5 ways to use LinkedIn groups
“Back in the day, people joined paid associations to stay in touch with one another,” explains Shelley Zajic, vice president of talent for Apollo Group, parent company of University of Phoenix. “But now they can accomplish the same thing just by joining groups on LinkedIn®.”
With over 120 million professionals now using LinkedIn, a website that connects professionals to one another, joining groups can help a user make contact with the right people. But it’s important to know how to use LinkedIn groups, and which ones to join and why.
1. Access your alumni network.
According to Zajic, the first type of group to investigate joining is your alumni group. “There are two types of alumni groups to consider,” says Zajic. “Alumni from universities, as well as alumni of past companies where you once worked.” With a long history of employers, Zajic makes a point of belonging to all the groups she can find from her prior employers. And it has paid off. “I get a lot of people contacting me saying, ‘Hey, I know you know so and so, because I see they are in your alumni group.’ It’s a great networking tool.”
2. Look for local groups.
Zajic also highly recommends that people look to find professional groups for their particular industry that are located in their town. This is especially important if you move to a new location. “For instance, if I’m a CPA and I’m looking to move from Phoenix to Milwaukee, I might join a CPA group in Wisconsin so I can start networking with people who are currently in the area,” says Zajic. Many groups have online meetings or live chats where you can stay current with what’s going on locally.
3. Volunteer to help manage a group.
Offering to pitch in and help a LinkedIn group, such as becoming the group administrator, is a great use of time. “Running a LinkedIn group not only gives you a chance to demonstrate active leadership in your field,” says Zajic, “but it gives you access to meet people face to face at conferences.”
4. Stay active.
“Once you join a group,” says Zajic, “you can get involved by participating in webinars, and/or posting comments.” If you’re the most active person in the group, you will get a Top Influencer status, which gives you more exposure. Zajic also suggests reading articles on the resource LinkedIn Today for relevant stories about your industry.
5. Use these resources to their fullest.
Finally, Zaijc suggests that people use LinkedIn groups to tap into the vast expertise available. If you’re attempting to solve a problem at work, you can pose a question to a group and reap benefits from members’ expertise. According to Zajic, tap into the resources of LinkedIn groups and, “it’s like having access to a vast array of accomplished professionals at all times.”
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