Using LinkedIn Groups to Expand Your Network and Grow Your Professional Service Business

According to HubSpot, LinkedIn is more effective than any other social media platform in generating leads and prospects. As for the Groups feature, there are many more benefits than you might realize.

Raise Awareness

You can use LinkedIn Groups to increase awareness about your professional service company by creating a stand-out profile, publishing informative articles, and by participating effectively.

Connect with Potential Clients

On LinkedIn, you’re connected to people through your 1st-degree connections, as well as 2nd and 3rd-degree connections. This offers a tremendous opportunity to move beyond just 1st-degree connections to build meaningful relationships with your colleagues and potential clients.

Build Valuable Networks

When you create networks of people, they will spread the word about you. For example, they will share your articles, information, and company successes, and also provide endorsements of your skills and services. When you spend time providing value, sharing, helping, and informing your connections, you’ll build networks that become valuable all the way around.

 Build Influential Relationships

Once you recognize using LinkedIn Groups is about building a relationship with each potential client, your influence could grow dramatically.

Conduct Research

You can use LinkedIn Groups to inform yourself about pertinent industry information. Simply use the search function to gather vast amounts of research.

 Discover Problems

The best thing you can do for your audience is to problem-solve, but first you must find out what their problems are. Participating in LinkedIn Groups can help you learn about issues straight from your ideal target client.

Stay Connected

You can use LinkedIn Groups to stay informed about your target clients’ needs, activities, and more.  The more you interact with your target audience, the more likely they are to become clients.

The Value of Joining a Group

Joining Groups should be one of your top priorities as a professional service organization, and you can join up to 100 Groups at any one time. However, you must take your time evaluating a Group properly before joining. Joining Groups is about choosing the right ones for you and your business specifically, not just randomly joining popular Groups that you are unrelated to your target market.

When evaluating which Groups to join, think about the potential value you’ll get from each, such as:

  • Opportunity to Share Knowledge – It might seem counter-intuitive, but the more knowledge you can share freely with others, the more benefitsyou’ll receive.
  • Gain Knowledge from Others – Posing questions in your Groupsis a great way to get advice about your challenges from people who have the expertise you need. You can also gain knowledge just by reading other people’s comments and taking note of what they have to say.
  • Make Connections with Potential Clients – When you join the right Groups, they will be full of potential clientswho need what you have to offer. Also, those new clients will know people who need you too.
  • Increase the Visibility of Your Business – By participatingin the right Groups, your name and the name of your business is seen more often by your target market than if you only have a profile
  • Find Ideas for New Services – Participating in Groupsis a fabulous way to determine the types of services your ideal target audience

These are all very valuable aspects of joining and participating in relevant LinkedIn Groups. Keep these points in mind when deciding which ones consist of your target audience and which ones can reap the most benefits for you.

The Value of Managing Your Own Group

LinkedIn also allows users to own or manage up to 30 Groups. Creating and managing your own targeted Group can be even more powerful than just participating in other people’s, as long as you know how to do it correctly.

When creating a Group, you can choose to produce one consisting of colleagues or create one that gives information to your audience. Both approaches have merit for your professional service business.

Creating a Group for colleagues can help establish you as an expert among them. On the other hand, creating one for your target audience can provide a large pool of potential clients with connection potential.

There are many benefits to creating and managing your own group. Here are some:

  • Build Thought Leadership – When you form your own Group, you can spread the messages you find important.
  • Put Yourself in Control – People will automatically see you as someone who is successful as a leader of a popular Group on LinkedIn.
  • Create a Tribe of Loyal Followers – Over time, the Group members will become loyal to you, and help you expand your influence. They’ll share everything you do with others.
  • Build Traffic to Your Online Real Estate – You can publish blog posts in your own Groupswithout worrying about offending other Group owners. Your members can share posts too, which will help increase traffic.
  • Build Your Connections – When you managean active Group, you’ll be noticed, and people will seek to connect with you, thus building your 2nd and 3rd-degree This, in turn, helps you generate more leads.
  • Send Group Messages – When you create a Group, LinkedInlets you send everyone in the Group one message via email each week for free. This gives you even more opportunities to connect with target clients.

What’s more, LinkedIn gives you the tools as a Group creator to manage who is accepted to the Group, as well as the ability to ban members when necessary. You can also send Autoresponder messages as people join, building relationships from the very first contact.

When getting started, take the time to determine how your audience uses LinkedIn and decide why you want to use LinkedIn.

For more information on how to best use LinkedIn Groups to expand your professional service business, check out our report titled, “Networking with LinkedIn Groups.”

About "Bernadette Brogan"

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