LinkedIn groups could be hugely beneficial for your business. The key is using them in the right way.
LinkedIn Groups basics
There are a huge number of groups on LinkedIn. Some only have a handful of members. Others have 10s or even 100s of thousands of members. Some are very active whilst others are pretty much dormant.
You can be a member of up to 100 groups but I would suggest that a smaller number would be more appropriate if you are going to get any value from them. Why is that? Because the value comes from engagement and that requires focussed effort.
There are groups covering pretty much every profession, industry sector and area of interest.
Why are groups so beneficial?
The effective use of LinkedIn is all about engaging with your network of contacts. There are a number of ways you can engage with your network. You can message your first tier connections privately through LinkedIn. You can also engage with anyone who comments on your status updates or posts, but these are all public conversations. That’s a pretty limited number of people. You could buy a premium subscription and get a monthly allowance of InMails which can be sent to ANY LinkedIn member, but that can be expensive and most people look on InMails as sales messages.
That’s where groups come in. You can send up to 15 messages a month to fellow group members. It used to be unlimited but there were concerns about the number of sales and spam messages being sent so a restriction has been introduced. Replies and responses don’t count towards the limit – only the original message.
Connecting to group members
If the 15 messages per month limit is constraining, why not connect with the group member and then you can message any time. Normally you can only connect with someone on LinkedIn if they are a 2nd tier connection (i.e. connected to one of your 1st tier connections) or they are an open 3rd tier connection. You’ll know because you can see the connect button.
Fellow group members are considered to be part of your close network so LinkedIn allows you to send them connection requests.
Which LinkedIn groups should you join?
Many business owners get this wrong. They join LinkedIn groups related to their type of business. These are great for keeping up to date with what’s going on in your sector and for demonstrating your expertise within your sector. But your clients are unlikely to be members.
Instead, you need to join groups that your prospects and clients are members of. Now since groups are run by individual LinkedIn members, you will have to request to join and get the owner or moderator’s approval. Some have strict entry criteria to stop people pitching to group members. Others are more open. Sometimes a recommendation from an existing member can get you in.
How do you decide which LinkedIn groups to try and join? If you have a clear understanding of who your target client is (your customer avatar in marketing speak) then the groups they are likely to be a member of should be part of that customer description.
The best place to start is your existing customers. You should be connecting with all your best customers (and getting recommendations from them, but that’s another topic). See which groups they are members of, then try and join the ones relevant to your business. They should be full of members just like your existing customers. Our existing customers may be able to get you membership by recommendation of some of the more closed LinkedIn groups.
What to post in LinkedIn groups
The two biggest mistakes people make when they join a group are:
- Blowing their own trumpet
- Making a sales offer
People do business with people they know, like and trust. If you join a group and immediately start sounding off about what you do and your latest offers you’ll get ignored or banned. And if you get banned, it can impact your use of LinkedIn on a much wider basis.
When you first join a group spend a while watching how the group operates. You may be invited to introduce yourself and if you do, keep it short, factual and low key. Say you are looking forward to contributing to the group and gleaning insights from other members. Don’t make it a sales pitch.
Then start contributing to discussions. Offer thoughts and advice, but again, don’t be pushy or salesy. After a while ask your own questions. Share your relevant content and that of others from outside the group. Once you are established in the group, and if it is permitted in the group rules, it may be appropriate to share the occasional offer. That doesn’t mean every week!
The key is to offer valuable content and insights without selling. Get it right and group members will be coming to you asking for your products or services.
Of course, joining the right LinkedIn groups and saying the right things in them will be wasted if you don’t have a hugely powerful personal profile that demonstrates just what you can do for your clients. Helping clients create that profile and then become members of the right groups and get their content and engagement strategies right are some of the key aspects of my LinkedIn mastery programmes. If you would like to find out more, book a discovery call with me. Here’s a link to my online calendar: https://calendly.com/allen-ruddock/30-minute-1-2-1