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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
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