The real action on LinkedIn® can be found within Groups. If you want to increase the benefits and rewards of being a LinkedIn user, consider joining one of over 212,000 groups on LinkedIn®. These groups typically are open to everyone, and are comprised of professionals that have a specific area of interest, experience, affiliation or goals. There are Groups for Alumni associations, Community organizations, Industries, Professional Certifications, software programs and even geography. These Groups are an effective way to develop connections with others in your profession or area of interest. They will always help you fill the funnel.
To find a group that interests you, the Groups Directory allows you to easily find the right group. Click on the “Category” drop-down to sort by different group types (Alumni, Corporate, Non-Profit, Corporate, etc). Once you have found a group you are interested in joining, click on the “Join Group” link to request to join the group. Clicking the Share button lets you invite your connections to join the group as well.
If you do not find a Group for the topic of your interest, LinkedIn® makes it easy for you to start one yourself. I have started several groups and have established numerous new connections that are of great value to me professionally and personally.
WebToolsTip: Belonging to a group is one of the easiest and most comfortable ways to invite someone to connect that you do not otherwise know. When you click on the link to Add to Your Network, you are asked how you know the person. One of the choices is Groups & Associations. After selecting that option, you are presented a list of Groups that you share. By selecting a group that you both share, and refering to that group in the text of your invitation, the likelihood of an invitation acceptance goes way up.
In my opinion, LinkedIn® should be required for anyone participating in our Web 2.0 world . If you want to break through to the real power of this, or any tool, you need to go deeper into its capabilities. Utilizing the power of Groups in LinkedIn® will enhance your experience.
For SalesMakers, here is a short list of some of the Sales Groups that I belong to and recommend exploring and joining if you are so inclined:
- Sales Blogcast.com
- The Sales 2.0 Network
- Jigsaw User Group
- Selling to Big Companies
- Inside Sales Experts
- Friends of the Funnel
Join one of more of these groups, start one of your own, and most importantly jump in and contribute ideas, answer questions and share experiences. You will get out of this what you put into it.