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Finding and joining the right groups

July 22, 2015

In this next edition of LinkedIn tips, Ritchie Pettauer explains how to use groups to your advantage.

By Ritchie Pettauer

Managing and actively participating in groups can be quite time-consuming, yet social media professionals highly value the benefits of this format: On the one hand, groups are a great way to expand your network by identifying new contacts within your industry. On the other hand, active community members receive a visibility bonus and turn up more often in search results. LinkedIn features two basic group types. While any user can instantly join open groups, closed groups require the approval of a moderator. But before you share your knowledge with experts from all over the world, the challenge lies in finding and identifying the right groups for your industry – quite a challenging task considering that there are more than 1.5mio groups on LinkedIn!

Finding the right groups

The quickest way to find interesting groups is via LinkedIn’s search function: Simply enter your search term and narrow your result types down to only “groups” using the list selector on the left side of the screen.

Alternatively, navigate to “interests – groups” and click the button labelled “find a group”:

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This link takes you directly to group search.
There are further filter options for your results: You can either restrict your list to only open / closed groups and search by language. Search for your industry’s relevant keywords. Start with general searches and if you get too many results, add more specific keywords.

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LinkedIn also offers a very basic, alphabetically sorted group directory and a recommendation tool that matches groups with your profile content – very helpful if your profile is up to date. 

Group-Statistics and Settings

Not all groups are moderated equally: Finding out if a group you are interested in is actively maintained can be a bit of a challenge. By taking a look at the “about” page, you can instantly find out when the group was started, how many members joined and if there are any special group rules.

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Not sure? Time to open the statistics page by clicking the gear symbol and then “group statistics” for a quick overview about the past and present activity levels. If you are still in doubt, just join – you can leave any group later. If you joined an open group, you can instantly participate in the discussion. If you joined an open group, LinkedIn will notify you as soon as the moderator as approved your membership. To adjust your group settings, click the gear-symbol once again and then “your settings”. By default, the group logo is shown on your profile page. Adjust your e-mail preferences:

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LinkedIn restricts every user to joining 50 groups. For starters, choose 2 to 3 well-moderated discussion boards. Follow discussions and post some comments before you start your own threads: style and rules for ad-related postings vary strongly from group to group.

About the author:

Ritchie Pettauer is an independent consultant, specializing in the creating and implementation of online-marketing strategies. In addition to teaching at the Department of Communication at the University of Vienna and at several universities of applied sciences in Austria (online content management, customer experience management, web analytics), he also holds discussions and workshops on “Corporate Online Marketing and Social Media.” The popular weblog, datenschmutz, has also been part of his work since 2006.  View his full resume on LinkedIn.

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