LinkedIn Groups – Friend or Foe

“Ever since the group interface has changed, there has been a major drop in engagement.”

“Groups have no value – I haven’t been able to get anything out of them.”

“I’m posting in groups but nobody is liking or commenting… it’s just not working.”

“Groups are a waste of time.  How do I even know if I’m joining the right ones?”

“I still have 10 pending groups… if administrators aren’t working in the groups, why should I spend my time there?”

“Who has time for LinkedIn Groups?

These are some of the comments I have heard on-line and off-line recently.  There seems to be a pretty significant disconnect between what you can actually do with LinkedIn groups and what you think you can/can’t do with LinkedIn Groups. The amount of negativity regarding groups comes down to whether you have the understanding on how to leverage them appropriately.  There is so much more than meets the eye…

“Ever since the group interface has changed, there has been a major drop in engagement.”

LinkedIn Groups can be incredibly impactful if leveraged the right way.  Yes, the group interface has changed and I am sure has unsettled a number of professionals that no longer are familiar and not interested in investing the time to re-learn groups all over again.  Knowledge is power.  Take the time.

“Groups have no value – I haven’t been able to get anything out of them.”

Groups actually have tremendous valueLinkedIn Groups allow you to expand your network by the thousands/ tens of thousands / hundreds of thousands just by joining them.  LinkedIn Groups allow you to reach past your network of 1st, 2nd, 3rd degree connections and engage professionals you otherwise would not have the opportunity to engage.

“I’m posting in groups but nobody is liking or commenting… it’s just not working. I’ve been doing it for at least a month at this point.”

This is a perfect example of talking at people instead of speaking with them.  We have all heard many times that content is king.  If that is true, then conversation is queen.

Do you play chess?  The king is the most important piece on the board.  When the king is captured, the game is over.  The queen is the most powerful piece on the board.  She is more capable than any other piece on the board.  Content is important, but conversation is powerful.

Also, there is no magic bullet and we certainly can’t sprinkle fairy dust to make things happen.  You still have to work at prospecting.  You still have to earn trust.  There is no instant gratification here, so posting content for a month and expecting to fill your pipeline is unreasonable, especially if your prospects sales cycles are extensive.

Let me offer a best practice.

Choose 20 Groups that contain your ideal client profile.  Over the course of 4 weeks (1 month / 20 work days), carve out 20 minutes per day.  Each day, go into 2 groups for 10 minutes each, and spend the time just engaging in other people’s posts.  Like, Comment, Share.  Choose the professionals that meet your ideal client profile.  Don’t sell.  Don’t pitch.  Engage with them as if you were having a face-to-face discussion.  Elicit responses and pull others into the conversation.

In addition to engaging, post 1 article or blog into each of the 2 groups you are focusing on that day.

This best practice will allow you to post content to 20 groups per week, maximizing the exposure of what is relevant to you in different networks of professionals every day.  Now you are getting out past your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree connections.

  “Groups are a waste of time.  How do I even know if I’m joining the right ones?”

That’s actually easier to answer than you think.  It’s quite simple actually.  Perform an advanced search on the group from your advanced search page, and choose the group you are searching within as one of your filters.  Everyone has the ability to choose 1 group to search within, whether you have the free LinkedIn platform, or a premium LinkedIn platform.  You must be a member of the group in order to perform an advanced search, so be sure to choose groups that make the most sense as far as your business is concerned. If there are enough results that meet your requirements, that’s a good start.  Also look at engagement and discussions within the group.  Groups with high engagement are the best environments in which to network, prospect, and engagement.

“I still have 10 pending groups… if administrators aren’t working in the groups, why should I spend my time there?”

When the interface was introduced in 2015, LinkedIn provided group members the ability to accept each other into the open groups.  This means that if you want to join ABC Group and I am already in that group, you can reach out and ask me to approve your pending request.

“Who has time for LinkedIn Groups?

Make the time.  20 minutes per day is a good start.  You will quickly find which groups are friends and which are foes.  You can join up to 100 groups, and you will have to switch them out intermittently, but where else can you find an audience that has already been built that you can jump in and engage with at any time of day?  Do you think you can do 20 minutes per day?  I think you can too.  It’s all about the process.  Best practices will only get you so far… it’s time to implement a strategy.

Here’s a bonus tip on leveraging LinkedIn Groups

Join the LinkedIn Groups of the Chambers, Associations, and networking groups you frequent face-to-face.  Then leverage the search function in those groups to find the professionals that are also members, and meet your ideal client profile.  Reach out before the next event, and ask if they are attending.  Plan to meet right at the event.  This will allow you to maximize your time at the event, and be more purposeful in working the room.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments.  Did this change the way you look at LinkedIn Groups?  Do you have any other ways that you have made LinkedIn Groups work for you that you can share?

When you are ready to implement an actual social selling process, contact Bobbie at All About Leverage for more information. It’s all about the process!

Remember:

  • Be the first to give to your new business relationships
  • Always pay it forward
  • Network with purpose.
Bobbie

About Bobbie

Bobbie specializes in helping executives as well as sales & marketing teams maximize client acquisition through the intersection of face-to-face networking combined with social selling techniques. Her customized programs and processes not only help in building the right network of prospects, clients, referral partners, and centers of influence, but also provide techniques to become thought leaders in their industry and stay top of mind with their targets.

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