Want to become known on LinkedIn? There are two ways to do that: LinkedIn-Answers and LinkedIn groups. It is paramount to interact through answering questions you have knowledge about. When choosing groups, remember to go where your customers and prospects are. How do you know to which groups your customers and prospects belong? This is a great tactic: visit their profiles, then scroll to the bottom and there you will find the group. Don’t forget that you can join up to 50 groups. When you join a group you can even invite members to join you in your profile. This is the easiest way to build a following on LinkedIn.
My best advice would be to join up to 49 groups and then make a group yourself. What is your favorite topic? Choose it and start researching for content to add to the group. Make sure no one else has taken the group already. When you create a group, you become a person of value on LinkedIn. You do not have to participate within the group, as long as ask interesting questions and add links to your articles. As people find your discussions interesting, people will want to connect with you as the owner. This is an easy way to grow your network! If you really want to make the most out of the network then you can chose to control the discussion, by adding meaningful content to captivate the minds of your prospects. As the owner you will attract attention to yourself because people will add every group owner to their email lists. Remember, when you are the owner you have access to direct communication with all the members. This is an advantage for you because you can send a message to all of them in just one click. When you have your own a group and lead discussions, you will begin to see prospects reach out to you.
When you create a group, you will be found in LinkedIn through internet search, so make sure your description and summary are complete.
There are two things I want you to think about:
Will everyone be able to join your group, or will it only be open to the certain exclusive? I like to request you to join feature, so you can review each member before letting them join. This allows you to send each member a personal message, welcoming them to the group and offering things to help them out in anyway. In addition, make sure you do not let any spammers in your group. You can always change it if you don’t like the feature.
There is an open group vs. members only group feature as well. The open-group allows: discussion visibility, indexing by search engines, sharing on Facebook and Twitter, and anyone can contribute from
LinkedIn. Now the members-only group allows: only members to see the discussions, it is not indexed by search engines, there is no sharing on Facebook and twitter, and no one can contribute. What interest are you talking about? Depending on this, you might want to figure out if you want to make it for members only or grant access to anyone.
Do you have a database filled with contacts? This is a great opportunity for you to export your contacts into a CSV file database and then upload them via LinkedIn. In this way, you can connect with your database on LinkedIn. This will also allow you to personalize everything on LinkedIn.
When you own a group, you allow yourself to be seen as more creative. How can you make yourself stand out as a personal brand? Click templates on the manage the group tab and choose the welcome message template. This is where you can manage expectations so you can be successful. Remember, let your group members know how they can connect with you.
If you own a group, remember to start new discussions, and don’t forget to contribute to the existing discussions. Here are some tips for starting new discussions:
Start with a welcome message and a question that will stir up engagement. Something like “Welcome to “your group” Please introduce yourself and let everyone know what your experience with “your group” has been like” As you involve the members, they will feel obligated to contribute.
Owning groups is not easy and as a leader of the group, you might feel lonely. This is why it is important to respond to comments when you take part in the discussions. Always begin your response with positive reinforcement and help the discussion evolve as well. At times, you will be answering a question and sometimes you might even have to ask for help from other members. It is paramount not to remain silent. It is also important that you ask your members to contribute and reward them when they do.
As the owner, make sure you moderate the discussions since it is possible for members to come off offensive, spamming, or irrelevant. In most extreme cases, just delete the comment. Remember, you can delete any comment you would like and flag comments as inappropriate. In addition, you can even block a member from contributing.
Now that you own the group, you should add it to your business card, email signature, and your website! If you are able to get the best word out from the group, you can even call up hard to reach people and ask them if they would contribute content for your members. This beats cold calling right?
For the most recent changes on LinkedIn please visit: http://blog.linkedin.com/category/new-linkedin-features/
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