One of the major advantages of joining a group on LinkedIn is that members appear in the search results of that particular group. So, if you click the number stating how many members the group has, you can see whether any of your connections are already members.
To find groups that you are interested in, you can click on the “Interests” tab on the top menu of your profile and then click on “Groups” in the drop-down menu. This will allow you to search groups based on keywords that you enter and filter the results. You can view “Open Groups” without joining, but you can only view content of member-only groups once you’ve joined.
Today there are well over 2 million groups reported on LinkedIn. Before joining a group, however, figure out what your goals are and be selective on the groups to join. Are you looking to build connections and relationships, gain knowledge from key influencers, or establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry? If your main goal is to drive traffic to your website or blog, then you need to look for groups that will allow you to post links.
When searching for groups, you can view the descriptions of the group and the group statistics. The group statistics will show you the number of members, the number of discussions, and the comments that have been made. Joining smaller groups with a lot of interaction may be more advantageous as opposed to joining larger ones with little activity. This is where quality can outweigh quantity.
The demographics of the group are also important. It might be a huge waste of time joining a group where most of its members are international if you are running a local business. Taking a look at the group’s activity feed can help you see whether the group is relevant and whether you can contribute in some way.
After you’ve made your selection and joined a group or two, you can introduce yourself and start commenting and joining the discussions. If you are looking to build influence, then you need to stay active, engage with other members, and contribute to discussions taking place. LinkedIn keeps track of the interactions that take place in groups and appoints ‘The Top Influencers of the Week’.
You can view this list at the top right of the group page to see who has participated in discussions, who has liked, and who commented the most. If you are on the list, this is a tremendous opportunity for your business and your brand to gain exposure.
It’s important that you contribute useful content for a group and avoid spamming promotions. Many groups are open to any posts, but typically there’s too much spam in these groups. A good way to promote properly is to submit a content-oriented presentation, such as an online seminar, where attendees can learn more about a group-related topic. With a closed group, a moderator will often see the presentation value and allow this content to get posted.