People are used to coming together in clubs and associations in real life. Sharing ideas is also one of the first things the Internet was used for.
So I encourage you to become a member of one or more Groups or start one yourself. Once you are member these are the benefits of belonging to one:
– By asking questions in the Discussions-forum you are able to receive help from the other members.
– You can see the Profiles of the other members. This gives you direct access to additional people who might not be in your first, second or third degree network.
– You can contact other members directly. Many people don’t allow to be contacted directly (they disable that option in their Account & Settings). However, the standard option in every Group is that members can contact each other directly. Almost nobody knows this option can be turned off.
– By answering questions in the Discussions-forum you not only gain visibility, but you also have the opportunity to show your expertise. As a consequence, your “Know, Like and Trust” factor increases. When you answer questions, make sure you give good answers and don’t make it a sales pitch.
– By sharing articles in News you also raise your visibility. Again don’t make it a sales pitch. It is OK to share links to your own website, blog or article that features you as long as it gives other people more insights or helps them in some way.
– When responding to a question in the Discussions you can add the URL of your website. This gives your website more visibility and helps to boost your ranking in Google and other search engines. However, don’t overdo it. One, maximum two lines.
– Some extra advantages of being a member of a Group which also organizes meetings where the members can meet each other face to face:
1. You can ask who else is going so you can make a decision if it is worthwhile for you. You can also make arrangements to meet other people there. This helps a lot when you are not comfortable in new environments.
2. If you have never been to a meeting, you can ask about the past experiences of other members and which expectations you can have
3. You can make arrangements to car pool so you don’t only save some money and are friendly to the environment, but also can maximize your networking time.
Remark: Tips about how to prepare for live networking events, what to do when you are there and how to follow up, can be found on the networking CD, “Let’s Connect at an Event”.
I strongly encourage you to become a member of one or more Groups. I also encourage you to be an active member: help people and share insights. This will make you more attractive for other people. They will make contact with you and consult you in your area of expertise, whatever that may be.
To your success !
PS: this is an excerpt from the book How to REALLY use LinkedIn (of in het Nederlands: Hoe LinkedIn nu ECHT gebruiken). Make sure you download your FREE light version.