LinkedIn groups can be a great way to expand your professional network, call attention to your brand with well-placed thought leadership, and engage potential clients or colleagues.
Unfortunately, many on LinkedIn don't know how to engage in group discussions properly - resulting in a cluttered stream of posts, all getting zero engagement. That's if they're posting at all.
Here are some LinkedIn group worst practices - and their cures:
1. The problem: Over-posting. This isn't Twitter - it's a DISCUSSION group, but no one will take you seriously if they see your name and new posts over and over and over in a one-day span. Posting multiple times per day to the same group comes across as either desperate or narcissistic, neither of which is appealing to those with whom you hope to connect.
The cure: Be discriminating about what you post. Share only items that are worthy of and likely to generate discussion. Post 2-3 times per week (once daily at most) and give people time to see your posts and respond.
2. The problem: Only posting a headline/link. Imagine walking into a room, shouting your headline aloud, and then walking out. People would think you were strange, for starters, and they wouldn't have any reason to care about what you said. The same is true on LinkedIn when you drop a headline and click away.
The cure: Ask a leading question. If you want engagement, you have to ENGAGE people! Point out something relevant that the reader should be paying attention to or looking for as they read. Get the discussion started by indicating why you feel the information you're sharing is interesting or important.
3. The problem: Making it all about you. Posting relevant items in LinkedIn groups (or your own) is great (if you're following the tips above), but if that's all you're doing, you're missing a huge opportunity. The whole point is to build relationships, right? You can't do that if you're about output only.
The cure: Engage in other discussions happening in the groups you follow. Comment or ask questions, and get to know some of the other people in your space. You'll have a better chance of them being interested in what you post if you show an interest in what THEY post. But be sure you're not spammy about it - gratuitously posting links to your website, etc. Connect, don't promote.
4. The problem: Not posting consistently. Nothing looks worse than an inactive social account, and a LinkedIn group is no different. If you don't have the time to keep up with regular posting and interacting, you're better off not having a group.
The cure: Post regularly. You should be posting something to your LinkedIn group consistently - at least a couple times per week. If you can't, shut your group down. Seriously. You can always start it up again when you have the time to keep with it.
5. The problem: Ignoring interaction when it happens. You finally get a good group going, with people checking in and commenting on your discussions, and what do you do? If your answer is "Nothing!" you won't have that interaction happening for long.
The cure: This one's easy - acknowledge comments and discussions posted by others. Comment back (even if it's just a thank you), ask follow-up questions, etc. You and your group admins get email notifications of new group activity, so there is no excuse for not following up and showing your appreciation to those helping keep the discussion going.
One last tip: Promote your discussions! Share links and tease them in your status updates on LinkedIn, and on other social networks. Don't wait and hope people will find you - lead them to you, and then follow Bonnie Raitt's advice and give them something to talk about.
Got another tip I didn't cover here? Tweet me!
IMAGE CREDIT: SVENWERK