- August 24, 2014
- Posted by: Con P. Sweeney
- Categories: LinkedIn, Social Media
Community Development is Step III in my Developing a Social Media Program.
In that step, I talked about what actions you can take to develop a community of interest and to retain them. I recognized that this is a daunting task for many of you. Yes, writing content and publishing it is easy but where do you go to publish and to whom? That seems to slow most people down.
There are three questions which need to be answered here:
1) How do you expand your network of contacts?
2) How do you expand your network of contacts credibly?
3) How do you expand your network of contacts credibly and in a reasonably short length of time?
In this post, I’ll discuss one tool that can help achieve all three of these goals. Also, as I always recommend free or near free social media solutions, this won’t cost you anything except some time and effort.
The tool is the Group feature in LinkedIn.
Participating in LinkedIn Groups (Trust me, you’re going to need more than one!) expands your network automatically. Moreover, since LinkedIn is a self-verifying network you’re connecting with individuals who have been vetted by other members of the LinkedIn community. If you select your groups judiciously, you’re, permitted to join up to fifty, you’re connecting with people who are either similar to you or interested in what you have to say. A very good way to expand your network of contacts.
There are three key benefits from expanding your network of contacts with LinkedIn Groups:
1) The expanded network comprises professionals who are self-verified as already noted.
2) The expanded network is available for questions and discussions in addition to any materials they elect to share.
3) Any group member can be contacted by any other group member without either being an existing connection or having to use an inmail.
Going back to my original three questions above, we can answer these accordingly:
1) LinkedIn Groups give us a tool to expand our network of contacts among a pre-vetted group.
2) Since you are using the LinkedIn Group feature you yourself are vetted! You’re not a total stranger looming out of the shadows.
3) LinkedIn Groups permit to expand your network connections fairly expeditiously based on the number you join and how many members each group has.
Behaviors that you should avoid are:
1) Selling or spamming your contacts. LinkedIn is all about relationships and demonstrating the value that you bring to a topic.
2) Failing to reply promptly or timely to a question or a discussion.
3) Not participating at all in a group. While with a large number of groups, you can’t be expected to be active in all of them, at least focus on the critical few and scan the remainder periodically. Scheduling some time on your calendar to do this is a best practice.
Finally, after an appropriate period of time, consider creating your own group. Here are several considerations:
1) Be honest with yourself about being able to make the necessary commitment of time and effort to make it worthwhile for all involved.
2) Is there a real need for a group like this or is it just a vanity vehicle for yourself? If the latter avoid it like the plague.
3) Can you generate enough interest to attract others, get them involved, and helping you? While I’d never say absolute member numbers is the sole success criteria for a group. A reasonable number relative to the subject matter should be expected.
LinkedIn Groups will give you an effective and credible approach to rapidly expand your network of contacts and to develop relationships with them. Like all social media and networking approaches it’s all about how you people and being disciplined in that approach.
Would love to hear how you make out with this approach!
That’s all for now!
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