You’re all set up, your profile is perfect, you’ve found everyone you know in real life that’s on LinkedIn and connected with them.  The next thing you want to do is find some groups to join.

There are different kinds of groups on LinkedIn:

  • Members-only
  • Open

You can join a Members-only group if you are qualified.  A Group Administrator just has to approve your request to join.  Or you can be invited.  One of my groups is just for members of a class that I took last year.  Click on the “Join this Group” button and a Group Administrator will let you know if you can be a member.  Sometimes this takes a little while as the “Admins” are working people just like you who only check LinkedIn once a day or so.  Be patient!

You can join an Open group just by clicking on the “Join this Group” button.  You’re in!

What are Groups good for?

  • Asking questions.  Start a Discussion with an issue or concern you have or ask for advice.
  • Finding out what people in your industry are talking about in real-time.
  • Commenting on Discussions and offering your own expertise.
  • Becoming an influencer in your industry by providing insight and advice to others.
  • Connecting with people you DON’T know personally, but are influencers you would like to interact with.

How do I find a Group to join?

LinkedIn will suggest groups in your Right Sidebar based on the keywords in your Profile.  Check those groups out—some of them will be a good fit, others probably not.

In the Search box at the top right of your page, you can click on different categories: People, Companies, etc.  Click on Groups and search for a keyword you’re interested in.  For purposes of this article, I put in “Creative.” I got over 50 pages of Groups.  Most of those won’t apply to me, so I might refine my search and try “Creative Los Angeles” or “Creative Design” but I still get plenty of Groups to check out.

You can also use the Groups Directory.

You can search for your hobbies, places you volunteer, companies you’re following or interested in, industries you would like to work in but don’t yet, the list goes on and on.  LinkedIn does limit you to 50 groups, so if you get close to your limit and some groups have become more important to your networking you might want to cull.  I’m a member of 25 groups so far.

What happens when I am a member of a Group?

You will need to make some decisions about how you want to be contacted.  You can do all of your communicating on LinkedIn, have every message in the Group sent to your email Inbox or anything in between.  I usually like to have a “Daily Digest” sent to my email in groups I want to follow closely.  That way I get to see the discussions, but I don’t get inundated with emails.  If I were looking for a job, I might want to be notified more often so I could jump on any good opportunities right away.

Because, yes, Groups have job postings.

Your Digest email will have New Discussions, Continuing Discussions, and New Job Listings.  If you’re interested, take a look.

The real benefit of joining Groups is being able to participate and interact with people who are talking about what you want to talk about, whether you know them or not. Be an influencer, be engaged, be interactive.  That’s what Social Media is for!

Next time: Maximizing LinkedIn: Job Seekers

Wendy Stackhouse for Artisan Creative