If you haven’t read about the new changes to LinkedIn Groups, you can read the official post and watch the video on the LinkedIn Blog. The new features are going to make participation in groups much more worth your while as they will increase your opportunity to gain visibility and build new connections in your target markets.
You may not be aware of the fact that LinkedIn has amassed 70 Million users. This is currently the largest professional network online and if you don’t have a presence, or you don’t have a completed profile, your professional connections will be wondering why! In addition, thousands of searches are taking place within social networks such as LinkedIn. With an optimized profile you have the opportunity to appear in searches and be discovered by ideal prospects, clients, and centers of influence. Of all of the social networks, a professional network should be at the top of your list for publicly presenting your professional value proposition.
There are currently over 650,000 Groups that have been created in LinkedIn. These groups cover every topic imaginable from professional organizations to personal interest groups. I would recommend that you go out and join a minimum of five groups. Look for groups that relate to your industry (and you can find some very niche groups here), your target markets, your background (alumni groups), your personal interests, and your community or charitable involvements. It doesn’t matter if the groups are large or small, as long as they seem to be fairly active. Almost instantly you will be able to begin connecting with like-minded people who share common interests and affiliations.
The new features of LinkedIn Groups allow for more fluent discussions amongst members, heightened visibility, and opportunities to easily connect with other members:
New Feature: Rich link sharing (your original blog posts, RSS items, and off-site links) is now available within LinkedIn Groups and content can be submitted to be voted or commented on by members in a threaded fashion
Benefit: Links that you submit for discussion (including your own blog posts) will be more visible to group members, searchable by group members, and can even be featured by the Group Manager as the “Manager’s Choice”. Value-added submissions will be highly visible and highly regarded.
New Feature: The most popular and recent discussions will rise to the top as they are posted and/or curated by group members. These appear front and center on the group home page!
Benefit: Even if you are not the “Manager’s Choice”, you have the opportunity show-up based on the frequency and popularity of your posts and participation on the Group front page, along with your profile picture.
New Feature: Comment quickly and easily on discussion and news topics
Benefit: Your likes and comments will be visible to all group members along with your profile picture. Group members can quickly identify, recognize, or get to know who you are as you add to the discussion
New Feature: Receive email updates when select group members make contributions
Benefit: This is a great way to keep tabs on a connection or potential connection within a group as you are able to stay engaged and visible each time they are engaging with the group
New Feature: Highlighting “Top Influencers” who add the most value with content submissions, likes, and comments each week
Benefit: Becoming a frequent top influencer within niche LinkedIn Groups will help you build authority and grow your professional network
As LinkedIn places more of an emphasis on what the group members are interested in, becoming a value-add resource will result in authentic influence. Each and every time you participate within a group, you have the opportunity to become visible in your target markets. Not only will you be visible on the group profile page, your participation can also be highlighted in the daily or weekly email digests that go out to members and aggregate group activity.
Value-added participation in LinkedIn Groups will substantially increase your opportunity to make important new connections which could ultimately lead to new clients in your target markets. Posting original content from your professional blog that is relevant to your LinkedIn Group memberships can also result in increased traffic back to your blog site where you can bring more prospects into your marketing funnel.
Join the Wired Advisors LinkedIn Group to engage with forward-thinking financial advisors, and learn more about online marketing, blogging, and social media strategies.
Compliance Corner: When participation in LinkedIn Groups, keep in mind that it is considered to be a “public appearance”. Don’t ever make specific recommendations or guarantees about investments, and avoid commenting or “liking” any content submission that might be construed as such. Also remember to archive your social media activity. Our recommended partner for comprehensive archiving is Arkovi. Learn more about navigating compliance when participating in social networking.