Yes I said it: LinkedIn Group Discussions are NOT for Selling! Which doesn’t mean you will not make connections with people that lead to sales. It doesn’t mean that group discussions aren’t one of the best places to build your credibility, establish common areas of interest, and build rapport/connection with people.
I have two top annoyances about LinkedIn group discussion participants:
FIRST ANNOYANCE = people who share blog posts (typically ones they’ve written) in the discussion area but aren’t actually asking for a discussion about the topic. Now I do like it when someone shares a blog post that sparked a question in their mind and they are asking it to the group community as a way to start the conversation.
SECOND ANNOYANCE = people who comment on a discussion topic with “I can help with that, message me”. The discussion area is a place to share your expertise NOT imply the people participating don’t have good ideas OR that the person asking the question needs to buy what you sell to answer their question.
If you are wondering how to leverage LinkedIn groups as part of your Social Prospecting™ strategy here are three steps to take.
- step 1 – figure out where your prospects & customers hang out on LinkedIn
- step 2 – join the groups
- step 3 – participate!
As I’m writing this there are 1,705,145 groups on LinkedIn, for me it dropped to 5,314 if I only look at groups my 1st level connections belong to.
Even in the smaller list, there is a big difference between: American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS), Bank Director, and Corporate Counsel.
You need to know where your customers hang out as that will probably lead you to new prospects. I think the easiest way to do this is after connecting with your top customers, check out what groups they belong to.
Start by making sure you read the group profile & all the rules on how/where to post. Most groups have tabs such as “Discussions” (this is a place for Q&A inside the group) and “Promotions” (this is somewhere to post what you’re selling).
Then read through the discussions that are there, be sure to switch it up between “Latest Discussions” and “What’s Happening”
Joining a group and reading is not enough! You have to participate with some level of consistency (yes I have difficulty here as well – get busy, drop off the face of the earth – not a good strategy).
Start by adding to discussions other people have started, join in the conversation with a new perspective – this isn’t “me too” it is your chance to show how you are different.
Want more on participation? When you are ready to begin your own discussion, check out 15 Ways To Facilitate A Linkedin Discussion from Paul Castain of Sales Playbook! LinkedIn group fame. He shares what to do AFTER you post a question/topic to the group.