Best Practices for Participating in LinkedIn Groups
Many people find the idea of participating in LinkedIn Groups intimidating, even though there’s no face-to-face communication involved. It feels a little bit like your first day at kindergarten. You don’t know anyone and the idea of speaking up or even introducing yourself can be scary. The truth is that once you find the right groups and employ a couple best practices, LinkedIn Groups can be a useful and productive tool.
The first key to using LinkedIn Groups effectively is to identify the right groups. The group’s title should obviously tell you a little about the group’s audience and focus, but reviewing a group’s profile and rules are critical. For example, most groups have guidelines about the type of content you can post; some even ask that members not include URLs in posts. It’s up to you to research any group to make sure that you’re a good fit and that the content you provide is compliant.
When you join a new group, feel free to introduce yourself and take a little time to “test the waters.” See what other members are posting and what types of topics are being discussed. It’s usually strategic to begin by responding to other people’s posts before developing and introducing your own. There are going to be super users and influencers in any group. Try to identify who the most influential voices are and then engage with and learn from them.
The one thing you don’t want to do in a LinkedIn Group is aggressively market yourself or your services. LinkedIn Groups are a place to find answers and support. They’re not an open market for self-promotion, and treating them as such can negatively impact the reputation you’re trying to build. Showing your expertise is completely different than promoting yourself. Whenever you post new content or reply to other posts, ask yourself if you sound like an educator or a marketer.
In terms of remaining engaged, some LinkedIn users create a schedule for contributing to group discussions. Others try to increase their LinkedIn Groups participation more organically. No matter the approach you choose, since there are over 2 million groups, you can surely find one that will help you share your knowledge, learn from others, and develop strategic relationships that could positively affect your job search and long-term career development.