Most businesses, and hopefully individuals, realize the incredible power of LinkedIn by now. Making connections, networking, a full display of your work history and unique skill set are all fantastic; however, an often under utilized feature of LinkedIn is LinkedIn Groups. Using LinkedIn groups properly is so beneficial; I am always dumbfounded when I hear of people not utilizing this feature.
The LinkedIn Groups feature can be especially useful for B2B businesses for the following reasons:
#1) LinkedIn Groups Keep You Informed on Your Industry
Since LinkedIn is a professional networking site, content, news, and LinkedIn groups are centered around and categorized by particular industries. By joining LinkedIn groups that pertain to your field and industry, you are exposed to a wealth of content and discussion within the groups that will increase your knowledge base.
You can be sure that within these specific groups, you will be coming across high quality content that relates to your business interests.
#2) LinkedIn Groups Let You Network with & Learn From Peers
The most important thing to realize while perusing all of this undeniably wonderful content inside your LinkedIn groups is that it’s being shared, discussed, and explored by other individual LinkedIn members, or other businesses. By strategically choosing groups that are likely be posting and discussing content that you will find valuable, you have the ability to not only take in and learn this new info, but also see who is posting it, their background, and potentially make a connection outside the group.
Here are some examples of different ways LinkedIn groups are categorized:
Industry based (i.e. “Solar” or “Professional Coaching”)
Field based (i.e. “Sales Professionals” or “Social Media Marketing”)
Title based (i.e. “CEOs and Chief Executives” or “Human Resources”)
Location based (i.e. “San Diego Business Professionals”)
Education based (i.e. “USC School of Business Alumni”)
Interest based (i.e. “Open Business Networking”)
As you can see above, there is a plethora of ways and opportunities for you and your business to make connections with peers based on various categories. Use the “search function” within the groups tab to choose groups that pertain to you and your business, and are filled with peers that relate to you on various levels.
#3) LinkedIn Groups Let You Connect with More People
When requesting a connection on LinkedIn, I’m sure you are all aware by now that you are prompted to check a box on “how you know this person you are trying to connect with.” If you don’t know the person directly, you are forced to enter in an email address (which you may not have if you have just come across this person in a search you conducted, and found them interesting without knowing them.) Being a part of a group with someone allows an additional option to pop up in the “how do you know this person” prompt when sending a connection request. LinkedIn values relationships being made within LinkedIn groups, and will allow you to send connections to even third degree connections that you normally wouldn’t be able to (even for networking purposes), if you are a part of the same group with that person.
While conducting an advanced search on LinkedIn for something in particular, you have the option to narrow down your search by only people you are in a group with, and be confident that you will be able to send a connection to someone of interest without restriction because of this feature.
#4) LinkedIn Groups Help Build Relationships with Your Target Audience
Once you join LinkedIn groups that you have deemed “of interest” to you in one way or another, you can begin to interact with these people in an appropriate, natural way. By sharing and/or commenting on posts, participating in discussions, and answering questions that people may have and you may know the answer to, you will begin to build a meaningful relationship with the right people.
Again, since LinkedIn is a professional networking site, it is hands down the best platform for B2B businesses to find, network with, and build relationships with their peers and customers.
Let’s say for example you are a Solar Company looking to sell your panels to businesses. In this scenario, let’s say you have identified companies in San Diego with at least 100 employees as your target, and you know that the best person to get in touch with is a chief executive of the company. Now that you have been interacting with, sharing articles, and engaging in discussion with these people for long enough that they would recognize your name, you may have the opportunity to connect with and send a private note to your target customer regarding your services. In this situation, LinkedIn Groups is an easy and fantastic venue for you to begin creating a relationship with a user you have identified as someone likely to make a purchase after nurturing the relationship, and are easily identifiable in a search by narrowing down using the qualifications I stated above.
#5) LinkedIn Groups Help Promote and Market Your Content
LinkedIn groups are also a wonderful area to assist you in pushing your content to the right audience. Because the groups are specifically categorized in extremely descriptive and meaningful ways, you can post your content (blog articles, videos, infographics, job postings, questions, etc. — keep it valuable, not “salesy”) inside a group that would find that particular item interesting and begin to build a relationship with your audience as a thought leader in your industry as well.
If you are an executive coach, and are strategically and consistently posting leadership, management, and work/life balance content that you have created into a “Los Angeles CEO Leadership” group, your target audience may begin to recognize your name and picture as someone who is providing them with insight and value, and may be interested in getting your advice or answers on some of their questions. From that point, before even “selling” the idea of your services to this person, they may come to you with interest in retaining your coaching services after viewing you as an expert in the category.
Bottom Line of LinkedIn Groups
There is absolutely only something to gain, and nothing to lose by joining LinkedIn Groups. You can learn, network, build relationships, and promote yourself and your business (in an appropriate manner of course) inside relevant group settings.
Side note: by heading to the “privacy and settings” section of LinkedIn, you can change your email notification settings to reflect how often you would like to be sent updates from groups, if ever. Once in that section, look under the “Privacy Setting” under the “Communications” tab and you can click “Set frequency of emails” to make necessary changes!
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