Looking for Social Networking Value? CEOs Link In To LinkedIn Groups

Of all the social networks that have edged to the forefront of the Web, LinkedIn has proven to be of immense value to folks in the business world.

Besides offering professionals a personal profile, options to showcase one’s portfolio or the prospect of drumming up new business, the social network provides a myriad of tools to connect with peers.

One of the most popular ways to do so includes the relationship-building opportunities formed through LinkedIn Groups, the name given to the user-generated forums within the site. Currently, there are more than 2 million groups currently with more than 8,000 being added every day, according to LinkedIn.

And with an average of 200 conversations taking place every minute,
that’s a lot of dialogue and insight an active CEO could be missing out on.

Though these groups span the gamut — ranging anywhere from peer-to-peer forums, to regional business groups and industry-specific boards — they provide a great way to take a pulse on your business community.

The best part of LinkedIn Groups is that you get to be a part of the conversation. As a CEO, it’s a superb opportunity to show off your subject matter expertise and keep your company fresh, relevant and conscientious of the rhythm of the marketplace.

linkedin groupsI like to think of LinkedIn Groups as an extension of our marketing strategy, so we always make sure to craft a great impression. While it’s easy to join groups to look like you’re an active participant, it’s a waste of time not to take advantage of the groups’ many benefits. LinkedIn Groups can provide a boon to your business if you can simply make use of their tools.

Here are a few tips to help CEOs get the most value out of LinkedIn Groups:

1.   Select the right group for you. Do you want to leverage your business? Build your brand? Network with like-minded professionals? Or provide solutions to your peers? The first step to joining LinkedIn Groups is knowing what you want to use them for. There is no limit to how many groups you can join, but there is a limit to how much time you can actually dedicate to each group. Find out which one brings the most value to the table for you. Look for groups that attract companies or customers that spark your interest, or broaden your reach by connecting to people outside of your circle.

LinkedIn Groups: How to get started...

2.  Be a resource. Recently, LinkedIn expanded publishing authority across the network. That means CEOs like you can create and publish informational blogs and articles directly to the site. You can also post status updates within a group, or comment on those of your peers. The more you participate in the discussions taking place within a group, the higher your “influence” becomes. You can also extend your influence by sharing your posts through other social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter.

LinkedIn Groups: Participation is key!

3. Discover new connections. It’s also important to take note of other influencers within the group; they might be a good person to connect with, either on the network or, if possible, vis-à-vis. And they might reach out to you to do the same. Connecting with these individuals not only broadens your influence but also opens your network to other thought leaders, which may lead to new ideas or ways of improving your business.

linkedin-contributors

4.  Measure participation. Besides tools like bitly, that allow users to see how many people click on or engage with their links, LinkedIn specifically offers its members Group Statistics. This dashboard, which is accessible on the right-hand side of every Groups page, highlights demographics, growth and activity.

LinkedIn Group Stats: Review the groups you join to ensure they are a good fit for your business goals

As a CEO, this tool is especially helpful when deciding
what group to spend the most time participating in.

For example, click here to check out the statistics for the FUEL Milwaukee Group.

LinkedIn Group Stats: Review the groups you join to ensure they are a good fit for your business goals

5. Generate leads. LinkedIn Groups offers a tricky, yet plausible purpose, which includes generating leads. However, it is important not to appear “spammy,” or overly promotional. Instead, use LinkedIn Groups to build relationships, and then leverage these relationships into new business. You can also use Groups to recruit new talent. After all, an individual who participates on these boards is likely to be passionate about their career, industry or business community, which is what most CEOs are after in a new hire.

If there is one thing CEOs can agree on, it’s that we’re a busy, busy bunch. So it makes good business sense to focus on the social network that brings us the most value for our time.



P.S. To help you get started, here are a few of my favorite LinkedIn groups.

LinkedIn Groups: Get started with a few of these local Milwaukee groups...

Want more LinkedIn tips? Check out a few other previous LinkedIn posts or read through FAQs here.

Should I Ask for an ENDORSEMENT or a RECOMMENDATION on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn Endorsement vs. Recommendation by Cultivate CommunicationsThe past few years, LinkedIn has acquired quite the presence in the online social community for professionals and for business networking. It used to be that you’d type up a resume and cover letter and use those to apply for a job. But nowadays, many online applications and businesses ask — or even require — you to load your LinkedIn profile to propagate your work history and to act as a form of legitimacy, in addition to wanting to see your resume or CV. In fact:

LinkedIn has become THE hub for staffing and vetting qualified people for available positions and for creating networking opportunities.

