By Stephen Key at Entrepreneur:
LinkedIn groups can be a great resource for people looking to network on the career-social platform. Not only do they connect you with other like-minded people but also provide a bevy of information small-business owners and entrepreneurs can use. But are they for you?
To make the most of LinkedIn-discussion groups, follow these guidelines.
Ask questions that can benefit everyone. The only way to do that is to really understand the goals and purpose of the group. So do your homework first and observe the group. What are members asking for? What do they want to achieve? Don't jump in without knowing, or you will look foolish.
Don’t sell, be social. Joining a group is like being invited to a party: It’s best to get to know people first. Demonstrate your sincerity by asking questions. What do people do? What are their interests?
Avoid dominating the conversation. Take the time to let a dialogue get going. Pause before you respond. This reaction will let people know you’re open to hearing their opinions.
Don’t brag. (You’re not the only expert.) Your achievements are much more impactful when you let others discover them on their own. Being humble speaks volumes. And it’s actually a great sales tool.
Thank people when they contribute. It’s such a simple thing to do but giving thanks makes people feel needed and helpful, which goes a long way towards establishing a trusting relationship.
Keep an open mind, even when you disagree. It’s okay to disagree. It makes the conversation that much more interesting. It’s amazing what you will learn when you put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
Is participating in LinkedIn discussion groups benefiting my business? Absolutely. Because of this new approach, we’re receiving anywhere from five to 10 leads every day. That’s pretty remarkable. People see that we’re invested in our community. And because of that, they feel encouraged to reach out to us for more information. That’s powerful. Do yourself a favor and contemplate how you can make the most of the LinkedIn community.
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