Most of us know that it is important to join Groups on LinkedIn. Whether you are interested in the topic of the Group, or it is related to your profession or industry, it’s important to get involved in something about which you have a genuine interest. Here are some tips on how you can add value to the LinkedIn Groups to which you belong.
1. Join groups that are directly connected to the work you do, the work you want to be doing, and causes that light you up and spark a passion.
LinkedIn Groups provide individuals with similar interests to post, share, and even converse on topics and issues in which they are interested and about which they want to share information. A good rule of thumb is to strive to participate in LinkedIn Groups about once a week. Find great content and share it appropriately. (Make sure you have read the content, so you know what it says.)
One source of great content is LinkedIn’s very own Pulse, which is helpful because LinkedIn “knows” your interests. When you click on Pulse, you will see the various articles that LinkedIn thinks you might find of interest. When you find something that warrants being shared, feel free to like the article, comment on the article, and share it with one or more of your groups.
2. Engage members of your Group by asking a question.
Sometimes individuals will post provocative questions to spur a debate or discussion. Be careful not to be too provocative…you could get yourself in trouble…but asking if members of the group have been successful pursuing a particular strategy or program might spark some conversation that could benefit the entire group–not just you. If your question or post is relevant to more than one Group to which you belong, then post to all of them. Be mindful, however, if you belong to a lot of Groups. You don’t want to be flooded with responses all at once.
3. Be conscious of the fact that you are building a personal and professional brand when participating in Group discussions.
Be courteous, be thoughtful, and contribute in a positive way in every post and every interaction. LinkedIn isn’t like Facebook where individuals sometimes let their emotions get the better of them as they engage in political or philosophical debates or discussions. LinkedIn is a professional venue, and the tone should always be respectful and professional. Keep your snarky remarks to yourself. (I wouldn’t recommend posting snarky remarks on Facebook, either, but we have seen that in abundance along with hastily posted and sometimes hastily withdrawn Tweets that were formulated in the heat of the moment. LinkedIn is definitely not the place for snarkiness.)
4. Avoid the temptation to be self-promotional.
Your Groups are places where you exhibit thought leadership. It is a place where you participate as part of a larger professional community. If you use it to promote yourself or a product or service, you will tarnish the brand you are so carefully building. Even LinkedIn offers that “LinkedIn Groups are not the venue for self-promotion—it is a forum for discussion…” (LinkedIn 101: How to Build an Engaged Community on LinkedIn.) I recently read a post by a regular contributor. While the information was useful, it was also filled with hints of holding back the best value in order to drive readers to his business page. At the end of the post, someone commented, “This wasn’t a post, it was an advertisement.” Ouch. Don’t make that mistake.
Even if you are using your participation in LinkedIn Groups to drive up your online visibility and presence in hopes of creating more traffic and the possibility of business, avoid the obvious self-promotional post. Your potential client or customer wants great content—not to be sold to! Share valuable content, and as people come to know, like and trust you, they will gravitate toward you and may become your next client or customer naturally. You have to let them come to you, however, so guard against the overly promotional post or self-promotional discussion in your next Group post.
LinkedIn is a great resource for professionals and it provides a powerful way for entrepreneurs to find leads, prospects, and clients. It is also a great place for sharing valuable information, however, that advances contemplative discussion, thoughtful sharing, and even collaboration. Nurture your LinkedIn network and build an online reputation (brand) as someone who brings value to every conversation in which you participate. Understanding LinkedIn and using it to your advantage will be well worth the time and effort you put into building your relationships within your Groups.
This post was originally published at an earlier date.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a Work It Daily-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.
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