Groups are where people with similar interests can come together for discussions on specific topics. They are targeted and categorized around location, industry or activity. There are thousands of groups and initially it will be difficult to find something appropriate for you.
To start, go into the Groups area of LinkedIn and search for your town name. It's unlikely that there will be groups for suburban towns, but if you find something, you may want to get involved. Remember: this is networking and you need to put yourself out there to get noticed. Your customers might be there and happily surprised to see you.
The next thing to search for is your state or province name. This should return a plethora of groups relating to job and business networking. Look for one that seems appropriate for you and join it.
Over time, there may be other local groups you find that are worth to join. Remember that even if you don’t actively participate in these groups the goal is to connect with your existing customers wherever they may be lurking.
You should also get involved with your own professional or industry groups. Good ones to look at right away are the "Jewelry Retail Network," "Brick & Mortar Jewelers Unite!" and any group associated with a trade organization. Membership to these groups will show your customers that you are active within your industry.
Now, here are some important Groups settings you need to know about now. When joining each group, you have the option to allow people to see your membership of the group. The goal of your LinkedIn profile is to make yourself publicly available, so in most cases you will always allow your membership to be public. One exception to this would be if you are joining one of the Jobs or Career networks. You also need to pay attention to the email notification setting. You should always select the digest notification otherwise your email will be overloaded with every post from members of that group.
You will get digest emails once a day from each group. If after a week they don't seem important, you should go back into the settings for the specific group and simply turn off all notifications, but don't leave the group.
We've come across hundreds of groups on LinkedIn that have been abandoned by the original creators, or have dozens of members but yet no activity. If you join a group, you should go back in once in a while. This website works well on an iPad and you could browse through it whenever you have a free moment, even while away from your computer. When you see a discussion of interest don't be afraid to add your opinion or experience to the conversation; it's the only way you will get noticed by new people. Don't promote yourself or your services directly in any group discussion. That will usually get you banned from the group. Instead, concentrate on educating others or learning something yourself. When you do learn something new you should post a thank you comment explaining how it will help you. This type of interaction will illustrate your willingness to help others and humility to learn as well. Assuming you are participating in a local group, this will attract new customers.
It looks like we have 2 more important topics to cover before we close this chapter about LinkedIn. We will continue this on Monday again.
This is the last shopping weekend before Christmas and we wish you all high profits in the next two days!