When we talk to people about LinkedIn most of them don’t see beyond their own profile. As long as they have one, and they’re connecting with the latest people they’ve met at an event, they believe they’re doing well.
Of course, they’re not generating any leads, and not getting any business through LinkedIn, but that’s fine.
Others realise there’s a bit more to it, and might have set up a Company Page, and might even be doing searches for some specific key individuals they want to be introduced to. But that’s as far as it goes.
All of that’s fine, apart from most people will admit they’re not getting much out of the whole process, and don’t know why they’re bothering. To mis-quote Tom Lehrer, LinkedIn’s a lot like a sewer; what you get out of it depends on what you put in to it.
If you want to stop getting rubbish out, you need to put a bit more effort in and start really thinking about your lead generation strategy.
One of the best ways to connect with new people, and strike up genuine conversations that can actually lead on to business is via LinkedIn groups. So many people fail to understand the little gems that can lurk in these untapped resources, so there’s plenty for you to work with.
This all sounds wonderful, but how do you get started?
Step 1: Find a group
Quite obviously you need to join a group, but it needs to be the right one for what you’re hoping to achieve.
You could of course create your own group, but in order for this to work you have to be able to spend a lot of time on it. If you haven’t already spent time in any other groups, I really don’t recommend this route.
Instead, look at what’s already available. That way you will be able to access an already established audience.
When you’re searching for groups think about your buyer personas (which I’m sure you’re very familiar with and have worked out in detail). What sort of things are they interested in? Who are they? Where are they going to be hanging out online? Figure that out, and then go join the same groups.
Alternatively, think about your competitors, and see if they have already set up any groups themselves. Not to poach their potential leads (there’s enough people on LinkedIn, you can find your own!) but to see what they’re doing, what works and what doesn’t.
You should also consider joining groups that are relevant to your industry. This is a fantastic way to hit the ground running, get used to being involved in discussions, and you may even be able to pick up some tips along the way.
Step 2: Post
As a member of quite a few groups (one of which is an awesome shoe worshippers group on Facebook) I can assure you that the vast majority of people say nothing. They’re lurkers.
Which is fine, but when it comes to LinkedIn, you need to make sure you’re out there and actively getting your point across.
Most groups have specific rules about what you can, and can’t post, so as long as you follow those, you’re not going to go too far wrong. The main key is not to be too self-promotional. A LinkedIn group is there to serve its members, and that’s usually done by sharing information and educating.
Make sure that you don’t just get involved in posts that are asking for services you can provide, but that you engage with the whole group as much as possible. People really do notice if you’re just there to sell, and that doesn’t help to develop any relationships further.
Equally, when you are responding to anything, keep your content relevant. Any help you can offer will be seen as helpful, and that will be remembered too. It doesn’t take long for people to see you as the good go-to for that particular type of advice or assistance, which is precisely what you want.
Step 3: Monitor results
As with any lead generation tactic you need to keep track of how well it’s working. You might find that some groups are more beneficial than others. Equally, you may see that you learn more from some than you might in another one, and that’s just as valuable as actually developing leads.
Only you know what you’re looking for, but LinkedIn Groups are a fantastic way to find it.