A few weeks ago I started a LinkedIn group for the Pacific Executive Network (PEN) and immediately realized that Yahoo! and others offer superior group sites with greater functionality. Having said that, LinkedIn groups offer some unique benefits that I believe many of us should be taking advantage of but probably are not. Here are the top three followed by instructions.
1. Job Postings—A good job lead is a terrible thing to waste. Rather than post job leads as discussions on your LinkedIn groups (a common mistake) or send them out as an email, post them in the appropriate Jobs tab from your LinkedIn groups.
How to do it: At the top of your LinkedIn group page you’ll see seven different tabs, starting with “Overview.” The fourth tab is Jobs. Click there and you’ll see a list of all jobs posted by fellow group members. On the right column you’ll see several options that allow you to filter job postings by Recent Activity, Most Comments and My Followed Jobs. At the top of that list is a link to Post a job. Follow the instructions from there. Trust me, your fellow members will appreciate it.
2. Search Group—This feature is often underutilized but it can be a very powerful filter. It is useful for identifying fellow members that may:
- have connections at one of your target companies;
- be a great fit for a job lead that you have to offer;
- want to connect with you because they work in a related field;
- be a potential customer, partner or employee.
How to do it: When you click the Members tab at the top of your group’s page you’ll see a comprehensive list of group members. Towards the top, on the right column of that page you’ll see the “Search Group” field box. You can type in the names of people, companies and industry topics, as well as any relevant keywords that help narrow down your search.
3. Article Postings—Many of the interesting articles that you read online relate to all of us executives—both working and in transition. Why not share those articles with your LinkedIn groups and create an additional impression with fellow members.
How to do it: Many publications online (including The New York Times) allow you to post articles directly to your LinkedIn groups. Simply look for the social bookmark icons near the “email this to a friend” link. If you use other social bookmarking services like Digg you already know where these reside. If you don’t, look for the LinkedIn or “ShareThis” icons (usually towards the top or bottom of the page you want to share). When you click on the icon a small window pops up that lets you easily post the article to one of your LinkedIn groups. You can repeat this process if you’d like to share the article with more than one group. If you don’t see the icons, you can also click on the News tab at the top of your groups page and insert the article manually.
Utilizing these functions is vital to accelerating your networking activities on LinkedIn. Each one gives you an opportunity to contribute, keep your name top of mind and make an impression with fellow networkers and group members. You’ll be surprised to see how many opportunities can shake out simply by participating.