Those that do use LinkedIn proactively don’t always respect the unwritten etiquette of LinkedIn.
This blog post will address the most common grumbles I hear about LinkedIn group users.
What are LinkedIn groups?
Groups are online forums, usually based on geography (e.g. Shropshire Business group) , industry (e.g. Social Media Today group) or business sector need (e.g. FSB group). Wherever you live and whatever your business, you will more than likely find useful ones for you and your business. Anyone can set one up (they become the moderator) and they can be open or members-only.
How can they benefit me and my business?
Give – contribute to discussions where you add your professional or personal opinion on issues, relevant to your business or not. Join groups where your target market hang out! The result: raise your profile locally or in your industry.
Take – join industry groups and see what your peers and/or your target market are talking about. Invaluable insight and you can keep up to date on what’s going on in your industry.
Top 10 ways to disgruntle other LinkedIn group users
1. Starting discussions that are a blatant business plug and not intended to engender discussions e.g. Putting your latest blog post as the discussion title with a link through – that should just be an update on your profile, not a LinkedIn group discussion! One group I contribute to quite regularly is going down this path and it’s a slippery slope.
2. Contributing ‘too much’ – I’m all for encouraging contributions on LinkedIn, but too much and you start to look like you’re monopolising the group and I always wonder why you have so much time to contribute all the time – no work maybe?
3. Being aggressive/generally unprofessional – I’ve seen a few humdingers where someone’s passion for what they offer and think everyone should do loses its emotion online and ends up looking rude or aggressive. Always think and review before you post a reply!
4. Posting events as discussions – there is an events tab in each group – use it!
5. Posting job opportunities and other promotions as a discussion – again, there is a promotions tab for that – please use it. Keep discussions as discussions, not any other news!
6. Contributing to discussions with a direct marketing hat on. Being generous on LinkedIn works -give your help/advice freely, you don’t need to say you can fix there problem if they just give you a call, they can easily check out your profile and see that for themselves, don’t ram it down their throats. If you’re seen as a helpful contributor you will benefit from a raised profile, if you’re seen as marketing all the time you won’t, it’s that simple.
7. Only contributing to discussions relevant to your industry/expertise – I’ll caveat this one by saying if you contribute to an industry group then fair enough! Otherwise, be social (remember, this is SOCIAL media); contribute mon general business discussions, have a balanced approach if you want to be seen as a valued contributor.
8. Using text speak or poor language – if you wanted to be taken seriously a a professional, you need to adjust your tone from what you use on twitter/facebook. LinkedIn is very business focused, make sure your language and tone reflect that – that’s not to say you shouldn’t show your personality!
9. Not using a good title – e.g. don’t call your discussion ‘Mobile Marketing’ – that’s not a discussion question that’s a statement. Call it ‘Are you using Mobile Marketing yet in your business?’ – readers are busy and lazy, use a ronseal approach to get them interested. You have 200 characters – use them.
10. Not using the ‘add more details box’ - often 200 characters to initiate a discussion is hard so use the extra details box to add more flesh to your question bone, ask more questions, add a link to a relevant article (not to your website preferably!).
LinkedIn can be a very powerful tool for many businesses as long as you know how to use it proactively and then commit time to it on a consistent basis.
Did I miss any pet peeves on groups use? Add them below!