“Join LinkedIn groups. You are 70 percent more likely to get an appointment with someone on an unexpected sales call if you cite a common LinkedIn group than if you don’t.”Amanda Johns Vaden
LinkedIn is great for freelancers or small businesses because it allows you to find and communicate with people in business all over the world. The vast majority of these people are professionals, and many of them are decision-makers. This means that if you know how to use LinkedIn affectively to find new leads, it can become a real source of clients and income for your business.
However, as many of you may know, it is not advisable to just jump in and start pitching to people on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is about building a presence and then using the presence to help others so that proper relationships can be built. One way in which this can be done is through LinkedIn groups. Groups have been on LinkedIn for years, and while there are a number of groups that are worse than useless (that’s an opinion I have built over 10 years by the way), there are many groups that you should find useful as both sources of information and support and ways in which to find and nurture leads.
- The best way to get started with groups is just to put a search term into LinkedIn and then narrow that search down to groups that are connected with the term. For example, if you are a web designer, type in ‘web design’ and then find groups using the search engine in LinkedIn for you to visit and become involved in.
- Once you have found groups that you are interested in, you can then spend some time really getting to know the members of the group and the things they talk about. For rather obvious reasons, it’s important to remember to choose groups that contain possible clients. A common mistake among new LinkedIn users is to join groups that talk about industries and work that they themselves are experts in. So that web designer might simply join the web design group full of web designers. While this may seem like a great place to hang out initially, you will not find many clients here. Instead, they will talk about web design.
“Like everything else in marketing, the first step is finding the right audience. Building authority with cyclists is completely useless to you if you’re looking to engage people in the automobile industry.”Vincent H Clarke, The Social Media Hat
- Take some time to really get involved in the group. It’s important to not sell or come across as someone who wants to sell within the group. This is still the case even after months of being in a group. LinkedIn is very different to other platforms in that it is truly about relationships. The more you become part of the community, the better your chances of using it as a source of leads.
- Once you have spent some time, and months makes more sense than weeks, focus on answering questions that people in the group bring up. The more you do this moving forward, the more likely you will be seen as an expert.
That’s pretty much how you get the most out of groups. Remember to not see it as a source of leads necessarily, but more as a place to build or help build a community. LinkedIn groups are best seen as places to build authority within a connected community. They are very useful, but take time to get the most out of.
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If you need more advice on getting new clients or using LinkedIn to do the same thing, start here.