5 Tips to Better Participate in LinkedIn Groups
Nonprofits digging into social media may be aware that LinkedIn offers great opportunities to network and find talent whether volunteers, board members, or a new CEO. But LinkedIn’s professional network is much more than a glorified resume sorter. It’s a place where thought leaders gather to share their expertise, and there’s no better way to do that than by cultivating an active presence in LinkedIn groups.
Not sure where to start? Here are some pointers:
1. Be choosy about the groups you follow.
Your time is valuable, right? Don’t bog yourself down by branching out too far thinking it’ll help build exposure.
- Find the right groups that match squarely to your expertise area. If you’re too busy to participate in the groups you follow there’s not much point.
- Don’t spread yourself too thin. Start with 3-5 groups that really make sense.
- If your organization is in a niche of its own, or you’re not finding a group that really speaks to you, start your own.
2. Be a listener first.
Before you dive in offering opinions like gangbusters, see what kinds of questions and responses are coming through the group and get a sense of the personalities of the most active contributors. That way you’ll avoid duplicating information that’s already been shared recently, or stepping on any toes. LinkedIn offers additional tips on group best practices here.
3. Schedule your participation.
Just like all other social media, your presence needs to be consistent. But you can’t just plug your interactions into Hootsuite the way you can with Twitter and Facebook.
With LinkedIn groups you need to read what’s being said in the groups you follow and respond thoughtfully in a way that adds to the conversation while shining light on your organization, cause, or yourself as a thought leader in your space (without being overtly promotional about it):
- Create a schedule and set alerts to remind you to interact
- Focus on your top three groups each week
- Plan to interact at least two days per week; if you’re getting the results you want, you can always increase your participation
4. Go for quality engagement.
Take the time to like, comment and add value to each of your groups. Ask questions that encourage active discussion. Help people go deeper to better understand your cause, and the various concerns facing your organization (and all nonprofits), and brainstorm solutions. You couldn’t be in better company, after all.
5. Don’t make it all about you.
Even if your goal is to be a thought leader, that doesn’t just mean offering your personal opinions at every turn. Sometimes being a thought leader means offering up content that’s most relevant to the issue at hand:
- Research and share resources
- Give useful and actionable information like vendor recommendations, blog recommendations, worksheets, tools, systems, etc.
- Thank anyone whose advice you took or resources you used
Whether in your own group or in others, you want your presence to be one that encourages open sharing by others. Posting thought-provoking content, offering up opinions backed by statistics or other resources, and respectfully hearing the views of others along the way will foster relationships and engagement that could benefit your cause in any number of ways. So get started, if you haven’t already, and let us know your favorite tips for LinkedIn group interactions.
The preceding is a cross-post of the Social Media for Nonprofits February 25, 2015 blog post of the same title. Ritu Sharma is the CEO and Co-Founder of Social Media for Nonprofits, an organization committed to bringing social media education to nonprofits worldwide. She convenes thought-leaders and leading practitioners in the social media space in the unique TED meet Twitter style conferences in 14 cities in three countries. She speaks frequently around the world on a variety of topics in the nonprofit and social media spheres with a passion for effecting social change through social technologies. She writes a blog at the Huffington Post on the intersection of social media, social change and leadership. Follow Ritu on LinkedIn or Twitter @ritusharma1