LinkedIn is today to working professionals what Facebook was to college students when it first launched: a networking tool with a specific audience and purpose in mind. Facebook has since degenerated to an all-inclusive social media outlet for friends and family, but LinkedIn still retains its reputation as an online social networking service for the working world.
As of last month, LinkedIn reported an astounding 131,200,000 members, with 12% of those being entrepreneurs. While many users leverage LinkedIn during job searches, the users who really derive the most value from the network are:
- Salesmen and women (10% of all users)
- Academics (9% of all users)
- Other professionals
In facet, LinkedIn benefits anyone whose livelihood depends on staying current with new technologies and trends, and keeping an open line of communication with a powerful network of successful peers.
One of the features that keeps these working people connected on LinkedIn is the Groups feature. The LI membership base is a veritable ocean of users, but with Groups, you can shrink that ocean down to small pools of relevant people with whom you can:
LinkedIn is unique in that it allows senior executives, professionals with decades of experience, to connect and discuss best practices, new strategies, or anything else important. Leaders from every industry and the brightest minds in academia and consulting are on LI, and with Groups you can develop a context for you to open dialogue with them. Group discussions will generate some of the best ideas out there, ideas that wouldn’t be possible without the collaboration that LI Groups offers.
Within Groups, you also have the opportunity to interact with members of the industry community in new and targeted ways. As a group moderator you have the ability to:
- Build specific member communities with corresponding or complimentary perspectives and prompt discussion about important topics. Joining in these conversations also gives you access to experts and others who often can give you the edge you’ve been looking for, just in conversation.
- Highlight and direct attention to conversations or members you think are noteworthy or especially insightful. By positioning yourself as an essential link between two important people, you will form constructive relationships with both parties.
- Generate a following that grows as rapidly as LI itself. Especially in conjunction with other LI features, such as LinkedIn Today, you can really engage your audience and begin great conversations.
When someone in your group makes a particularly great comment, or if you come across an article that you think would be great conversation fodder, you can share that content with the entire group instantly, and you can manage the way the group grows with moderator tools for membership and discussion. Getting feedback on shared content, and encouraging group members to search for and share content as well is a great way to develop new ideas, again made possible by the Groups feature.
So join a group, start a group, moderate a group — whatever you do, get involved and get the ideas flowing in your professional network.
This is a guest post by Nadia Jones who blogs at online college about education, college, students, teachers, money saving, and movie related topics. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.