Have you ever joined a LinkedIn group, and then thats the end of it? Are you the type to never contribute, or don’t even peek in once in a while to see what active discussions are taking place? If you are not actively using your LinkedIn groups, you are missing out on valuable opportunities to network with people, and some of the best jobs are posted in these groups. I can attest to the value of LinkedIn groups because I actually got my current job from one. If you are lost or confused on how to use LinkedIn groups here are some tips you can implement now to leverage the current groups you have:
Start your own group
As a young HR professional I was looking for a group that catered to young Nigerians in the field. I was not able to find one so I started my own called Young HR Professionals: Nigeria. It is a great way to show your leadership skills, as well as find and make connections with people who have a similar interest. Your group does not have to be big. Even a small group can have meaningful discussions.
Join groups targeted to your profession
A lot of people make the mistakes of joining hundreds of groups, and then they end up getting lost in the shuffle. Realistically find 2 to 5 groups that cater to your background, and be a visible member in those groups. The more visible you are in the groups, the more you can learn from others. Many times I use groups to ask about challenges I am facing at work, and members are more than happy to assist you.
Join active discussions
You will always find a few active discussions that everyone is commenting on. Those are the discussions that you should join to show your expertise to other members. Make sure to add insightful commentary, and help out another fellow member that has a questions as well. if you continue to be visible,and add worthy comments to discussions, soon members will see you as a thought leader within the group.
Start a discussion
Not only should you participate in active discussions, but you should also start your own. It can be a question you have about work, or a thought provoking statement that gets everyone talking. Do not go into the group and after 5 minutes of being there you ask that you need a job. Actually spend some time in the group to gauge everyone’s temperature. Observe what continues to be a hot topic, what are people’s main concerns. This is a great tool if done strategically and can create a great amount of engagement.
Network Network Network
LinkedIn groups is a great way to network with other people in your industry. Maybe you notice someone always posting thoughtful comments about a topic that is of interest to you. It is a great conversation starter if you are looking to connect or send a message. Of course do not stalk someone, or do not use LinkedIn groups to be abrasive either. take the time to notice who is who in each group. With time you will know the right time to connect with someone new. I have made a lot of great connections from groups, simply because someone liked what I posted or vice versa.
There are a lot of hidden incentives from actively participating in LinkedIn groups. Whether it is a new job, partnership, or speaking engagement, LinkedIn groups are definitely an investment that is well worth your time.
Photo Credit: Chika Uwazie
About the Author: Chika Uwazie is an HR professional turned operations strategist for African tech startups. You can read more from her at The Naija Careerist.