Groups are at the heart of social selling on LinkedIn. They provide an effective platform to fortify your networking and lead generation activities. Since you’ll want Groups to be a part of your personal social selling efforts, the first step is to figure out what types of Groups are available and which might be good for you to join. This is really just step one, but this list is a good primer for getting started with LinkedIn Groups.
Here are 6 Types of Groups You’ll Want To Join
1. Groups You’re a Member of Offline
Are you a member of your local Rotary Club or a Real Estate Marketing Association? What better way to continue building those relationships than online in a LinkedIn Group? Search the name of your organization into the search field.
In case you need a review on (at least one way) to do a Group search, here are some simple instructions:
Click on the icon to the left of the main Search box. You’ll see a drop down of search categories. Select Groups. Once the Groups icon is shown by the Search box, enter keywords into the search field. LinkedIn will provide you with a list of related Groups.
Tip: The next time you go to a meeting and get a new business card or talk to someone in depth, invite them to connect on LinkedIn with a personal message.
2. Industry Groups
In the search field, enter keywords related to your industry. For example, enter “accounting” and LinkedIn will provide you a list of 6,220 related Groups. Of course, you’ll want to take a close look at which really apply to you. Check out the activity level, the number of discussions and members of a group before joining. LinkedIn also provides you the number of your 1st and 2nd connections that are already in each group.
Tip: If you see a Group that looks good to you, click on it to take a look at the Group’s page. Click on the i (at the top right) for more details.
3. Groups your Competitors, Prospects and Leads Already Belong To
Go to the page of a competitor, potential buyer, or lead — those that you know are in your industry. Scroll down and take a look at the Groups they belong to. Find some that you like, and join them.
Tip: If you see a lead is active on a particular Group, join their discussions to make yourself known to them.
4. School and Company Alumni Groups
In the Search Field, Type “UCLA” or “Oracle”. The results will show multiple groups by school, city or type and you’ll need to find the one that most applies to you. Everyone has some Alumni group they can join or if you’ve worked at a major company, you can create proximity to thousands of people all over the globe by joining a related Group.
To be clear, you cannot automatically communicate with anyone that graduated from the same school as you, but by joining the Alumni Group you will be able to. Also, remember you’re going to search a school name under Groups, not Universities.
Tip: It’s always good to play the “Go Bruins” or the like when reaching out to a fellow alum. Always check the college of the person you’re contacting before reaching out.
5. Niche Groups of Like-Minded People and Volunteer Organizations
Examples include organizations for women, entrepreneur groups, business owner groups, specific hobby-related groups like Beer Crafters or cause-related like Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.
Tip: People in your Volunteer groups are part of your network. Don’t forget to invite them to connect on LinkedIn by writing them a personal message.
6. Regional Networking Groups
If you’re doing business locally, you should absolutely join some local groups. E.g. Jonesboro City of Commerce or Miami Architects. Even if you’re not a part of the offline Group of that organization (if one exists), you can network with people who are in them by joining their LinkedIn Group.
Tip: Participating in regionally-focused groups are a great way to build relationships with people in your own community. Learn about the Group’s members and reach beyond the LinkedIn Group to get a face-to-face meeting.
Join some Groups, and add some later. Don’t worry too much at first. Your LinkedIn profile is an ever-changing platform. If you’re really using LinkedIn for Social Selling you may change the Groups you belong to month to month. (You can belong to up to 50 Groups at any one time.) Just as your LinkedIn Profile will always change (yes it should) the Groups you participate in will change as your business relationships and goals change.
Do you have other ways of selecting LinkedIn Groups?