Although LinkedIn is more ‘social’ these days, it still has a way to go. So get proactive and look for ways of meeting people face to face wherever possible. Getting in front of people, building relationships and the “know, like and trust” factor is where you will get the real value from your LinkedIn group activity.

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