Once you have created an optimised LinkedIn Profile that is rich with keywords and highly representative of your personal brand and expertise, you may think “now what?”
Your LinkedIn Profile is like a nutritious salad. It’s no use putting healthy ingredients together and then just leaving the bowl in the fridge, hoping someone will find it. Within a couple of days your salad will be limp and need to go in the bin. The nutrients lost.
It’s the same with LinkedIn. To benefit from your great profile, you need to share it with your target clients so that they can understand what you are all about and the process of social selling can begin.
Join LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn Groups are a good way to take the next step in your professional networking and move beyond just connecting with people you already know. These “communities” are places on LinkedIn where like-minded business professionals come together to share content and ideas, ask questions, or keep up to date with industry trends.
To find Groups that are relevant to you, go to the Groups Directory page and enter search terms related to your interests. Alternatively, you can look at profiles of your key competitors and clients and see which Groups they are a part of. Follow these steps for the best results:
1. Choose Groups that link you with prospective clients. For example, if you sell to a particular industry, join a Group that best represents it. Make sure there is a critical mass of members, as well as, active member engagement to make it worthwhile.
Unfortunately, LinkedIn has recently removed the option to choose "Groups" on the How Do You Know This Person page when sending a connection request. However, Brynne Tillman has shared a way that you can still use Groups to connect with new targeted prospects outside your network:
- Visit the profile of the person you are looking to connect with
- Click the star (relationship) button to save them as a connection
- Copy their name
- Click on Connections on the top bar
- Paste their name in the search bar in the middle of the page
- Hover below their location and click connect
- Type your note and send
2. Actively engage in Groups where your prospects are listening. However, like any conversation, it’s rude to just jump in without listening first. Take your time to observe the tone and dynamic of the Group and dip your toe in by liking or commenting on other’s discussions.
Once you are established as a Group member, you can build your credibility by posing and answering questions, sharing relevant content and self-publishing through LinkedIn’s new publishing feature. In this way you will earn a reputation as a trusted expert with your prospects who will be more likely to accept your invitation to connect.
3. Listen and learn from Groups you share with peers and prospective clients. I find the content shared and accessible through my LinkedIn Groups to be instrumental to my professional development. Know the key influencers and take advantage of the wisdom of international experts for growth and currency of your knowledge.
You can opt to receive updates from your Groups as frequently or infrequently as you prefer. However, I opt to receive industry news every day to keep informed of relevant news, trends and discussions.
For instance, as I was writing this article, I received a Group notification that mentioned the change in how to connect with other Group members who are not a part of your network (shared above). Without the notification, the information I shared in this article could have been outdated before it was even published.
You can join up to 50 Groups, but I would recommend you keep to the number you think you can actively follow and participate within. The more active you can be, the more likely you will be to leverage the Group to grow your business.