Top Five Reasons to Use LinkedIn Groups

December 7, 2011

Ed. note: This is a series of guest posts on how our members continue to find value from LinkedIn in unique ways. This post is from Miles Jennings, moderator of one of LinkedIn's largest groups.

I've always been a big fan of LinkedIn groups, but as they add newer features and accelerate member growth, there are more reasons now than ever before to use groups for your organization. Here are my top five reasons to start, build or even just to try out LinkedIn groups:

1. Learn from your network

There is nowhere on the web but LinkedIn were senior professionals from every walk of life congregate and network. If you want access to industry gurus, academic thought leaders, or business leaders, LinkedIn is the place to go. Groups offer an exceptional opportunity to reach out to the people that you want to talk to most. Starting or joining a group gives you the exact right context and setting to engage in focused dialogue and networking. LinkedIn groups are the cocktail parties or reading clubs to the vast stadiums of people that social media has become. I am confident in saying that you will find no greater learning experience than by participating in and moderating group discussions.

2. Discover your passion

You may not want to be at the front of an audience. You may not want to deal with thousands of people or position yourself as any kind of industry or professional expert. But I can tell you, LinkedIn groups is not about that. Instead, they give you the chance to dive into what you are most passionate about professionally and explore your areas of interest with your peers and experts by your side. You can learn something new and meet someone new every day; groups are your chance to be a student again.

3. Engage with your community

If you have a company blog or perhaps have set up your own website, you know how you sometimes feel like you are talking to an empty room. LinkedIn is no empty room. By forming a tightly knit member community and then actively participating in the discussions, group managers enjoy unprecedented access into professional fields and experts. As a group moderator, you can pick out choice discussions to feature and call attention to members in order to form relationships with your members. It's easy to start or feature discussions, and then comment and engage with your community.

4. Develop a focused audience

A new member joins LinkedIn every second. Membership has grown to over 100 million members. With features like LinkedIn Today however, people are now seeing LinkedIn not just as an online resume, but as a place to find content and engage in discussion. LinkedIn groups lets you tap into the one true platform for daily professional conversation. Not only can you experience rapid membership growth because of this traffic, but more importantly, you can also develop a focused member base.

5. Deliver high quality, curated content

If you start a group that you are passionate about, that will show through in your group management. LinkedIn's made it easier than ever with new group moderation tools to monitor membership and discussion. One of the most important ways to give back to a group is to share industry articles and interesting LinkedIn group discussions. LinkedIn's group announcement feature and the ability to pick a daily manager's choice allows you to easily share your relevant content with the group. It's a great way to participate with your members and get feedback.

In 2007, everyone I knew was joining LinkedIn and becoming passionate advocates of its professional networking. But when LinkedIn introduced Groups, I knew that they were on to something really big. It turns out I was right (or more appropriately, LinkedIn was right.) Since I started the LinkedIn Group -- the Recruiter Network -- back in November of 2007, more than 230,000 members have joined. Four years later, the group is growing faster than ever with more than 400 new members every day.

Back then, I didn't know everything LinkedIn Groups could do for me. Social media was new, exciting, and it felt like a club. These days, you might say people are catching on: LinkedIn users have started over one million LinkedIn groups. The tips I've shared above are what I've learned as a group moderator, growing our community from scratch to nearly quarter of a million members. Hope my learnings as a group moderator and participant are helpful to those of you considering LinkedIn Groups.

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