If you are an active LinkedIn user, you may have noticed the ability to be endorsed or recommended by your colleagues. If you’re like me, you may have also noticed that there is a dramatic difference between how a Skill Endorsement and a Recommendation are interpreted, used, and engaged upon.

So which one — a LinkedIn Skill Endorsement or a Recommendation — holds more weight?

ENDORSEMENTS

Let’s start by talking about LinkedIn’s Skill Endorsements. An endorsement is essentially a keyword tied to a skill you’ve listed in the Skills & Expertise section of your profile that people can support your claim of being good at by simply clicking a button. You’ve probably seen (and even rolled your eyes at) someone you’re connected with who has a skill listed with an option for you to endorse it, but you KNOW they don’t have any experience with it. So do you endorse them anyway?

Maybe. Maybe not. It’s up to you . . . It’s only one click of your mouse. What can it hurt? It only benefits them, and it won’t reflect much on your reputation if you do.

But many people truly deserve endorsements for the skills they’ve listed. Personally, I’ll endorse skills all day long. My only beef is that people seem to use Skill Endorsements as a passive way to gain credibility on LinkedIn without actually asking the people they’ve worked with to write a true recommendation for them. It seems to me that savvy professionals should be more brazen if they are truly as talented and skilled as they claim to be.

LinkedIn Endorsement vs. Recommendation by Cultivate Communications

RECOMMENDATIONS

Now let’s talk about LinkedIn’s Recommendations feature. Someone’s endorsements, the number of connections they have, or the jobs someone has listed aren’t really the focus when I’m checking out somebody’s profile. In my opinion, the most important area to review on LinkedIn is someone’s Recommendations. Here’s why:

A recommendation is certainly not as simple or, if I dare say, as meaningless as a mere endorsement of a skill is on LinkedIn. Just like in real life, getting someone to write a recommendation on LinkedIn doesn’t come easy. That’s what makes recommendations so valuable. { Tweet This }

It’s kind of like applying to colleges You want the most prestigious and talented teachers and friends you know to write you a recommendation as to WHY you belong in that institution, and you’ll want those showcased prominently in your application. But to get their support, you have to find the words to reach out. You realize how difficult it is to ask someone to sit down and write a letter of recommendation for you. It’s imposing on their time, which you know is valuable. It’s flat out asking for their endorsement, and for them to trust you in your abilities to go forth with their good word attached to you and all that you claim to be.

LinkedIn Endorsements vs. Recommendations by Cultivate Communications

In relation to LinkedIn, you’ve probably thought, “Would it be okay to ask this person to recommend me?” “What if they ignore me?” “What if they say no?” But if you’re honest, have worked hard, and had a truly great relationship with someone, there’s absolutely NO harm in sending a nice message or making a phone call kindly asking someone to recommend you on LinkedIn for your skills, ethics, and service abilities. (You should probably offer to recommend them online as well and share your positive experiences you’ve had together in return.)

I think you’re starting to see how effective LinkedIn recommendations can be. . . From the sheer anxiety you might have to overcome to ask in the first place, to the time and effort it takes for someone who says yes to actually write a recommendation for you, the task might seem daunting. But the recommendation area of LinkedIn is monumental in building your brand and attributing a solid work ethic to your name, which in the long run is valuable in terms of establishing your credibility and strengths in the work force.

LinkedIn is becoming THE social tool for online networking and business-building. Make sure you use all of the assets and tools within it to showcase who you are in the most effective way. If you’re honest, hard-working, talented, and transparent about your work history and skills, you won’t regret it.

So, who should YOU ask to write a recommendation for you on LinkedIn? Reach out to someone TODAY and make it happen. I double-dog dare you! (You’ll thank me for it later.)

nick75

See all articles by Nicholas Putz

The Psychology of Social Networking

Psychology of Social Networking

The majority of us spend our fair share of time on any number of social networks, and of course, at every turn companies are trying to find new ways to reach and engage you through them. But have you ever stopped to think about how social networks affect your psyche? Why do you spend time socializing through various platforms online? Do you agree with the statistics presented in this infographic? Take a look, and let’s discuss in the comments section.

Colleen Wisniewski | Cultivate Communications

 

Psychology of Social Networking