3 Practical Uses For LinkedIn Groups

Just because it’s quiet around LinkedIn Groups doesn’t mean they have lost all purpose.

LinkedIn Groups get a bad rap.

I can think of three applications where LinkedIn Groups are awesome. I have found the key in getting the most from LinkedIn Groups is to not use them the way most people think of using them – that whole conversations thing – but to use them for what they are actually good for.

As most of you know, I have a Sales Navigator subscription. And one of the couple dozen or so filters on Sales Navigator is…Groups. When people join a LinkedIn Group, they are indicating their interest in a topic. I can filter and search through those thousands of interests to find the people that are interested in arcane processes, ideas or topics. A lot of people won’t put on their profile that they have an interest in Hubspot CRM software, but they will join the Hubspot CRM Group on LinkedIn, which is just as good from my standpoint if I am conducting a search for such people.

It doesn’t matter if they participate in the group, or if the group is active or a dead zone, I know they have that interest. 

And of course, most LinkedIn users will never realize that Groups can be used in this way.

The second reason is similar: advertising. One of the filters you can use as an advertiser on LinkedIn is by individual Groups. Using my Hubspot example above, I can choose to advertise to the thousands of members in all the local Hubspot user Groups on LinkedIn. This is a really powerful tool for putting together interest based advertising campaigns on LinkedIn. And again, this is something that most LinkedIn users will never realize.

You will note that these are two wonderful ways to get utility from LinkedIn Groups…without having to join any LinkedIn Groups.

What this illustrates is the sometimes hidden or buried rationale behind why LinkedIn has certain features, or in this case, why LinkedIn does not abandon a pretty derelict feature. As far as the LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Advertising people are concerned, LinkedIn Groups work just fine the way they are.

Now for the third way I use LinkedIn groups, I actually do have to belong to a group. I use Groups to send messages to people that I am not connected with. I know of three ways to send free messages to people I am not connected with on LinkedIn and this is the best one, with the widest range. One of the first things I recommend to my new clients is to go join the LinkedIn Groups their prospective customers would join which you can see right on their profiles. It doesn’t work in all cases – the Harvard Alumni Group likely wants you to actually be a Harvard alumni for example – but it does in enough of them to be worthwhile.

LinkedIn Groups are a classic example of a feature is really effective, just not in the way most people think it should be. This is why I always come back to saying that you should use LinkedIn as it is, not as you would like it to be.

Obligatory disclaimer: I do not work for or have any association with LinkedIn, other than being a user who pays them for his Sales Navigator subscription every month. 

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