LinkedIn groups are an excellent way to get connected with like-minded individuals, prospects, potential partners and affiliates, and our colleagues. But, how can we use these groups to achieve our goal of building influence? Here are 4 proven ways to build influence with LinkedIn groups.
1. Pick the Right Group For You
LinkedIn allows you to be a member of 50 groups maximum so you can afford to be picky. You can see below that there are over 2.1 million LinkedIn groups to choose from on an incredibly wide range of topics.
To determine which groups you should be a part of, you need to know what your goal is. In this article, we’re talking about building influence within our industry or niche so here are a few questions to consider when choosing your groups:
- What is my niche or industry?
- What groups do the current influencers in my industry belong to and participate in?
- What groups will allow me to share my own valuable content?
- In what groups are my colleagues and connections already members?
Going through the above questions will help you determine which groups you are going to sign-up for when you start out. It’s important to remember that you can leave a group at any time so it doesn’t hurt to experiment. If a group isn’t yielding the results you wanted, bow out and try a different one.
2. Contribute to the Value of Discussions
The best ways to build influence using LinkedIn groups is to contribute to discussions with value. Joining a group alone is not going to get the offers and dollars pouring into your company. You have to actively engage with group members by setting yourself apart.
Answer questions posed by group members, contribute your opinion and follow up with relevant articles to threads on topics you can provide insight, and always remember to use an active voice. Corporate speak can be lost inside a group on LinkedIn. Yes, LinkedIn is the professional network but we’re not meant to be robots here – be personal and relatable!
Always, always, always check the rules for each group you join to discover their guidelines on sharing your own unique content. If the blog post or webinar you are sharing relates directly to a discussion or topic in a group, and the admin has given you the green light, go ahead and share. Remember, that you should curate more content inside groups instead of spamming the group with your own words.
To find each group’s rules, click on the sprocket in the top right corner of the groups page.
You will then see a drop down box with the option to click on “Group Rules.”
3. Start Your Own Threads
Now that you know your group’s rules and you know how to add value to discussions that are already in progress, you need to start building your own influence in the group by being a leader. Start a topic of discussion by asking questions, sharing a new article from a trusted influencer or news source, or support another group member by curating their content.
Start threads that will accomplish the following goals:
- Share changes in your industry or niche
- Teach members a new skill or improve an old one
- Create a lively debate and discussion
- Showcase a member’s achievements
- Set yourself apart as the go-to expert
Threads that you start in LinkedIn groups are meant to be a way for you to lead the charge. Once you start a thread, stay active in it by following up on comments and asking follow-up questions to keep the discussion moving forward.
4. Respond to Influencers
One of the reasons you decided to join a particular group should have been to engage with your industry’s influencers by responding to their threads, curating their content, and creating a relationship. If you want to make a connection with a particular influencer, a great way to make this happen is by engaging with them in a group. After “introducing” yourself in a discussion, head over to their profile and send a connection request with a personalized invitation that mentions your discussion. You’re more likely to get them to accept your request and now you have a great jumping off point to start a personal discussion.
Using LinkedIn groups to build influence takes strategy and time. Avoid spamming groups, invest your time by not only posting threads but following up and engaging and you will see a direct impact on your influence. What groups are you a part of on LinkedIn? Post your favorite group in the comments!