David Fisher discusses configuring LinkedIn Groups for financial advisors on The DigitalFA

The Step-by-Step Cheat Sheet to LinkedIn Group Success (Part 2)

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Jan 14 • LinkedIn • 6154 Views • 2 Comments

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Editor’s Note: If you missed it, Mr. Fisher outlined how to get started with LinkedIn Groups as a very effective component of your social media strategy. However, getting setup is only the initial step. Setting yourself up for success means understanding how to best get engaged in those Groups you opt to participate in. This will lead to a wider audience to share your expertise and cultivate new relationships. Read on to learn a recipe for effective use of LinkedIn Groups.

LinkedIn Groups can be a valuable source of professional information and business development, if used correctly.  In the Part 1 of this article, we looked at how to determine the best Groups to join and how to set them up in your LinkedIn account.  Now we can continue on the path and look at how to actually engage with the other members in those Groups.

6. Lurk in Your LinkedIn Groups

One of the biggest mistakes committed by new LinkedIn Group members is blindly posting off-topic or using a tone that doesn’t fit the normal vibe that others use.  It’s like barging into a conversation in the offline world and beginning to talk without knowing what the conversation is about!  You want to get a sense for how things flow in the group you’ve chosen.

Therefore, the next step is to simply “listen in” on the discussions that are happening in the Groups you have joined.  There’s no need to participate yourself yet, you simply want to get a feel for what is already happening.  Find out what topics are discussed, what kind of information is shared, and the general tone of the conversation.  Are there a few participants that contribute most of the activity, or is it spread around quite a bit?  Depending on how active the group is, you can do this once or twice a week by visiting the group and scrolling through the discussions.  You can also look through past discussions to see what subjects have already been addressed and what types of discussions elicit the most feedback.

7.  Re-evaluate Your LinkedIn Group Membership

After lurking for a month, do a quick check to confirm that these are the Groups you want to stay in.  There’s a good chance that at least one of them is going to be a bust.  You’ll have a good intuitive feel if the Group is valuable after a few weeks of observation, but a few specific things to look for include:

  • Number of Posts
  • Subject of Posts
  • Group Participation
  • Your Ability to Participate

If any of them fail these metrics, and the Group isn’t what you expected it to be, pick another to track for a month.  You can keep a Group that doesn’t make the cut as a Branding Group, but pick a new one for participation.  You only have so much bandwidth and we want to maximize the return you get on your time.

8. Participate!

Once you’ve gotten a feel for the group and the flow of conversation, it’s time to dive in. The easiest way to get started is through responding to what other members are posting.  Once a week, like or comment on a post that you see in the group.  “Liking” a discussion can be a simple point of entry, because all you have to do is click the button!  But if there is discussion that you can comment on, if you have an opinion, observation, or answer that’s relevant, take the opportunity to join in.  You’re in this group to make connections, and you can’t do that until you start connecting.

The next step is to post your own discussion topics.  You can be quite active in a group without creating your topics by liking and commenting, but if you want to get the most reach, you are going to want to put your own posts into the mix.  Especially if it’s a larger group, it’s easy to get swallowed up if you don’t put yourself out there.

David Fisher discusses configuring LinkedIn Groups for financial advisors on The DigitalFA

Every two to three weeks, post a discussion.  It could be:

  • A question that you have for the group members, either tactical or strategic.  This could be as specific as, “What provider do you use for your business healthcare coverage and why?” or as general as, “Which type of metrics do you think it’s important to put in your business plan for the next year?”
  • An article that is relevant to the interests of the group.  If you find a great article through LinkedIn Pulse or somewhere else on the internet, share it!  You can add a short introduction to indicate why you think its important information.  The goal is to spark a conversation based on the topic.
  • An announcement about an event or service that is relevant to the group.  Don’t be overly self-promotional!  Most group moderators will block content that is too much of a “commercial”, or they’ll put it in the promotions section which gets much less visibility.  But, for example, if there is an industry training or other event that you know about, this is a great place to share the news.

