If you’re looking to widen your online networking efforts, you may already have considered what LinkedIn could do for you.

Aside from having a well thought out profile to ‘wow’ potential clients or employers, becoming active in LinkedIn groups could be your ideal path to new connections, enhanced online authority and additional leads.

Why become involved with LinkedIn groups?

LinkedIn isn’t as popular as other social networks, for example Twitter or Facebook, but that’s because it serves an entirely different purpose. LinkedIn is with no doubt the best choice for networking with like-minded professionals or B2B marketing, and with 160 million active users per month, you still stand a good chance of making a connection.

The site is home to over 2 million discussion groups relating to a wide range of industries and topics. By participating, you’ll get to know others in your field, establish yourself as a thought leader of your industry and even generate business, engagement and sales for your company.

Finding a group that suits you

It’s important to locate a group that relates to your industry, area of expertise or interests. Simply use LinkedIn’s built-in search tool to find groups that fit your needs.

Before joining, you should try to do a little research. While the name of the group will likely outline the overall topic, some group owners have strict requirements or expectations that members must adhere to. If they’re not something you can get on board with, it probably isn’t the right group for you.

Try to engage

Upon joining, you’ll likely be encouraged to start posting and introduce yourself. Try to outline your professional background, goals and industry, as well as what you’d like to gain from interacting with the group.

Establish your presence within the group before posting your own links or contributing posts. This way, you won’t look like someone who has simply joined to promote themselves and others will be more inclined to trust your views.

Don’t focus on yourself

A group is not simply a free promotion tool. Use the group to your advantage, learn something new and share your knowledge by discussing key topics and industry news.

Contributing information of value to a discussion will lead you to becoming a respected member of the group.

Share thoughtful content

After understanding the dynamics and interests of the group, you’ll be ready to contribute your own posts or content. By now, you’ll have developed an understanding of the types of content your fellow group members will appreciate.

Try to focus on any issues or questions that have arisen recently. Members will appreciate you taking the time to provide an answer or solution to their problems.

Stay away from spam

Posting content that is unrelated to the group discussion will simply be seen as spam, and may get you into trouble with the group’s moderators.

While sharing content regarding your business is fine, try to carefully craft it so that a message of value is included. Users will more likely take notice of that and click any links you’ve included.

Providing you stick to the key points above, you’ll have no trouble settling in and making connections on LinkedIn.

Do you use LinkedIn groups to establish yourself online? Let us know how this strategy has worked out for you so far!