Did you know that people who participate or engage in LinkedIn Group discussions get an average of four times as many profile views?
LinkedIn Groups allow you to connect with thousands, even hundreds of thousands of people. Many more than you could connect with via your first-level connections.
Using LinkedIn Groups for Sales Success
There are over two million groups on LinkedIn, with a focus on a variety of topics. These include:
- College alumni
- Trade organizations
- Interests – such as skiing or animals
The popularity of LinkedIn Groups led LinkedIn to recently updating the look of Groups pages, more streamlined and visually appealing. That’s good news, because many experts believe that LinkedIn Groups offer your best chance at business development success.
Where Do You Start?
With over two million groups, sometimes it’s hard to navigate successfully in the LinkedIn Groups world.
In the newly launched book, “42 Rules for 24-Hour Success on LinkedIn (2nd Edition): Learning to Generate Results Using LinkedIn for Leads” (by Chris Muccio and Peggy Murrah), the authors offer some advice. They suggest that you should:
. . .join many groups, participate in a few, manage one.
LinkedIn currently allows its members to join as many as 50 groups. Of course, it’s important to join groups that match your business focus.
How do you find groups to join?
Here are some tips shared in 42 Rules for 24-Hour Success on LinkedIn:
- Check the profiles of your most valuable LinkedIn connections and see what groups they have joined. Then choose those groups that align with your business focus.
- Use the “Search” function in LinkedIn to find groups in a specific industry, skill set or topic.
- Once you’ve joined a group, spend time determining if the group works for you. You’ll want to see how active the participants in the group are, as well as the types of posts and value of information being shared. If you see self-promotion and advertising, these are red flags.
Another reason to join groups (especially those with a large number of potential prospects) is the ability to send a message to anyone in your group, even those people who aren’t first-level connections. This functionality opens up your ability to connect with thousands, even hundreds of thousands of people you might not have any other connection with.
Participate in a Few
The same rules apply to participation in groups as they do to the rest of LinkedIn: Provide value. Blatant sales pitches are a big turn-off. Instead, provide and share useful information, ask and answer questions, offer comments and recommendations.
In a word: Participate, and do so in a thoughtful way.
Once you’ve spent time investigating groups, you’ll want to actively participate in five to ten groups.
What kind of results can you achieve through Group participation?
Notes Alison Pruett, Marketing Manager – Client Engagement, for Waco, TX-based Interview Stream:
We have seen quite a bit of success from sharing our content to industry-specific groups, the more tailored the group is to specific interests and occupations, the more quality responses we receive. One of our posts to a smaller (300 member) group tailored specifically to one occupation group resulted in three demo requests. Our activity in various groups has also helped us gain more LinkedIn Company Page followers – about a 5% growth over the last month.
Dan Freyer, owner of Los Angeles-based AdWavez Marketing, offers this example:
Through a Linkedin satellite industry group connection, I was contacted by a company in Germany that was looking to expand in the U.S. and needed a marketing and advertising agency familiar with the satellite communications marketplace. Since we had the capabilities this company sought, they hired us to help them.
Create and Manage a Group
According to LinkedIn, more than 8,000 LinkedIn Groups are created every week. While creating and managing a group requires effort, there are many benefits.
First, it offers immediate credibility. Similar to writing a book, creating a group means putting yourself out there as an expert in a certain area, especially as you continuously provide value through content and group interactions.
Next, by being the leader of a LinkedIn Group, people want to connect with you. Group managers usually receive many requests to connect outside of the group, as a first-level connection.
Another major benefit is the ability to send weekly email messages to group members. This is especially powerful for those group managers who build groups of thousands or more.
Last but not least, Group Managers often get the best sales opportunities.
Notes Charles Krugel, a management-side labor and employment lawyer and human resources counselor based in Chicago, IL.:
About three years ago, I started my own LinkedIn group. It now has 2,365 members from all over the world.
Krugel has gotten business from creating and managing his group, including landing a retainer client and clients that needed project work.
Fred Schenkelberg, Reliability Engineering and Management Consultant, manages six groups, and gets 50% of his revenue from leads generated via Linkedin, up from none three years ago. Most of his revenue is generated from his ASQ Reliability Division group.
Schenkelberg participates in 10-20 groups, and finds the time to do this by working with volunteers who manage the day-to-day activities in several of his groups, and using posting services such as Buffer to post content quickly.
If you’d like to start a group, LinkedIn’s Help Center offers answers to many questions regarding setup and management of groups. LinkedIn Groups offer many opportunities for small business owners to connect with others, build relationships, and get new business.
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