By Randy Michelson
iPartnerMedia Accredited PR Consultant

In baseball, the most successful hitters focus on singles and doubles but every player enjoys a home run.

Recently, our team hit a home run when we landed a website project for arguably the largest supplier of nuclear cabling products in the world.  Instead of a baseball bat, our equipment was the free professional social media platform LinkedIn.

Am I surprised? No.

As an early adopter of LinkedIn, I have generated hundreds of thousands in revenue from this tool since creating my profile in 2007. Rarely does a day pass that I do not spend at least a few minutes scanning the latest activity on LinkedIn. One of the most powerful features is LinkedIn Groups.

Finding LinkedIn Groups Relevant To You

You can find Groups within the Interests submenu. The maximum number of groups you are allowed to join is fifty. Use the search feature to explore groups using keywords pertinent to:

✔ Your industry (bank, mortgage, marketing)

✔ Your geography (fort myers, naples, southwest florida)

✔ Unique terms or jargon (leads, MPS)

✔ Your alma mater(s)

✔ Non-profits you support

✔ Keywords important to your top clients

Did you know that there are at least nine LinkedIn Groups that specifically target professionals in Southwest Florida? Some of these groups have thousands of members. For example, if you work in the technology field in Southwest Florida and wanted to connect with other local technology professionals, by entering the keywords “technology southwest florida”, you would quickly find the LinkedIn Group for the Southwest Florida Regional Technology Partnership and instantly have access to almost 500 people that could become clients, referral partners or even your future employer!

Joining A Group

Once you request to join a group, take a few minutes to read any rules posted by the group moderator. Be respectful of them. Understand that anything you post within a group is subject to censorship by the moderator if not compliant with group rules. Also, visit the group settings page to select how you prefer to receive updates from the group. Your choices are to subscribe to be emailed a daily digest or real-time email alerts.

LinkedIn Group Best Practices

Your primary objective is to become a Voice of Authority, a giver not a taker, and someone that adds value to the forum. Your intent must be to educate, answer questions, post and share event information (especially networking opportunities, seminars) and share industry relevant news and articles.

Whenever you publish articles, white papers and blog posts to your website, LinkedIn should be one of your syndication channels to drive traffic back to your website. Always use good writing skills including proper grammar and correct spelling. What you post is a reflection on you (and your company) so keep it professional.

Be Useful, Not Salesy

The best advice you should take away about LinkedIn Groups is to avoid posting self-promotional, sales oriented content. Rather, be a good listener by reading what others are posting and where appropriate, add a comment. Add value to the group by sharing your experiences and opinions. If you are a true rainmaker, you could even start a group of your own, especially if you identify a niche where there is not a lot of conversation yet on LinkedIn. But that’s a topic for another article. In the meantime, become a LinkedIn Groupie and I’ll see you online.