Wednesday, January 4, 2012

So You Just Joined a Linkedin Group : Top 5 Tips for New Members

More than 100 million professionals are using Linkedin with the leading industry of being high tech with 11,611K users.

Whether you are a seasoned professional or a new user, learning how to make the most out of Linkedin groups can be a sticky wicket.

Most groups have rules that group owners and managers use to help make each members experience rewarding. As with any Linkedin group, there will be those that behave badly and make it difficult and sometimes damn near impossible for serious professionals to enjoy and participate in group discussion because of shameless self promotion and spammy "marketing" tactics. Don't give up on a group because of bad behavior by a few. Learn how to flag posts as promotion or jobs and more on to contributing valuable content. Remember to reach out to group owners or managers for help or to report repeat offenders that make your experience unrewarding. A group gets better when every member holds each other accountable to the group rules and behaves in a professional and considerate way.

How do I know this?

For nearly 3 years I have been a Managing Partner and Event Coordinator for a local Professional networking group that has grown from 300 members on Linkedin to over 3000 since I first came on board. Among other events, I have organized close to 20 monthly educational luncheons that brings a wide range of area professionals together to learn from community leaders both online and off. 100% of my time is donated to this cause and to helping my community.

Has it been easy? Hell no. No one likes the hall monitor, especially the kids acting up or slacking off. Have I made mistakes - you betcha! Both at a member of groups and as a manager. We are all learning and growing in the online social space. Don't be too hard on yourself. Ask questions, reach out, own your mistakes and keep contributing valuable content.

The most successful groups that I am a member of (besides the one I mentioned) are the ones where everyone of the group managers are engaged with the online community through posting regular discussions, helping flag and moderate discussions as well as participating in member discussions by leaving comments. Establishing and maintaining an enjoyable and engaging group is hard work and the greatest success comes when all managers and members are on board and involved regularly.

I have learned so much since joining Linkedin and have had my ups and downs with managing groups. Has it been worth it to help connect the community and rebuild our local economy? YES! And I am incredibly grateful to those who stand beside me, work with me and who are truly committed to helping our community.

As you read over these 5 tips I hope that they help you!

Top 5 Tips for New Members of any Linkedin Group

  • Know the Group Rules 
When joining any group on Linkedin take the time to review the group rules the managers have established. If there are any doubts about a post you want to make - reach out to the group manager/owner and ask! They are there to help you get the most out of your membership! If the group have just joined has rules look for the Group rules link in the upper right of your group's page.

  • Review Past Discussions / Follow New Ones
When you first join a group, take some time to review past and follow current discussions to see what members are discussing and sharing. This will help you get a better feel of whether this is the right group for you and whether or not to post your first discussion.

  • Post Relevant Discussions
I recommend no more that one discussion post per week to each group you are a member of.  Now many may disagree if the group is more active and everyone has their own ratio of discussions read to discussions posted. Ultimately the decision is yours, but I encourage you not to dominate any group with your posts. Be fair to other members who may have something to contribute!

If you have a great topic that will drive and active discussion than you can consider Posting the Same Discussion to Multiple Groups.

At a loss on what to post? Here are Six Ways to Ignite a LinkedIn Discussion.
    • Receive Weekly Email Digests of Group Activity
    Consider setting your email digest updates to once a week (your email in box would blow up if you set it for every new discussion posted for every group you joined!).

    Set aside at least an hour a week to participate in and post relevant discussions, make new connections and reach out to those who have helped you with information or links. Here are 5 Simple Ways to make the Most of your Time on LinkedIn™

      “I promise to create thought leadership content that lives up to its name, and not simply babble on about nothing. No one likes or respects social spam!"
      • Don't Spam

      This is a great post by Neal Schaffer that covers LinkedIn Group Etiquette and will help you understand the rules? Ultimately, when I say don't spam that means don't harvest group members emails and send them all your email newsletter. Big no no. Learn how to use LinkedIn Mail without being spammy. 

      Don't shamelessly self promote. Some groups have sub groups set up where members can post upcoming events, industry specific interests as well as jobs. It's important to understand where to add your voice and more important not to come off as pushy with a hard sales pitch with every single post.

      Need some help? Here are 5 Best Practices to Making Quality LinkedIn Connections

        Learn more about Linkedin Groups from this great video. . .


        Why do you join Linkedin Groups?

        When you join a group do you research the group rules before posting?

        Are you a group manager? What are some tips that you can share that you use to make your group experience better?

        How do you encourage members to adhere to group rules?