Kevin Knebl, International advisor- author and speaker, could easily be considered one of the foremost authorities on LinkedIn and all things social networking. He has worked with companies ranging in size from Fortune 500 to one-room small business operations. In this weeks Shweiki Media webinar, he delves specifically into LinkedIn groups and discusses how one can manipulate certain groups to improve lead generation, branding, sales, business development, and much more.
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The first step in properly utilizing a LinkedIn group is to find a group influential to one’s industry or area of expertise. “Remember that Linked-In is a database,” Knebl states. He goes on to give the example of searching for groups of CFO’s through the search bar. “If I were looking to do business with Chief Financial Officers, I would think that going to a group titled CFO network would probably be a good idea.” Once one locates a group that could potentially prove beneficial, the next step is to check the group statistics for an optimal networking environment. Areas of location, demographics, posting frequency, and group growth are all attributes to consider when choosing a proper group.
Networking Through Groups
Once one has chosen a proper group to join, the next step is “cashing in” by connecting with potential stakeholders. Knebl considers this to be the most important step in the group-to-business process. “The challenge for most people is that they’ve never really studied networking, whether online or offline.. Just like in the real world, you shouldn’t run into a networking meeting throwing business cards at people and doing what I call kissing on the first date; you should be approaching people with the attitude, let me learn more about what you do, so that as I come across people that I think might be a good fit for what you do- I can connect you with those people.” Knebl warns against jumping into groups with a needy or sales-first attitude. Instead, he advises one to only post items that show one’s perceived value.
Posting Discussion Threads
Discussion threads are a great way for one to provide value in a group setting. Knebl states that approximately once a week, one should posting interesting articles on a group board, and then allow the group to digest and evolve the discussion. Posting threads primarily tells the group that one’s ideas are interesting and similar minded, but also opens up dialogue to members where one might not have previously had an in.