Whether you’re using LinkedIn for business or for finding the next job, networking is essential to achieve both aims. The place to network on LinkedIn is via LinkedIn groups. There are over 2 million groups on LinkedIn, with the largest group being made up of 1.8 million users, the smallest being 1, however, you can only join a maximum of 50, so how do you choose which groups to join? There are currently 7 types of groups on LinkedIn:
- Alumni – the group shares the same school, college or university.
- Corporate – the group share the same workplace.
- Conference – group members attended the same conference.
- Networking – the group members share a common interest and network within it e.g. some business networking groups.
- Nonprofit – the group members share a common interest in the organisation.
- Professional – the group members belong to the same professional organisation.
- Other – i.e. none of the above!
What LinkedIn groups to join?
When you choose which groups to join, make sure that you include:
- Groups that validate your profile. For example:
- professional groups where you have to provide proof of membership before being accepted
- alumni groups that validate your education section
- company groups that how that you work there
- conference networking groups that show you attended
- Groups were your peers hang out. Take a look at the profiles of your colleagues and see which groups they have joined. If they are relevant to you, consider joining them yourself
- Groups in your geographical area. Some groups are based around a specific geographic area like a city, state or county. If you are looking for work in a specific area, then these groups may be able to help.
- Groups where thought-leaders hang out. They may have their own group to disseminate information, or be part of a niche group. To find out where the people that you’d like to learn from hang out, check out their profile. If you can’t see their complete profile, then consider following them.
- Groups where potential clients/employers hangout. Do some research and look at groups that will extend your network, for example, when I was working with a business client, we found that the type of people who would hire her company would be in the C-suite. Therefore, we did a search on groups for CEO and found some open groups for them to join.
To find groups to join:
To the left of the search box, use the drop down menu to select “Groups”
Enter your search criteria, for example “CEO”
When you look at the search results, you’ll find the largest, most active groups are displayed first. You’ll have the option to join or view the group. The groups that you have chosen to join of will be displayed at the bottom of your profile. People viewing your profile can then see if they are members of the same group, and therefore part of the same network. If they are not, they get the option to join. This is important, because if there is someone that you particularly want to connect with, joining a group that they are also a member of allows you to:
- Like or comment on a discussion that they have posted.
- Post content on the group that your target person will see.
- Start engaging your target person in conversation, so that if you send them an invitation to connect, they remember who you are and are more likely to accept the invitation.
LinkedIn groups are a great place to network, however, you can only belong to up to 50 groups, so you need to chose carefully. Make sure that you join a range of different groups, so that you broaden your network, and then start gently introducing yourself to the group.
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Take care for now