Birds of a Feather....LinkedIn Groups

By David Smith

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The Blurb on Numbers

It is pretty impressive that LinkedIn has 400 Million+ users / members, perhaps just as impressive is the fact that at least one new member 'signs up' every second, and Linkedin receives 12 million unique visitors per day, which makes it a seriously powerful network.  I have it on good authority that approximately 20% to 25%of members are recruiters, which means that LinkedIn is an essential Job Search tool that should be fully utilised.

The message is....LinkedIn is a community / network of people that is buzzing with activity. The problem is 'How can I get spotted in amongst so many people?'  We need to whittle that number down to a realistic audience.

For the purpose of this article, I will assume that you speak English; LinkedIn is available in French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish, which trims quite a few million, but still makes it difficult to get noticed. Let's rule out all those who are outside your sector or you have a more manageable network - still enormous, but at least you are now in the ball-park!

As you are aware, this is not Facebook - you can't just send invites to connect with random people that you don't know...and this is [believe it or not..] a good thing.  So how can you find, connect and interact with these people?

How to 'Flock Together'

Without getting all misty-eyed and nostalgic, you may remember the days of 'Linkedin Answers,' whereby individuals could ask and answer, and generally dissect various industry-specific topics together, which was helpful to those asking and helped those answering to showcase their talent and expertise.  It was also a user-friendly way of meeting people with a view to connecting with them.

Sadly, this outstanding application was exploited've guessed it...Spammers!  Questions were being "answered" and at the same time, links were being posted which led to, sometimes the murkier waters of the www.  No doubt the good people at LinkedIn were getting sick of policing the application and far too much resource was being sapped by this needless activity.  So how can you meet with like-minded professionals and ask for advice or even showcase your knowledge and abilities?

LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn groups aren't a replacement for the good old 'Answers' feature, they have been around for quite some time, but this valuable resource was often underestimated.  So what is a LinkedIn Group?  Quite simply, it is an application that allows people to join together under one heading of 'interest' - to give you a good example - this particular site has a Group that you can connect with and you should do so if you are looking for work or considering a career change -  check out the aims of the group -  there are over 3000 members.  As a network, that is a huge network that can get you started.  This group is designed to be relevant, no matter where in the world you are, there are other groups that are much narrower in terms of geography or niche interest.

Finding Something Relevant....

Sounds good so far!  Finding a relevant group couldn't be easier.  If you have applied all the appropriate 'spit and polish' to your profile, then when you click on 'Groups' - LinkedIn will provide plenty of suggestions, but there are a few things that you should consider before signing up to 40 or more groups.

  • Choose carefully, you will give yourself too much work to do if you try to join every group that LinkedIn suggests - aim for three or four initially, and make them as diverse as possible - for example, try to join groups that matches your geography and industry to start with.  There may be other specialist groups that would be beneficial.
  • Get involved - if you were a member of a group that has 3000 members, there is no way you will be noticed unless you get involved in the discussions.
  • Don't respond to every digest email.  If you find that you are getting too many emails, alter your settings so that you get a daily or weekly email, whichever is more suitable to you.  You can also alter your settings so that you get an email as soon as a new discussion is started.
  • Once you get into discussions with people, you know them. Which makes it easier to open up a dialogue and make additional connections.

This opens up the option of connecting people with similar, or at least, common interests and objectives s to yourself.  Please continue to stick to ettiquete though, don't go mad!

Gathering Your Own Flock

It may be that you would like to generate a buzz of your very own.  Creating a group for yourself is a brilliant idea to grow your influence and contact base.  I think enough has been said in this post already, the whys and wherefores around starting your own group are pretty in-depth.  It is way past my bedtime, so I will cover this area of LinkedIn on the next post.

If you would like to connect, there is a link to my profile on my other posts on this site, if you want any more information about LinkedIn Groups, just drop me a message.


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