One of the many reasons I enjoy Linkedin is because of the groups there. There are groups on every topic, industry, etc.
But, for some that isn't enough of a reason to join, and I understand, just saying there are groups doesn't mean it will bring any benefit to your business.
So let me lay out a few of the reasons you should reconsider joining groups on Linkedin. I hope it will change your mind.
1- Access to the Database of Connections on Linkedin
I love finding others to connect with, and while it may be a risky business (you shouldn't try to 'connect' with too many people per day or you'll be considered a spam account), you can get really specific about who you want to connect with and build those business relationships.
There are two ways you can do this.
1) Search from the top of Linkedin and your group members will be included in the search. I don't advise this as the best way to search though, as it doesn't narrow it down by group. You can get specific with industry, but since many use different industry names for the same industries, they won't necessarily show up.
Instead, I recommend this way instead:
2) Visit the Group & Browse Members
Now you can go through and find people in that group you aren't connected with that have similar interests and are easy to connect with.
When you go through group members this way you can MESSAGE them- you don't even have to be connected- Awesome! Of course, you cannot abuse this power though.
2- Meet Others In Your Industry
Whether you want to stay on top of industry news, talk to others that understand your industry, or even hire people for open positions you'll be able to do all of these things in your industry specific groups. You can easily search groups to join here. Choose a couple of groups that are highly active (though not just blog post links).
Pick Other Experts' Brains!
Once you are in a group, take the time to see how often people post, visit it through a Hootsuite stream or the Groups link on Linkedin and start reaching out to others in your industry. You can answer their questions, reply privately to their questions and read some of the posts other leave.
I don't recommend leaving links to your site or blog as soon as you join, unless you find a perfect discussion one of your blog posts answers. The benefit here is meeting others who have knowledge about your industry.
They are new to the industry and bring in other business experience, or their are more advanced in your industry and you can learn a lot from them, either way, the connections are valuable.
3- Exposure for Your Expertise
Another benefit of joining groups is that you'll be able to show off your own knowledge and expertise. Just like the above where you are learning from others, you can help those who need help.
This is a very productive way to generate leads for your company, especially if you choose groups where your target market or audience regularly visit.
You'll want to look at this like content marketing. The more content you put out there, the more connections, leads and discussions you'll have.
Unfortunately, people are beginning to really dislike the constant sharing of links, so you'll have to do this carefully, to avoid spamming and annoying others. However, you can post sections of your blog post, and start a discussion that way. People want to see that you actually want to provide value, not just get traffic.
To make this work, find groups with discussions about your topic and weigh in on the answers that are given. Provide value and contribute to the conversation. I know others enjoy the Reply Privately option, but I prefer to answer publicly so that others can see my knowledgable responses.
4- Find Great Content To Share
Even as others are annoyed at the number of blog posts shared in some Linkedin groups, I don't mind at all. I have chosen a few groups that are known for link sharing and they are great sources of shareable content for curation.
Blogger Outreach- Guest Blogging & Content Curation!!
Generally, you can find these groups among your own industry, or the industries your audience likes to follow. Another benefit here is that you'll meet others where you can possibly guest post on their blog.
Simply introduce yourself as a Linkedin group member and begin a conversation. You should comment on their blog posts as well, all part of blogger outreach.
5- Connect With Businesses In Your Area
With millions of users and thousands of groups, you are almost sure to find a group or two for your geographical area. If you don't have a lot of local connections in business, this is a great way to meet more business owners, help them when you can, and consider meeting up with them the next time they get together.
There are general local groups for businesses in the area, and larger areas have more specific groups such as Hubspot User Groups, Social Media Clubs, Marketing Groups, and sub-groups for smaller areas or topics. For instance, you might live in Dallas, but that is a HUGE area. There are several Dallas groups and then sub-groups for Fort Worth.
Local business is an often overlooked opportunity for online businesses, so seek these groups out as they are full of business owners from a variety of industries and they are willing to help you, just because you are in the area.
Summary - Go Join Groups!
The group function on Linkedin is one of the most overlooked opportunities I still see businesses missing out on. But you need to get over there and give them a shot. They are full of opportunity to help your business grow, get leads and build connections who may be useful down the road. Start with your own industry and add more groups as you can handle being active.
To show me you joined some groups, tell me about the ones you chose in the comments. If we are group members, let's connect and talk about the groups we are in.