LinkedIn and Facebook groups represent a gold mine of prospects and potential clients for your business. But most people abuse them, try and fail miserably, and give up thinking that it’s just a huge waste of time. In my keynote presentations on leveraging the power of social media, I share the analogy that all social media websites are really just databases.
Think about it. In its simplest form Facebook is a database of personal profiles, pages, and groups. LinkedIn is a database of personal and company profiles and groups. YouTube is a database of videos and channels. You get the point. With a database, you have a contact record and you can search and interact with the data.
So, for those that are wanting to connect, engage, and influence you need to share relevant content following that medium’s etiquette, most importantly where your target market congregates.
Engagement is Most Present in LinkedIn and Facebook Groups
As social media algorithms change, more and more newsfeed attention is being paid to engagement and that engagement is most present in LinkedIn and Facebook groups. If you aren’t currently an active member of any industry-related groups, you’re quickly getting left in the dust. Of course, I don’t want you to just join groups. I want to help you master the power of LinkedIn and Facebook groups. While there are some technical differences between the two, this article can easily be applied to both platforms.
Here are 5 strategies to maximize your group participation to result in business growth.
1. Choose Your Groups Wisely
You should already have a clear avatar (fancy name for customer profile) and have identified what their biggest challenges and strongest desires are that you can help them solve. Find groups where that avatar would hang out. For example, if you specialize in healthy living, connect with groups that focus on exercising and eating well. If your area is entrepreneurship, search for communities that focus on small business owners and solopreneurs. Rather than join a hundred groups you might like, do a little research and pick fewer groups whose members you’d love to build a deeper connection with. Don’t waste time in spammy, unhealthy groups.
2. Be Genuinely Generous
You want to be known for being the one who is always willing to answer a group member’s question, whether that person is a complete newbie with a basic question or an experienced professional who just needs a peer’s opinion. The more of yourself you give out as free snacks, the more people will want to pay for the entree of knowledge you have to offer, whether that be in services or products. Don’t push your services, just make it easy for people to know what you’re about. If the free, non-self-promotion information you’re offering is valuable enough, they’ll be craving to know more about you and your business. Which brings us to our next point…
3. Complete Your Profile
When someone likes something you’ve posted on a group wall or a reply you’ve given as a comment, they’ll be curious about who you are and what business you’re in. Their first instinct is to click on your name, which will bring them to your personal profile. They’ll see your profile picture and your header image. Make sure your images are professional, branded, and even tied to your latest promotion. Visitors will also see your “About” section. Ensure that you’ve completed it to display a description and link to your website under “Work.” A crucial step is filling in your “Websites and Social Links.” Here you can encourage curious viewers to visit your site and follow you across your social media channels.
4. Engage Professionally
When someone asks you a question in a group or responds to one of yours, don’t leave them hanging. Even if it’s a simple, “Great!” or “Thank you!” by replying politely and professionally you are demonstrating that you’re responsive and accessible. However, don’t waste time and burn bridges by getting caught up in arguments with trolls. You’ll never win them over and you might lose the respect of other group members in the crossfire.
5. Participate Actively
It doesn’t do you any good to join a group and then never post on the wall or respond in a comment. In order to get real value out of a group, you have to put real value in. Sure you can stalk the wall and read the comments, but you won’t build connections and gain followers that way. Be an active member of the group by regularly posting questions, sharing resources, and responding to others’ questions, advice, and wins.
Resources: Here are a few more links that go into more detail about groups: Facebook Group Basics and Getting Started with LinkedIn Groups.
So what are you waiting for? First, share this article with your marketing and sales teams. Share it with your social media followers. Then, print it out and use it as a guide when interacting in groups. Have additional insights or questions? Let me know me in the comments below. I’d love to hear what you think.