Your LinkedIn Profile might look fabulous. But how does it help you if no one sees it? LinkedIn Groups are a great way to increase your visibility in search results. By interacting with others in your LinkedIn groups, people doing similar things to you, you can learn so much, can teach others, and demonstrate your expertise, confidence, and likability. There is so much to love about LinkedIn groups!
LinkedIn allows you to sign up for as many as 50 groups. That may seem like a lot. But you should think of LinkedIn Groups as a way for a much larger audience to see your name and to understand what you’re capable of. I encourage you to sign up for as many groups as LinkedIn allows. There are over 2 million groups from which to choose. Pick Groups that are both interesting for you and aligned with what you’re doing now or what you hope to be doing in the future. The choice of groups is completely up to you.
Sign up for as many groups as you LinkedIn allows. Each group has its own settings. Click the gear-shaped icon to access the group settings. The most important settings are “New Conversation Activity” and “Digest Email”. Uncheck both boxes. If you don’t do this the volume of emails you receive will overwhelm you. As you become familiar with the messaging volume for the groups you can selectively decide to re-enable emails by checking these settings.
The “Digest Email” setting is a convenient way to scan through the group activity. Check this box selectively at first. You could very easily overload your email inbox with too many messages. As you become familiar with each group, decide whether to receive the Digest or not. Then try the next group.
For popular groups having a high volume of messages and updates every day try a weekly digest. That way you don’t get near so many messages in your email inbox throughout the day. That would just be a huge distraction. Maybe you can set aside time at the weekend or on a Monday morning to scan your weekly digest from those groups. If you’ve signed up for the maximum number of groups the volume of messages will still be quite large. But if you just scan for the messages that are quite interesting to you that should save you time and allow you successfully process that huge volume of messages.
I also suggest you pick one or perhaps two groups that are very closely aligned with what you’re doing. These groups you should engage with very heavily, perhaps 20 or 30 minutes every day. Try to set aside that much time. With this engagement, you should be able to begin developing relationships with the others in this group who are also heavily engaged.
And this is the exact point of the groups developing those relationships. Over time you can begin to get to know some of these people perhaps quite casually or if you’re well motivated and a little aggressive you can actually start having a bit of a relationship with these people.
I use the word “engagement” to describe the act of participating in the groups. That includes:
- Clicking “Like” on those articles and posts you enjoyed.
- Sharing articles you thought most relevant. Sharing exposes this article with the connections in your network, even if they are not part of the group. That helps the original poster reach a wider audience. Maybe that original poster will return the favor by someday sharing an article you publish.
- Commenting on articles. Add value with your comment or ask insightful questions. Your comments and questions both serve to build relationships and demonstrate your competence and engagement.
- Follow the comments closely. If someone responds to your comment, reply back to them. Encourage the conversation and nurture the relationship.
- View the profiles of article posters. Connect with them. Send them private messages thanking them for the post and asking more about them and tell them about yourself and your own situation. You have to work to build relationships.
- Post articles which you found interesting and relevant to the topic of the group.
- Write your own articles and post them to the group. You can use the LinkedIn publishing platform or your own blog. (I encourage Telecoms folks to setup and use their own blog. But that is a topic for another post.)
Over time you can begin to get to know some of these people perhaps quite casually or if you’re well motivated and a little aggressive you can actually start having a bit of a relationship with these people. As these relationships grow you should share your career concerns, ambitions and goals. You can never know where your next good job prospect might come from. Maybe the person you are getting to know has the same issues as you.
As you engage with your groups keep in mind your reasons for participating in Groups:
- Demonstrate your competence in a specific field or discipline to a wider audience in your field.
- Grow your knowledge
- Expand your network of connections.
- Be a likable person that people enjoy to work with and would want to work with.
I suggest you begin by posting something you’re working on today or recently. Post a question about it. It’s not actually necessary that you have a question. What is important is that you post something get your name there and post something that’s going to draw someone else in. The best way to do that is to ask a question in your post. You want to give people a reason to engage with you. Asking a question gives them something to respond to.
A bit of a warning about posting to these groups. Some of the groups have a very large audience, up to 100,000 members or more. I know of groups with more than a million members. It can be a little intimidating to know what you write will be seen by so many people. In fairness, every member of the group will not see your post. Many people join these groups and never participate or engage at all. Nonetheless, a lot of people may see your post. If you are not comfortable to post to such a large audience, or if you feel you’re a little inexperienced, that’s OK. Start with a smaller group to begin developing your confidence and your experience. You can still develop the relationships, but doing so in front of the smaller audience means any mistake you might make will be seen by fewer people. So it won’t hurt you as badly.
It should go without saying but let’s be clear when you post always be very courteous, very polite and very professional. Use the best English that you can and be very polite and respectful in your responses and posts.
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