If you’re actively looking for ways to brand yourself using social media, LinkedIn is a great tool to add to your armory. In general, it serves as your public resume, with your job experience, testimonials and other social widgets being available for viewing by anyone interested in looking at your profile. But Groups are a whole other level of branding to consider.
LinkedIn offers members the chance to join different groups to connect to other likeminded folks. There are groups for Telecom professionals, marketing experts (that’s my group!), design pros, IT folks and so much more. There’s a group for just about any professional industry or interest you could imagine!
Getting Started with Groups
The first step is to consider what type of group you should join. You can start with people who have the same profession as you, but realize that probably won’t net you much new business. If it’s new customers you’re seeking, look for groups in the industries you serve. That might be a small business group, or one in a niche, like oil and gas.
Look at the groups your contacts are members of. If you want more customers, see what groups your existing customers participate in. If you admire someone in your field professionally, see what groups he has joined.
Once you’ve joined one or more LinkedIn groups, contribute meaningfully to conversations. Provide insight on existing topics, and start your own. Avoid being self-promotional; your content should stand up on its own merit. If you provide useful info, people will seek you out.
(Groups are also a fantastic way to learn more about the topics you’re interested in. Make it a point to read the posts others share.)
And once you’ve found your niche within the group, don’t be afraid to connect to other members. Just send a LinkedIn request with a short note:
I see you’re also a member of Marketing Experts group. How do you like it? Let’s connect!
This gives the person you’re contacting some context to understand why they should accept your offer to connect. You are, after all, interested in the same topics!
Aim to peek in on the groups you’re a member of once a week or so. Don’t join so many you can’t keep track of them, or more than you can feasibly contribute to. Instead, find those that provide the best value for your goals–and know what those goals are. Are you looking for professional advice from your colleagues? Looking to find a new job? Want new customers? Use these goals in finding groups to join on LinkedIn.
You’ll soon see more name recognition when you pop up in groups and on other social channels, as a result of being vocal on LinkedIn groups!
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