The vast majority of LinkedIn groups suck.
They’re full of spam.
They’re badly managed.
And the majority of members have checked out.
But there are some amazing groups out there.
Groups that are their own community. Where spam is not tolerated and people are focused on helping one another.
If you’re finding LinkedIn groups to be a complete waste of time, it could be down to one of the following:
1. You’ve joined the wrong groups
- why did I join this group?
- is it delivering what I want it to – or does it have the potential to?
- Look at the profiles of people representative of those you wish to engage. Scroll down until you see the groups section and then join the same groups.
- Use the search feature to find appropriate groups. Select groups from the dropdown menu to the left of the search feature, type in your keywords and press the magnifying glass. Groups will typically be displayed from those with the largest membership down to the smallest. Have a look through and click on any that interest you. If the group’s closed you can check out the description, stats and who in your network’s a member. If it’s open you can look through discussions, members and stats. You can then make a call about whether a group’s for you.
- On your homepage, click on the ‘All Updates’ button at the top right of your newsfeed and select ‘Groups’ from the drop-down list that will appear. Take a look at which groups your connections have joined and the discussions they’ve commented on or liked.
2. Your sole purpose is to get as many people as possible to click through to your latest blog post, offer etc.
You’re essentially a spammer. There is nothing more frustrating for a group manager to continually have to move self-promotional posts into the promotions area.
But better that than have other group members faced with a deluge of stuff that may or may not be worth reading, watching or listening to.
If you’re going to post links to your articles, videos, blog, podcasts etc. then it should only be to support a conversation. Ask a question relating to the info you’ve shared, seek people’s views, use your content to support a point you’re making. But don’t just post your latest puff piece with no intro and no desire to talk to others.
By doing so, you could be at risk of being put on moderation by a group manager. And if one group manager does that it means your posts across all groups have to be checked by they group owner before others see them.
This happens a lot.
I manage a group and, once a month, I go through the members list to see who’s been put on moderation by managers of other groups. There are always a few. I remove the block within the group I manage but a lot of group owners won’t even think/or know to do this. That means if you want to comment on discussions in the majority of your groups your comment won’t go live until it’s been approved and none of your posts will appear until they’ve been approved.
That sucks. I don’t agree with LinkedIn’s anti-spam policy to which this relates but there’s little we can do about it.
So, don’t risk it. Read the group rules and abide by them. Focus on helping others and building relationships one by one.
3. You have no interest in talking to other group members
We’ve all come across the person in a group who’s all “me, me, me.”
The person who posts their own discussions but doesn’t stay involved in the discussion thread.
The person who blasts out their latest blog post every week but doesn’t interact with anything anyone else has posted.
The person who seems to engage…but who actually doesn’t give a stuff what others have said. They just want to make their point and move on.
LinkedIn’s a SOCIAL network. It’s about networking and building relationships one by one. It’s about building credibility and while a catalyst for getting new work, it’s rarely the sole reason why.
If you’re not focused on engaging with others then you’re going to miss out.
If you don’t have the time, inclination nor confidence to participate in group discussions, then you won’t see the true value. If time’s a factor then you could get your PA or VA to monitor groups for you – let them know the types of discussions you’re interested in and then, when they alert you to something, go in, take a look and comment if appropriate.
4. You haven’t moved relationships beyond the group
If you want to use LinkedIn to grow your practice then, at some point, you need to move conversations beyond a group. There are so many ways to do this from events, through to coffees, skype conversations, asking someone to guest blog or write a guest article for your newsletter, and getting them to opt in to your mailing list.
Don’t be in too much of a rush to do so. Sure, if you can offer the other person something they’re going to see as a real benefit then go for it, but otherwise wait until an appropriate time and do your research!
LinkedIn Groups are a brilliant way to strengthen relationships with existing connections and find and begin to build relationships with more of your ideal referrers and prospects but you’ve got to be clear about WHY you’re in a group and what you want to get from it.
Use the power of groups to learn, to educate, to listen, to talk, to help and you’ll be well on your way.
Why else do LinkedIn groups not work for people? I’d love to hear your opinion. Please share it below.