Groups are one of the most valuable resources that LinkedIn has to offer business owners and freelancers. Joining and participating in relevant groups helps you grow your network, increase your visibility and take advantage of a shared pool of knowledge and experience. Here are three tips to help you get the most from LinkedIn groups even on a very tight time budget.
1. Join a few well-chosen groups rather than a multitude. LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 groups but it’s best to be judicious about how many groups that you join. Look for groups where you’ll be able to make a real impact. Bigger isn’t always better, but you’ll want to choose groups that have a lively user base and that are big enough that you can benefit from a wide variety of perspectives and experience.
You can search for groups on LinkedIn by clicking the “groups” tab. LinkedIn will automatically suggest groups that you may like and you can also browse the open groups directory. You can search groups by keyword, category and language.
If you don’t find a group that meets your particular needs, you can always start your own. While it will take some time and effort to get off the ground, the benefits can be large.
2. Visit your groups regularly. You can get email updates but for maximum impact, visit your groups regularly so that you can contribute to the conversation in a timely manner. Make visiting LinkedIn a regular part of your daily routine.
Once you visit, make the most out of your limited time by targeting the most popular conversations. These conversations are where most of the engagement is taking place and where your contributions will be the most visible.
Also take the time to start your own discussions. Not only will you benefit from hearing other’s perspectives and experience, you’ll also increase your visibility. Those who contribute the most to LinkedIn groups are recognized as “top influencers” on the sidebar of each group page. This kind of recognition adds to your authority and visibility on LinkedIn and expands your reach.
3. Be generous to others. Acknowledge their contributions by liking or sharing their posts. This isn’t only the nice thing to do, it also helps you stand out and others will see you as a plugged-in, go-to person.
It’s also good to be generous with your knowledge and other resources. Many are tempted to play it close to the vest but in most cases there is very little to be gained by being stingy with help. On the other hand, being seen as a maven or guru in your field is almost always a good thing.
Think about LinkedIn as being exactly like your local community network because that’s what it is, only on a much larger scale. Those who have a reputation for being generous and quick to acknowledge good work and valuable insights have a leg-up on those who keep to themselves. The old saying is true, you have to give to get.