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Growing Your Brand and Business: Using LinkedIn Groups

With LinkedIn operating the largest online professional network with some 160 million users across 200 countries, it is clear that being active on this site is essential to growing your brand and business. However, being successful at generating business on LinkedIn requires developing and following a plan of action to ensure that the optimal results are achieved.

Being part of LinkedIn groups is an important part of an individual marketing strategy.

According to the most recent statistics provided by LinkedIn, “members are sharing insights and knowledge in more than 1.25 million LinkedIn Groups.” By joining groups that pertain to your industry (or not – your niche or other area), you are able to interact with like-minded groups of people, regardless of your connection to them. “One major reason for me to be involved in a LinkedIn group… I can have access to other group members, whether I have a direct connection with them or not,” says Jason Alba, author of I’m on LinkedIn — Now What???: A Guide to Getting the Most OUT of LinkedIn.

Create Your Own Group

Creating your own LinkedIn group provides you with even more benefits and opportunities to interact with the right prospects. The added bonus of creating and managing your own group is that you have control over the group and its focus. By having your own group, you highlight your expertise in the topics being discussed and have more of a say in what topics are covered in the group.  As group manager, you are able to list your events, connect to members directly and can even choose who will be allowed in the group.  One of the most effective ways to connect with members is to welcome new additions to the group with a personalized message. “My experience is that few people acknowledge new connections with a personal reply, something that takes just a few seconds,” says Jeff Korhan, author of 10 LinkedIn Tips for Building Your Business. “This is why this strategy is so valuable for developing relationships and standing apart from others who are just collecting connections.”

Stay Active

LinkedIn users should remember that, like real world networking, to receive the greatest benefit you must put in the effort and remain an active participant in groups. One strategy is to become “very” active in three or four groups.  Being very active means checking in at least 3 to 5 times a week.  When you check in, get involved in discussion, post questions, share articles and look for ways to help people find solutions to their challenges.  Work to create a reputation as a giver and provider of expert information.   The more active you are on LinkedIn, the more you will get out of it. “LinkedIn Groups provide you with an audience of interested individuals who are there to learn and share,” says Susan Shapiro, Operations Strategist for Bralan Consulting. “By actively participating, you become an expert, a resource your listeners may turn to for themselves and/or their clients.”

The State of LinkedIn

c/o viralblog.com

LinkedIn and social media in general should primarily be used for networking, branding and relationship development.  If you use LinkedIn as a vehicle to push sales messages and sell aggressively, success will be hard to find.  Make your LinkedIn efforts part of your personal marketing and branding strategy.  Selling will push people away and, if you spam, might even get your account suspended.  People in the real world and on LinkedIn want to do business with people that they know, like and trust.  Use this site as a vehicle to advance your brand and to get people to know who you are, like you for the information that you provide and trust you as a person who provides good content and delivers.

LinkedIn Groups offer a tremendous opportunity to meet people and expose them to your expertise. Leverage the relationships you create in groups and make personal connections.  Begin conversations and demonstrate that you can offer value and support.   These efforts will lead to relationships which will grow your brand and build your business.

Author:

This article is provided by Bill Corbett, Jr., President of Corbett Public Relations, Inc., a leading media relations, social media and personal branding consulting firm.  For more information, go to corbettpr.com or to his blog corbettprblog.com.  He can be reached at wjcorbett@corbettpr.com or @wjcorbett.

Sources:

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