9. Engage with Other Members

As you engage in the group, you will find other LinkedIn members that are good connections for you.  They might be a peer who has a similar approach to you, or a potential client you can help.  Or maybe you find that someone shares interesting information and insights and you’d like to have them in your network.  If you see that there is a good reason to connect, there’s nothing wrong with reaching out.  When you share group membership with another LinkedIn member, you can send them a message directly through the internal messaging system.

This is where your Groups strategy pays off, so don’t take any shortcuts.  If you want to reach out to someone, be sure to customize the invitation and share the reason why they should want to connect with you.  That way instead of looking like spam in their inbox, you’ll look like someone that they want to connect and do business with.  Once they are in your personal network, you’ll have more opportunities to interact with them over time as you share content and get their updates in your newsfeed.

10. Rinse and Repeat

Now you are participating in LinkedIn Groups!  After the work of getting everything set up, a simple system will help you get the most out of your activity with the least amount of time spent.  It helps to have a set time to visit your Groups, once a week is usually fine.  Put a reminder in your calendar to check in on a weekly basis.  Then you can go to all of your Groups at once, read through the discussions, comment and like where appropriate, and post your own content when relevant.  For a 10-20 minute investment on a weekly basis, you can leverage your membership to find new information, resources, and opportunities.

By leveraging LinkedIn Groups, you have the opportunity to make stronger relationships with your existing network, and more importantly, it’s a valuable source of new connections.  Invest the time and energy up front and you will see the return over and over in the future.

 

David J.P. Fisher

David J.P. Fisher (D. Fish) is a speaker, coach, and best-selling author of Networking in the 21st Century: Why Your Network Sucks and What to Do About It. Building on 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur and sales professional, he combines nuanced strategy and real-world tactics to help professionals become more effective, efficient, and happy.

As the President of RockStar Consulting, David focuses on supporting professionals with their social media, networking, and business development skills. While the Director of Training for Ajax Workforce Marketing, the only approved training partner of LinkedIn, he helped develop a coaching program that thousands of professionals and companies have used to share their stories more effectively on LinkedIn.

You can find more of his unique take on networking, sales, and marketing skills at www.iamdfish.com. He lives next to a beautiful cemetery in Evanston, IL that reminds him to appreciate each day.

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The above article is for educational purposes only. Investment professionals should consult their compliance departments before accessing or implementing any of the marketing ideas, practices or advice found in the DigitalFA. Your use of the DigitalFA website tells us you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service.

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2 Responses to The Step-by-Step Cheat Sheet to LinkedIn Group Success (Part 2)

  1. Jay Palter says:

    I think you’ve done an excellent job explaining the HOW of participating in LinkedIn Groups, David. The bigger question is WHY?

    Presumably, the answer to this question are all the benefits of social networking: increased connections, engagement, visibility, reputation enhancement, etc.

    But in my own personal experience, I’ve found most LinkedIn Groups to be exceptionally noisy and full of self-promoters. Of course, there are some high quality groups where this is less the case and I would welcome any suggestions you have for advisors on what groups these are.

    Thanks for the great posts.

    • David Fisher says:

      Hi Jay!

      I totally agree that most Groups are full of noisy self-promoters – I think it unfortunately mirrors the offline world in that way. With no barrier to entry (anyone can create a group), I think that most of them aren’t very useful, and we’ll hopefully see those dry up. I think an easy fix in the short term is to stick with moderated groups. With the big upswing in use in the last 18 months, I’m hoping more people will look at the Groups and start engaging there.

      I also agree that the WHY and the HOW need to be wrapped up together, but I have met too many well-intentioned professionals who don’t know how to get involved because they don’t know where to start. That was what initially inspired the article – giving the foundation for anyone who wants to engage further on LinkedIn.

      I think that looking at Groups strategically means that different professionals will approach them differently, in the same way they approach relationship-building in the real world. I think that’s why so much of the reporting is anecdotal – it is hard to point out a simple formula that connects use to results. So I think that it’s important to be very clear about what you want from your time on LinkedIn – to ensure it’s helping your business and not becoming a time suck!

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