How Joining a LinkedIn Group Helps You
When people who are familiar with other social networking tools are first exposed to LinkedIn Groups, they will see some similarities. LinkedIn Groups involve members list, discussion threads, and so on just like Yahoo! Groups or groups on most other social networking sites. And yet, being a member of a LinkedIn group has extra benefits over other networking sites:
Connections: Group members are a special sort of connection. Although you don’t have access to their extended networks for Introductions, you’re considered directly connected to them, such that you can see their full profiles, and they can appear in your search results even if you aren’t within three degrees of everyone in the group.
If you sort search results by degrees of separation from you, fellow group members appear between your first- and second-degree contacts.
Visibility: By joining several groups you can increase your visibility in the LinkedIn network without having to add thousands of contacts.
Group logos: The logos of the groups you’re in are displayed on your profile. This is a sort of visual branding, reinforcing your association with those groups without a lot of words.
Some LinkedIn Groups are extensions of existing organizations, and others are created on LinkedIn by an individual as a way to identify and network with people who share a common interest. In either case, they’re useful tools for growing your network and leveraging your existing affiliations.
Because there are lots of reasons to create a group, LinkedIn has established the following six primary categories of groups:
Alumni: As you develop your career, you can tap in to the alumni network of like-minded, qualified individuals. Loyalty to your alma mater makes you, and everyone else in the group, more likely to help a schoolmate than a complete stranger.
Corporate: Corporate groups allow employees from a single employer to stay in touch.
Conference: As conference attendees plan to attend a particular conference, using a conference group to network with attendees before, during, and after the conference can be advantageous.
Before the conference, you can relay important information, such as subject matter and agenda, and any events, lectures, seminars, parties, or other info that matters to the attendees. Perhaps there are last-minute changes or announcements that need to get disseminated quickly.
During the event, you can quickly relay announcements, as well as news being generated at the conference and any on-site changes.
After the conference, these conference groups allow attendees to stay in contact and help the conference organizers and presenters see how the subject matter and industries have changed or progressed.
Networking: Networking groups are organized around concepts like women’s networks, angel investors in new companies, or even Rotary Clubs. These LinkedIn groups allow you to stay involved in your interests and meet people with similar or complementary goals to your own.
Nonprofit: These LinkedIn groups allow far-flung volunteers to organize, plan, and execute projects and events relating to their charity without being in the same room. These groups also allow any nonprofit organizers to bring new members up to speed and answer their questions quickly so more people become involved.
Professional: Professional groups allow you to network with people in the same type of work who are probably experiencing the same issues, problems, and potential solutions as you.
Whether it’s an organization of CFOs, workers in the wireless industry, or SAP Certified Consultants, these groups can be invaluable when it comes to furthering your career and giving you an avenue to evaluate job tips and industry news.