Making the Most of LinkedIn Groups: Part 2 : Beyond the Basics

Are you making the most of LinkedIn Groups? If not, why not? LinkedIn Groups can be a powerful way to expand your network, display expertise and research industry topics. In the last issue, I explained some basics about LinkedIn groups such as: how to navigate your LinkedIn Groups home page, ways to find appropriate groups within LinkedIn, what to consider before joining and how to join. In this issue, I will delve deeper into this topic to explain group features, useful tips and general etiquette for LinkedIn Groups.

I joined a group, now what? Proceed with caution. Hopefully you implemented some tips from the last issue to make sure you are joining appropriate groups. Now, you want to confirm you made the right choice by merely witnessing actual group interactions. It’s wise to get a feel for the group dynamics and style before jumping right into spouting strong opinions or posting anything that you might regret. Some groups are formal and members might frown upon using emoticons, while others are more laid back and have a lighter feel. Take your time to get acclimated to the group by seeing what type of content people are posting and how others are reacting to it. You can learn a lot by just observing. Don’t forget, if you don’t like what you see after joining, you can always leave the group.

Tip: The group manager might showcase (meaning it always stays at the top of the discussion page) a discussion designed to welcome new members and to give instructions (for example, some encourage new members to introduce themselves to the entire group when you first join).

Read the rules. To avoid making a bad first impression, it’s wise to review any group rules before executing your first post. Some groups specifically state that you should not post jobs in their group forum. Other groups welcome and encourage this behavior. For the most part, groups will welcome job posting information and this can be a fertile ground for the Hidden Job Market. However, sometimes a group rule states that it is designed only for technical industry questions and to not post jobs. While job information is usually a positive, some groups are afraid of being overwhelmed by aggressive recruiters or inappropriate postings. Many groups prohibit any self-promotion type posts (which could include blog posts, solicitations, promotions, etc.). Even if there is no rule against, you do not want to be known for only posting this type of information.

Tip: If there are any group rules (not all groups have rules) you can find them directly under the About This Group section on the upper right side of the home page for each group. Discussions: Starting a Discussion within a LinkedIn Group can serve so many purposes. Use this forum to help you network, display your expertise and gather useful information.