LinkedIn touts itself as the most professional social networking site. It’s focused on letting you reconnect with old colleagues, leverage your existing network and it’s also a great way for business owners to reach your target customer. LinkedIn users tend to keep their profiles focused on their work experience and relevant skills. LinkedIn is not about connecting with strangers. It is a place where people trust those with whom they connect. One of the best things about LinkedIn is the groups you can join. Here are some tips on how to reach your target customer via LinkedIn Groups.
1. Do Your Homework
There are thousands of LinkedIn groups, as a member you are limited to joining 50. There are many groups with the same exact topic, so look for groups who are most active. Don’t bother with groups of less than 500 people. If you head to the group page and see many conversations started by many different users, it would be wise to join that group.
2. Don’t Sell
Many people are leery of hard sales tactics in their LinkedIn groups. Group members have joined for valuable and diverse industry insights – not to become targets of a marketing campaign. Also be careful with sharing links. Some group members are notorious for spamming LinkedIn groups with self-serving links. Groups with admins look out for these behaviors so you risk getting the boot when you do this! Focus on dialogue here, not sales.
3. Start Conversations
Posing questions for open group feedback is always a good idea. It’s also a great way to build engagement with your target customer. It could be a valuable tool for understanding customer insights as well. Links to relevant material on your blog is a helpful ways to begin a conversation, if you not too overtly promotional. Be sure to comment and give feedback on other posts in the group. Make your presence one of modest authority. By getting your name and face out there to your customer, group members will start connecting with you directly.
4. Create Your Own Group
Once your presence in a group has been felt and you’ve begun to make connections outside of the group setting, this is a perfect time to branch off and create your own group. Creating your own LinkedIn group is a way for you to invite new connections you’ve made in your groups. Your group can be a tangent off of the original in a way that is much more specific to your industry. Invite people with whom you’ve had a friendly rapport.. Check out my group Smallbizchat on LinkedIn to see how you might what to run your own group.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that LinkedIn is restricted to your personal resume. Many of LinkedIn’s users head to the site specifically for answers and professional advice. LinkedIn groups are like a door or opportunity for you to build relationships with a flood of new target customers. If this is where the majority of target customers spend time online, building a LinkedIn group could be a great investment.