Have a Group Strategy
The first and most basic way to engage with others on LinkedIn is really pretty simple: join groups where your potential customers hang out; check in regularly to see what discussions you can contribute to; make yourself known within the group. This is obviously harder in the mega groups with thousands and thousands of members. Although many of these groups provide valuable insight and knowledge through their discussions, I see their purpose primarily as providing a much broader network of possible connections.
The purpose of every action in your strategy should be to make YOU memorable. “Liking” discussions is the easiest way to start. With just one click, your photo is added to the front page of your group under the discussion tab; your name and photo are added to the news feed of the group; and your name is displayed as someone who “liked” the discussion at the top of the actual discussion page. Spend a little more time looking for conversations in which some of your prospective customers are involved, or what seem to be hot topics in the group. “Like” one discussion a day and you’ll become noticed by a lot of group members.
Sharing is a feature that is only available in open groups, but gives you the opportunity to spread a discussion to Twitter, Facebook, your LinkedIn Status Update, or even to email it to specific people you think may be interested. This is especially effective if you started a discussion or contributed valuable comments to the discussion.
On every group’s Home Page there’s a dedicated space for the most popular discussions within the group. For all discussions, there is a link on the bottom right hand corner of the discussion box that allows you to “see all comments.” Look for discussions in which you can add a relevant comment, and everyone who commented before you will receive your comment via email if they’ve left the default setting of “send me an email for each new comment” checked when they submitted their comment. This is an easy way to make yourself noticed or engage with a lot of people, and an opportunity to “soft sell” your products or services IF the discussion topic is right. Again, stick with the “one a day” rule. Find one discussion in your top priority groups to comment on each day, and you’ll make yourself known rather quickly.
Posting your own discussion topics are probably the best way to get noticed in Groups. Not only is your photo featured as the originator of the discussion, but everyone who reads or comments in the discussion will indirectly be engaging with (and remembering) you. If you post discussion topics often, your photo could appear as a “Top Influencer This Week” in the Group. Do this for a while, and base your discussions on compelling content (preferably that you wrote yourself), and you may be surprised at who reaches out to you personally. Commenting with insightful information, and posting discussions with content you created are two powerful influencers if you want to position yourself as an expert at what you do.
It is so easy to make “checking in” on LinkedIn part of your daily routine. If you focus on several key groups where your potential customers are interacting and follow the strategy above on a daily basis, 20 minutes a day could pay off in a new sales opportunity, strategic partnership, better vendor, or even a new job. James Soto, President of Industrial Strength Marketing said, “Social media is the new “cold calling.” I couldn’t agree more, but isn’t this a lot less stressful way to cold call? There are so many possibilities for networking in LinkedIn Groups! What are you waiting for?