Finding the Linkedin Group for You

You already know that Linkedin Groups are great for you and your business because:

1. They provide an ongoing source of useful information.

2. You can find resources you never knew existed by following the “link trails”.

3. They are a focused networking tool.

4. You have an opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise with people that care.

5. You can find your next job or project using Linkedin groups.

 

Now that were clear on the five benefits of Linkedin groups, it’s time to cover the details behind how to chose a group. With over 1.5 million groups available, knowing what you want, using an efficient search methods and learning how to evaluate a group will help you find Linkedin groups that are of value to you and your business.

 

Strategies for Finding Linkedin Groups

Know What You Want

By clearly defining what you are looking for in a group you focus your attention on what’s important. Do you want a group for resources, ideas and information about a particular industry or subject matter? Are you looking to connect with industry peers, clients or other business leaders?

Try to be as specific as possible about your reasons for joining a group. Don’t try to make one group fit all your needs. For example, if you want to connect with peers and potential clients, choose two different groups. Yes, you might end up connecting with clients through the group you designated as your “peer” group, but by defining the group as a peer group you can go in with a consistent voice and not sound like you’re trying to sit on both sides of the fence.

 

Use Efficient Search Methods

Avoid wasting time by determining your search method. There are multiple methods to go about searching for groups. I will cover three here, but you may be able to come up with more as you explore the possibilities.

Learn from Others: Think about all the people you respect, people who are active Linkedin users or others whom you feel might join groups that you would want to be a part of and look at their Profile. As you review their Profile page you will see a section called “Groups” click on the groups that interest you and review to determine if there is a fit. See “Evaluating Linkedin Groups” below for tips on how to determine which groups are a good fit.

Linkedin groups you may likeBrowse: Some people prefer to just browse in order to see what’s out there. If this is your style, then you will like the Groups Directory page. This is a huge alphabetized directory of every Linkedin Group. The page starts with a list of “Featured” groups and continues through the alphabet for all groups.

Customize Search: When you want your search to be catered to you, use the “Groups You May Like” section. You can find this when you log in and go to the top and choose: Groups>Groups You May Like. You may also see samples from this list on the right hand side of the page when you are in Groups.

On the Groups You May Like results page you can chose to browse the whole list or use keywords on the left side to refine your results. I recommend going back to what you learned during the “Know What You Want” phase and use keywords to find your groups. For example, I might search for “Social Media” or “Online Strategy”.

 

Evaluating Linkedin Groups

Once you find a handful of groups that look interesting you have to decide if you want to join them. Linkedin allows you to join up to 50 groups with a free membership. You will want to evaluate a group before joining not only because of the limitation on the number of groups you can be a part of, but also because you should sign up for daily or weekly digests (emails) from groups that are of particular interest. There is nothing more annoying than receiving updates from groups that you didn’t research and they turn out to be spammy or irrelevant for you.
One method for evaluating your group is to use the Linkedin stats on the right hand side when you go to the Group page. Typically these stats will show:

Linkedin Group Stats

Demographics
  • What it shows: Where are the members from? What country? If they are in the USA, what state are they based out of?
  • What you should ask yourself: Is it important to me to have members whom I can meet in person? If yes, look for a membership that is more local to you. Am I trying to gain insight into industry trends outside of my country? If yes, be sure there is a good mix of nationalities in the group. Am I trying to reach clients, peers or connections? If yes, be sure you have your connections in the group.
Growth
  • What it shows: The membership growth of the group over the past few months.
  • What you should ask yourself: Is membership growing, declining or stagnating? Look at when the group was established (see Summary). Do you feel there should be more members? Do they have too many members? Remember big doesn’t always mean better. Some groups become too spammy when they get too big.
Activity
  • What it shows: How many active conversations are going on in this group?
  • What you should ask yourself: Are the members active? The number of conversations is important, but what’s even more important is the quality of the conversation. Go back into the group main page. If it’s an Open group you will be able to see the types of posts and topics that are being discussed. If it’s a Closed group, you may have to try it out to know if the conversations that are being shared are of value to you.
Summary
  • What it shows: When the group was established. How many members and comments have been posted during a specified time period. The position  and function of the members. Where the majority of members are based.
  • What you should ask yourself: For the amount of time that the group has been active, do they have a lively, healthy looking membership? Is the location of the membership a fit with your goals? For example, if you notice 70% of a group’s membership is based in NYC and you are in Ohio looking for other businesses and professionals in Ohio, you may be better served looking for a group that has the majority of it’s membership from Ohio.

 

The bottom line is, only you can determine the right Linkedin Groups for you. There are tips and tools, but at the end of the day you need to decide if the group is of value and in alignment with your goals. Groups are a valuable tool and one that you should not ignore but, keep in mind that behind every group are people and people change. This means the group can change. Be sure to try new groups every so often to ensure the most value from your Linkedin Groups.

 

 

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About Karin Khuhro

Karin Khuhro is a Digital Marketing Strategist, Speaker and Copywriter. As the owner of Strategy E-ssentials she works with other savvy marketers, digital specialists and business leaders to bring knowledge, know-how and solutions to small and medium sized businesses. Connect with Karin on Google+ or Linkedin.