How to REALLY Get More from LinkedIn Groups

How-to-REALLY-Get-More-from-LinkedIn-Groups-V1

LinkedIn recently updated their blog with a post entitled 5 Ways to Get More from Your LinkedIn Groups.  But, as with information that LinkedIn is beginning to religiously blog and tweet about, I find it is too little and too late.  After all, I was first in providing LinkedIn advice for College Students before the LinkedIn introduction of their Grads Group (at least to my knowledge, if I am incorrect in the timing please correct me!), and I find the best practices information that has recently provided on Groups can be further enriched by this blog.  After all, this blog exists because people are looking for resourceful information not found elsewhere.

Let’s take a look at their blog post one piece at a time and my advice and tips for best practices in Groups:

  1. Commit to a couple of groups focused on your key professional interests.  This is absolute sound advice.  But I wouldn’t stop there.  Join local groups.  Join alumni groups, both from your college as well as your high school as well as past companies.  Join a group for every industry you have ever worked in.  In fact, as I wrote on this subject back in November on Which LinkedIn Groups Should I Join?, you should absolutely be maxxing out your group membership at 50.
  2. Follow other groups. The idea here is to receive the daily/weekly digests from your Group as well as follow certain conversations.  Well, this is a mixed bag.  I don’t care which LinkedIn Group you are a member of, the Discussion Boards can get quickly filled with spam and other messages that might have no meaning to you.  Yes, there are some diamonds in the rough with some Groups providing valuable information in the Discussion Boards.  But I would recommend to first subscribe to the weekly digest, but if you find it is not of value to you, you can and should unsubscribe to it.  And, as for following discussions, it really only makes sense to follow discussions that you have contributed to in the first place.  It is easy to get information overload from Social Media in general, so hopefully this will help you out.
  3. Use the news. The news on the Groups is only going to be as good as those who post it.  I have yet to see a Group that does the news better than doing a Twitter search.  If you are not on Twitter, subscribe to some keywords in the excellent Company Buzz application.  You will find the news you want a lot faster than searching through LinkedIn Groups.  But, if you do find a Group that provides just the news that you are looking for, great!  Follow it religiously! I have just yet to see this done…and just adding an RSS feed could include not-so-relevant posts that are automatically spun out by a robot, so be careful here.
  4. Involve your coworkers. The advice here is to include your coworkers and get them to sign up to the same Groups.  Why?  LinkedIn is about making new connections, about building out your virtual network.  Rather than invite people you already know, try to make a personal connection with people that you don’t know in the same Group.  Now you’re networking!  This is what Social Media is all about!
  5. Learn about your fellow LinkedIn members. Read my answer to 4. above.  But you know what my #5 would be here?  Use the Discussion Boards to brand yourself and to offer pay-it-forward help.  Network and connect.

If you found my response to the “official” blog post of value and informative, please leave a comment and/or tweet about it!  Thanks!

And if you reading my blog, you are invited to join the official Windmill Networking LinkedIn Group to help you keep abreast of the latest in social media and discuss and connect with your fellow readers!

Neal Schaffer
The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professionals strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer

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Comments

  1. says

    Neal – – Thanks again for always taking things to the next level. I’m going to surf around your blog to find additional info re: your #5 recommendation on pay-it-forward offers to the Group. I’d love to hear some examples of this, because this kind of action has always excited me – but how to do it in a Group of LinkedIn users who I’ve never met? Like I said, I’ll surf around here. If you’ve got example to post in reply, that would be awesome too. Keep up the great work!

    Brennan

  2. says

    Neal – – Thanks again for always taking things to the next level. I’m going to surf around your blog to find additional info re: your #5 recommendation on pay-it-forward offers to the Group. I’d love to hear some examples of this, because this kind of action has always excited me – but how to do it in a Group of LinkedIn users who I’ve never met? Like I said, I’ll surf around here. If you’ve got example to post in reply, that would be awesome too. Keep up the great work!

    Brennan

  3. says

    P.S. — Just realized that by “pay-it-forward” you might simply mean supporting one another with our own information and skill sets, knowing that at some point or another it all comes around. If there are specific actions you were referencing other than that, I’d love to hear them. Thanks again!

  4. says

    P.S. — Just realized that by “pay-it-forward” you might simply mean supporting one another with our own information and skill sets, knowing that at some point or another it all comes around. If there are specific actions you were referencing other than that, I’d love to hear them. Thanks again!

  5. Neal Schaffer says

    Brennan,

    Thanks for your comment, and, yes, that is one example of “pay-it-forward”. It’s asking what you can do for others before you ask the same of them, and providing any advice, introductions, commentary…even being a sounding-off board for someone’s ideas are all examples of things that we can do to help others out in whatever they may need us for. I could write a whole book about the concept, but someone in my network already did ;-) Please check out Chuck Hester’s blog and book at http://www.chuckhester.com/.

    Cheers,
    Neal

  6. Neal Schaffer says

    Doc Sinda,

    You are the man! Exactly! Exploit social media for what its worth or don’t even spend time on it. It’s gotta be one or the other!

  7. says

    Neal – Thanks so much for that reference to Chuck Hester and his book. His site has some really nice stuff. Thanks also for everything you’re doing to bring clarity to LinkedIn for so many of us, and Sushi to the rest who like to “do it in person!” You rock.

    Much peace,

    Brennan

  8. says

    Neal – Thanks so much for that reference to Chuck Hester and his book. His site has some really nice stuff. Thanks also for everything you’re doing to bring clarity to LinkedIn for so many of us, and Sushi to the rest who like to “do it in person!” You rock.

    Much peace,

    Brennan

  9. Neal Schaffer says

    Brennan, You rock as well! Looking forward to your future comments. And if there is anything I can do to help you out just give me a hollar!

  10. Shirley says

    I’ve been asked to join LinkedIn by many alumnus from high school but I’m retired and manage a gift shop with t-shirts, etc but don’t see how this group can help in this area. Also you don’t mention if free to join or have to pay. Also, I don’t spend time on twitter so is it necessary to join that group also to be on this group. I know you know the group but you don’t explain anything about why I should join and I don’t join things where you have to pay. On limited income as retired so can’t afford it. Give me more details as how it can help me.

    • says

      Hi Shirley, thanks for dropping by and commenting! LinkedIn is free to use (unless you join a paid plan, which you don’t need to) and is only valuable if you have an objective for using it. Getting back in touch with old classmates and colleagues is usually where people begin. But, let’s say you’re looking for local business owners to reach out to in your area, new customers (or new vendors) for your gift shop, or you want to network with people that are similar to you locally or globally – then LinkedIn can provide a great deal of value to you. Within LinkedIn there are groups, or communities, in which you can join, to find professionals with similar interests. But once again, this comes down to your objectives in joining. I do hope this has given you some food for thought – please feel free to follow up with any additional questions you might have here in the comments. Thank you!

  11. Neal Schaffer says

    Brennan,

    Thanks for your comment, and, yes, that is one example of “pay-it-forward”. It’s asking what you can do for others before you ask the same of them, and providing any advice, introductions, commentary…even being a sounding-off board for someone’s ideas are all examples of things that we can do to help others out in whatever they may need us for. I could write a whole book about the concept, but someone in my network already did ;-) Please check out Chuck Hester’s blog and book at http://www.chuckhester.com/.

    Cheers,
    Neal

  12. Neal Schaffer says

    Doc Sinda,

    You are the man! Exactly! Exploit social media for what its worth or don’t even spend time on it. It’s gotta be one or the other!

  13. Neal Schaffer says

    Brennan, You rock as well! Looking forward to your future comments. And if there is anything I can do to help you out just give me a hollar!

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