You most likely belong to several LinkedIn groups—alumni groups, professional societies, bands of colleagues local to you. But are you actively using this opportunity to make connections that can further your industry and career? Here are the crucial pointers to getting the most out of LinkedIn’s online cocktail mixer:
› Focus on the right groups. With thousands to choose from, it is more effective to be active on a few groups than a member of hundreds. Pick two to three groups with a membership that can offer you learning and mentorship, and two to three whose members are potential customers.
› Contribute to the conversation. Too many people just “lurk” in a group, while others constantly post self-promotional links every chance they get. The right path lies between those extremes. Ask thought-provoking questions, especially regarding common problems in your industry. And then regularly contribute well-thought-out and helpful responses.
› Take the relationship outside of the group. While some groups have rules against soliciting to members, you can expand the relationship in other ways. Send one of your connections a link to an article that relates to her recent post. Offer to meet up at a conference you are both attending. Comment on a blog post. Or even just send a compliment about her ideas or website.