7 Things you need to know to harness LinkedIn - Groups
November 17, 2014
By Lidija Pecov
Above all other social media sites for professionals one stands tall – LinkedIn – but here are some interesting facts start-ups, small business and entrepreneurs need to know if they are really going to maximise their time using it – or harnessing its potential.
It might seem a like a great opportunity but the truth is there are a lot of things that you need to be sure of before thinking you will obtain a return from your time investment with the platform. Just for some perspective there are now more than 300 million people with profiles on LinkedIn many of whom who use the site to connect stay in touch with others, develop new networks and, at the end of the day, either sell something or find a new job.
LinkedIn is not only a professional network for individuals it also hosts a number of groups, created around certain topics and thematic areas. In fact, you can find a group that serves as a networking opportunity for small and large business, professional groups such as aid workers through to accountants and alumni for academic institutions. To be exact there are more than 2 million groups whose membership ranges from a few dozen to tens of thousands and 6,500 new groups are being created every week and more than 150,000 posts are going up daily.
Recently LinkedIn introduced a new blogging feature allowing members to write pretty much on any subject. It has gone through a few iterations since it launched earlier in 2014 and also allows people to like an article, comment, share and tweet the link directly. The latest iteration is probably as a result of a lesson LinkedIn has learnt that enables people to report an article if it is deemed offensive. In any event the opportunity for people to share their knowledge and expertise is yet another way of enabling members to engage directly with the platform and many others – thereby growing connections and followings.
So what do start-ups and entrepreneurs need to know to harness the basics of LinkedIn? Take a look:
Make sure your profile is always very clear and concise. Stay away from embellishing and try and build a personal connection with readers by telling them something about yourself, your passions and what drives you – remember the old art of selling – if someone knows something about you and you know something about them then a personal connection is built which means it is easier for you to sell to each-other.
Stay away from connecting with people for the sake of connecting. Be selective in who you connect with because the last thing you want to do is end up managing a large network that doesn’t really do anything. Connect with people who share your interests or who you want to harness later on – for example, don’t wait until you want to ask for investment from someone who might be a future potential investor – connect with them before you want something! Be strategic and don’t take a scatter gunned approach to networking.
Build a group, but know how to manage it: It is tempting to have a LinkedIn Group but know that it does take a lot of time manage it all – especially if you want to keep it relevant which means needing to keep it updated on a regular basis with the latest news or updates. Eventually the problem with more well established groups is managing the flow of posts and the potential need to moderate. Advice: commit to a few hours a week – but don’t get caught up investing all of your sales time into the exercise because you may not get a revenue return.
Make sure to set up a company page: A lot of people overlook this in favour of groups but it’s easier to set up and manage and requires little updating. The good news is you can build a company following through that page.
Make sure you LinkedIn with your Twitter account: It is well worth the investment of time in connecting your Twitter account with your LinkedIn account so when you do a status update or a post it will automatically update both platforms (although you still need to keep it within the 140 character limit for Twitter).
Don’t overdo the posts: Don’t post more than a few times a day or even a week. In other words don’t just sit there using LinkedIn like a Facebook page. People get turned off when they get over whelmed with so much information. Keep the flow of posts steady and easy.
Make sure you connect your website and your LinkedIn Group: Most websites enable you to connect a link to social media platforms. The benefit of doing this is to build a good flow of traffic between your LinkedIn Group / Profile and your website. It’s also a great tool to build brand and awareness.
Later this week we’ll talk about how you can harness the LinkedIn blog feature to build a following and your company brand!
Remember – spend only the time you can afford to invest!
About the Author: Lidija is EntreHub's Eastern Europe Bureau Chief
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