Linkedin Groups have been around sometime now, and they’re becoming more and more useful as a tool for winning new clients – if you know how to use them right.
Groups are essentially like forums or bulletin boards of old. But much easier to set up and to build a community quickly. Potential members can find the group easily in the group directory by doing keyword searches for things they’re interested in. As a result, Linkedin Groups can grow much faster than other social media platforms.
So what’s the key to getting clients by using groups?
The first step is to participate in the right groups. In essence, you want to be in groups with your target clients. But just as importantly, those clients need to be “hungry”. The topics of discussion need to include areas you can help them with – otherwise, you’ll be interrupting them with messages they consider to be irrelevant or intrusive.
And you need to avoid spam-infested groups too. Unfortunately, many groups today have been overwhelmed by people posting adverts for their products and services. Most of the people use Linkedin lead generation tool to gear up their marketing campaigns. So much so that most of the original members of the groups have left, or stopped reading.
You can search for groups in the group directory using keywords related to your clients, or the problems you deal with. You’ll have to join the groups to find out what they’re really like. So there’s usually a bit of trial and error involved before you end up finding the right set for you.
Once you’re in the right groups you need to become a valued community member. it’s no good starting by posting adverts for your services – that will get your earmarked as a spammer very quickly.
You need to add value – and the best way to do that is to join in the discussion and try to give advice to help people out.
If you’ve written something relevant on your blog that might be helpful, then you can link to that. And it can be a good way of introducing them to yourself on a wider front – either because they explore your blog further or perhaps sign up for your newsletter. But don’t become known as someone who only ever posts links back to their site. You need to give advice and participate in the group too – that’s what it’s there for.
Also, be wary of starting discussions just to post a link back to your blog. Especially if the discussion post simply says something along the lines of “I’ve posted a blog entry on XYZ, go to XYZ to read it”. Many people find this very annoying.
it’s much better to post a complete idea of a discussion item on the group – and at the end put a link back to your blog saying something along in a way that you’ve added value on the group itself – so your link back to your site is more “acceptable”.
And please, don’t start fake discussions by asking questions you don’t really want to know the answer to, just to tee up a chance to pitch your services. This will make you very unpopular, very quickly.
But if you do contribute to the group and become a valued member of the community, 2 things will happen:
Firstly, people will click on the links to your site. they’ll trust you and know that they’ll get even more value on the other end of the link.
And secondly, some may reach out to you directly to connect. And it may well then lead to a request for you to do some work for them.
That’s exactly what’s happened to me on a few occasions. And if you take this strategy of adding value and contributing to the group, it can happen to you too.