The No. 1 Mistake LinkedIn Users Make

JUN 12, 2014 11:25am ET

Today, LinkedIn is the de facto standard to connect with other business executives on social media. Most everyone uses it. Yet only a tiny percentage are actually leveraging it to increase their profiles and grow their businesses. Here’s why.

Most people think leveraging LinkedIn is about connecting to colleagues. If you're among them, you’re missing out. The greatest power behind LinkedIn is in groups. These discussion groups are where topics are addressed, questions are answered and opinions are voiced.

LinkedIn's groups are a living, active platform for strangers and connections to engage, thereby creating lasting impressions and influencing opinions. Groups also help draw in business leads, drive traffic to your website, position you and your company as thought leaders, build credibility, and ultimately, grow a business. 

The trick behind LinkedIn groups is to be proactive. So how do you get involved?

There are three routes: you can join a LinkedIn group, you can create one, or you can do both. Today, we'll talk about joining a LinkedIn group.

The first step is to find a few relevant groups. Start by searching within LinkedIn for where your prospects live. In the LinkedIn search bar, you can highlight 'groups' to streamline this process. For instance, you can search under the terms "mortgage banking" or "warehouse banking."

From here, you can read a brief summary of what each group is about. Below this you will also see:

· How many members are in the group

· How active the group is

· How many of your connections are in the group

To maximize visibility, we recommend joining a group that has several hundred members, but not more than several thousand.

Once you've joined the best groups, find the most popular and relevant discussions in each group. You will want to join the conversation, provide insights, answers and commentary. You will also want to start new discussion threads or questions whenever appropriate.

Next, repeat this cycle, ideally two to four times a week. You will quickly build credibility and start generating leads.

Keith Freeman is a social media specialist at Strategic Vantage Marketing & Public Relations.

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