Joining and participating in groups is one of the true benefits of LinkedIn. The right communities immediately increase your online database, allow you to demonstrate expertise, give you a vast knowledge resource, and the ability to reach out to millions of potential clients and valuable contacts.
Someone in the midst of a job search can easily use the power of “Weak Links” for introductions to hiring decision makers. Finding information on potential clients is easy and accelerated. Participating in online group conversations, both by asking and answering questions, can increase your visibility.
But there can be downside. In the same fashion you can reach out to nearly a million people, they can also reach out to you. Anyone who has participated in more than 10 groups has experienced the flood of emails from group members seeking advice, help, clients and even the “act now, don’t wait – this offer…” So how can you build and manage Your “LinkedIn Group Portfolio?” Here are my ten keys.
1. Since you are allowed to join up to 50 groups, initially join no more than 40 groups.
2. Use up to 50% of you available currency to join the largest groups, appropriate to you situation (membership of at least 50,000). Diversify your group selection to different industries and interests. When joining, indicate that you do not want to receive updates or emails from the group manager. The purpose of these groups is to increase your LinkedIn member, search capabilities.
3. Find and join groups that are peer focused. For example, if you are a CPA join groups that are targeted to CPA’s. This will allow you to share and gain thought leadership in your industry. This should be 10% to 15% of your portfolio. Accept updates and emails on a weekly basis.
4. Find and join groups that populated by potential clients. If you are an IP attorney, you may want to join technology or consumer products groups. This should make up 15% to 20% or your portfolio. Accept updates and emails weekly, with a few exceptions.
5. From each category of prospect rich groups, select three to four that you want to create and maintain a high-profile. Accept updates and emails daily.
6. Locate groups that are very specific to your non-professional special interests. Examples would be university, fraternity and/or sorority alumni. Shared interests, such as motor sports, politics or golf. Accept weekly updates.
7. Create or join one to three very small groups (25 members or less) of close and trusted colleagues, friends or clients. An example would be a monthly breakfast networking group, or perhaps 10 close friends who share the same values. Accept updates and emails daily.
8. Review groups that your prospects and clients join. This will give you direction on additional or replacement groups that better serve your purpose.
9. Conduct a quarterly review of your peer, prospect and personal interest groups. Are they serving your specific needs? Is the information received valuable or spam? Are you getting appropriate responses to your participation in group discussions and information you have shared (blogs, newsletters)? And has your knowledge and prospect/client pipeline grown?
10. Finally, don’t be afraid to “sell” a group out of your portfolio that doesn’t serve your needs. This will allow you to either increase your “cash” position or add better serving new groups.
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