Imagine walking into a professional networking event or conference where everyone wore color-coded name tags or t-shirts.
In one corner, all the salespeople would huddle together, sharing best practices. In another area of the room, all the healthcare CEOs would hold court, discussing the latest in patient care cost reduction strategies. In yet another section, entrepreneurs would gather, filled with optimism and ideas as they shared stories.
If you look closely enough, this is exactly what happens every single day over on LinkedIn.
With millions of professional groups, almost all of which are based around a specific type of job and/or industry type, professionals of a similar feather flock together all day long on the world's largest social media platform for professionals.
And, if you understand how to hack into the site's powerful, internal search engine to find those groups, you can use this as an opportunity to grow your business.
LinkedIn Groups - Best or Bust
LinkedIn groups have received mixed-reviews, and even as someone who coaches business owners on how to use LinkedIn, I've had my own love-hate relationship group with them.
At their worst, LinkedIn Groups can be spam-filled, sales pitch festivals that bring no real value or discussion.
At their best, LinkedIn Groups provide a hub of industry and job-specific news, discussions, openings and insights unlike anywhere else online.
Either way, LinkedIn Groups aren't going away anytime soon.
3 Steps to Market to LinkedIn Groups
In order to find and engage your ideal prospects inside various LinkedIn Groups, here are some simple steps to follow:
1) Identify the job title of your ideal prospects and perform a search
For example, say you want to sell your product or service to business coaches.
In LinkedIn Search, you'd type in "Business Coach," or whatever job title is relevant to your target audience, and then you filter your search by "Groups."
2) Ask to join these groups
Next, you'll see a list of relevant groups based around that job title or industry type. You can also see how many members each LinkedIn Group has.
When you find a Group that looks like a good fit, you can ask to join it.
Some groups may let you join right away, while others have a bit of a vetting process. Either way, as you ask to join and get accepted into new Groups, you'll begin to be added into large pools of professionals and you can connect with.
3) Spend time engaging in an authentic, helpful, and value-added manner
Once you first get accepted into a LinkedIn Group where your ideal prospects are hanging out, it's not the time start pitching your services.
Instead, you'll want to demonstrate your authority and build value by creating and/or sharing content that's helpful, answering questions, and responding to comments from other members inside the Group.
Remember, your engagement needs to focus on legitimately helping others. As you have conversations with and then connect to other Group members, you can start sending 1-on-1, private messages to those individuals to further relationships and begin moving toward a sale.
Here's a quick video that shows how the process works:
Don't Claim - Demonstrate
As with any selling on social media, anyone can claim to be an expert - what'll set you apart from your competition on LinkedIn (and elsewhere online) is the way in which you can actually demonstrate your expertise and prove your worth.
As you engage in LinkedIn Groups, you'll find this is a simple yet powerful way to find, engage - and eventually sell to the exact audience you need to reach.