The LinkedIn community is growing by the day. It is a great platform to be a part of for any business professional as the content there tends to lean more towards business related topics. Collecting contacts and posting is great, but that alone will not result in closed business referrals. We must be able to connect with people as well and engage with our network. One of the best ways to do that is to join LinkedIn groups. Now the question is...which one(s)? Here are some tips on how to find the best Linked group for you and your business.
1. Groups that are your synergy partners: One of the best groups to join is one that is filled with people that you work side by side in business and do not compete with. A few examples: A good group for a wedding photographer would be an event planning group. A great one for a Realtor would be a mortgage professional group. An seo company might find value in joining a web design group. When joining a group it's best to think, "what kind of people do I get referrals from that walk in the same doors as I do"? Avoid joining groups that your direct competition would be in. ex: financial planner joining a financial planning group.
2. Groups that are local, if you do business locally: If you live in Allen, TX and do most of your business in that community (basically do not offer e-commerce) or close to that area, it would make the most sense to join groups that are close to that area. You can perform a search in the top right hand corner of LinkedIn and type in the city or cities that you would like to target and it will give your professional groups in that area.
Here is an example of a search for groups in Frisco, TX:
By becoming active in local groups by posting, commenting and "liking", we can connect with people that are in our area which will increase our chances of actually getting referrals and closed business.
3. Groups that have activity: I will take quality over quantity any day of the week. Just because a group has thousands of people in it, doesn't mean it is a great group. I came across a group a few weeks ago that I was really excited about. It contained self-employed business owners (my preferred client) in my area. It had a fair amount of people in it as well. When I went to join, I noticed that the last post and activity was about 6 months prior. For whatever reason, the group went dormant. Play close attention to this, because if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it...you get where I am going. Be sure there is some activity in the group instead of just looking for the largest group. Remember, getting referrals and attracting business is all about building relationships first. If no one is active, there is no one to build the relationship with.
Joining a group on LinkedIn is one of the best ways to connect with other professionals and build relationships. Picking the right group for you and your business will make the difference in whether or not that relationship will turn into a referral stream. I hope this helps you navigate LinkedIn a little better. If you think it could help someone else, please share this by clicking one of the share icons at the top.