I talk to many business owners who join LinkedIn, because they’ve been invited, but don’t know what to do next.
LinkedIn can be a great source for networking, marketing awareness and sharing ideas. One of the best ways of doing this is to join groups.
What types of groups are there?
If you do a LinkedIn “group search” you will find all types of forums out there. Be aware that the “groups search” functionality is not that great. Another way of finding a group is to look at a business associate or competitor’s profile and check out what groups they belong to.
Now I’ve joined a group, what do I do?
Being a member of on-line group is exactly the same as being a member of any group on the outside world. If you sit in the corner of the room you will be ignored. Get your name about by participating and using them.
What types a group should I join?
- Industry specific – these are great groups to join to keep up to date with the marketplace, share ideas and gather information. You might even find out what your competitors are up to!
- Geographical business groups – Great for finding out what the local buzz is in your area. Become the resident guru. Ask and respond to questions, which relate to your profession, for example if you are in the exhibition stand business you might wish to find out what events people are attending in the near future.
- Business Networking Groups often have their own forums and there are special interest sites out there too.
What’s the etiquette?
Like any other club, anything rude and offensive will give you a bad reputation and get you kicked out. Some groups will post their own rules and regulations. Blatant advertising and self-promotion in the “discussions” section is a huge bug-bear of mine. Put this type of information in the “news”
What should I do now?
- Join a couple of groups if you haven’t already – some are more active than others and you won’t know how good a group is until you become a member. You can always leave if it’s not for you.
- Ask a couple of questions and see what happens
- Respond to some questions already posted
- Change your settings if you wish to – you can choose the frequency you receive emails from the group etc.
One last note: If you’re a SME in the South West then remember to join the “Bright Business Thoughts” group!