LinkedIn groups are a great way to connect with like minded people in your field of interest. You can join these groups for brand building purposes and as a way to develop a digital footprint. Creating a LinkedIn group is another way to tap into the powerful benefits of LinkedIn marketing. Use this guide to LinkedIn groups to get started whether you want to join existing groups or start a new one of your own.
What Are LinkedIn Groups?
A LinkedIn group is a destination that’s hosted digitally within the LinkedIn website for like-minded professionals to communicate. These groups can be industry specific for professionals in the same industry to use for networking and sharing news. Groups can also be centered around an interest, such as classic cars or digital marketing.
Types of LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn groups can be listed or unlisted. Here’s the difference:
Listed: A listed group comes up in LinkedIn search results if someone queries its industry or topic. Listed groups also show up in member profiles. This type of group is useful for networking and finding others who share your interests. If you’re starting a group and want to grow your network, this is generally the way to go.
Unlisted: Unlisted groups can only be accessed via direct link or invitation. They don’t show up in member profiles and don’t come up in search results. This type of group is useful when you want to keep communication within a single group, such as only employees of a company or members of an organization.
How Do LinkedIn Groups Differ From Facebook Groups?
LinkedIn groups differ from Facebook groups in the ways people interact. In LinkedIn groups, people are there to network and tend to show a higher level of professionalism and etiquette. In Facebook groups, People are there to interact and you tend to see high levels of engagement. However, Facebook groups aren’t generally filled with people interested in networking and building a brand. They’re filled with people who want to express opinions about the topic of the group, and that can sometimes mean high levels of negativity.
Be Social but Not Spammy
When you run across interesting information online that’s pertinent to one of your LinkedIn groups, share it with the group. Don’t just add a link. Make it the start of a conversation by mentioning something you like about it. Ask what other group members think to encourage participation and conversation. Additionally, add some hashtags to make it easier for others to find your shared content.
Don’t just share your own company news. When someone only shares his or her personal news, it starts to look spammy pretty quickly. Balance it out by sharing and interacting with posts from others in your group and in your network. Use the four-to-one or 80/20 principle. For each of your branded posts, share or engage with four other posts.
Be Active in Groups You Join
Joining groups is a great way to increase your connections to others in your industry. However, if you aren’t active in your groups, they aren’t going to add much value to your professional career.
- Be active and consistent: Be active and consistent in terms of both post frequency and the topics you share. Additionally, to be consistent, don’t distract members by straying from the group’s focus.
- Build relationships: Keep in mind that one of the key purposes of LinkedIn is networking for job search purposes. So, knowing that other group members may be hunting new jobs, consider adding occasional jobs you find online. The jobs don’t have to be with your company. Just make sure the job openings you post are related to the focus of your group.
- Find relevant groups: When hunting groups to join, you can search by industry, organization or shared interests. If you want to network in a specific industry, such as the automotive or health care industry, use those as search terms. You also have the option to search for specific organizations or interests like green living or sustainable agriculture.
- Share Your Insights: Share insights on other’s posts, start discussions and add value to conversations in your LinkedIn groups. Add a question at the end of your insights. It shows you’re interested in the opinions of others and it encourages continued conversation.
Consider Starting Your Own Group
If you don’t find a LinkedIn group that’s a good fit, consider starting your own. It’s a way to become part of a network that’s just right for your brand.
- Be active in the group you start: Be active in your new group to keep it filled with fresh content. This is always important, but especially in its early days before membership grows. Schedule posts and reply to posts shared by others. Check-in frequently to stay current on group maintenance tasks like approving new members.
- Check for similar groups: If you start a new group, it’s more likely to be successful if it is unique in some way. That can be a challenge because there are so many groups already on this platform. Use keywords to find and explore related groups. Explain what sets your LinkedIn group apart from the others.
- Check profiles to find people in your industry: Look at the LinkedIn profile of people who work in your industry. Invite people to join your group. Premium LinkedIn members can send messages through the open profile function or through InMail. Keep invitations brief, friendly and direct to avoid seeming spammy.
- Create rules to keep your group focused: Group rules are important when establishing new LinkedIn groups. Note details like staying on topic and being respectful when engaging with other group members. Also, let new members know if there are offenses that would cause them to be removed from the group.
- Promote your group: Use social media marketing best practices to promote your LinkedIn group on social media outlets. Include a link to your group on your organization’s website as well as your professional profiles. Additionally, mention your group and add a link at the end of your content marketing posts.