As I have recently become more engaged in LinkedIn, I've been sort of creeping around, trying to find some groups to join and, in the process, new people to meet. I even talked with several of my colleagues, hoping to get connected with some of their savvy—and pass it on to you, too. But, I found out that, when it comes to LinkedIn groups, there is no one answer for how to or with which to best engage.
"All of the groups I follow annoy me," replied one person. Great start, right?
I also got, "I really don't have anything to share. I don't get on LinkedIn too much unless I am recruiting and I don't really read the articles either." Hmmm...
Talking about Human Resources-specific groups, our HR Manager mentioned a few of the national groups, but says she gets the best information and resources from those organizations' local chapters. For us, one of the big ones is AHRM; for you, if you're not in Michigan, it's…? Try entering SHRM plus your city or state in the LinkedIn search bar.
And, then I got this very thoughtful tidbit from my favorite onsite techie: "I don't really find a lot of value in the content of the groups—a lot of times it seems like they are only used for sales pitches. I find much more interesting articles by following companies. Some of my favorites are Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, HBR, BCG, The Economist, WSJ, Steelcase, IDEO, MSU, GVSU and of course the ‘ville and hi5 Recognition! They are a good source of current happenings in technology and trends—and, for some of them, a good international perspective that we don't always get from our usual news sources."
Finally, our Creative Manager, who has challenges that are unique to leading an in-house design team, told me that she seeks out groups that can help her work smarter within her particular parameters. For her, her peers offer a great support network and advice on best practices. InHOWse Designers —affiliated with HOW —is her group of choice.
So, even though it was not the advice I was expecting, it was all good—or at least food for thought. Here are my big takeaways:
- Unfollow what's not working. If it's irritating or uninteresting, then it's probably not what you were expecting. Don't hesitate to delete it like a dull acquaintance from high school.
- Don't forget to give more than you ask. Remember Cindy's advice? If you're just on LinkedIn for recruiting, then you're not building people's interest in you—or, in turn, in your company.
- Look in your own backyard. National groups have a purpose, but many of our challenges and opportunities are specific to our own regions. Connecting locally will also help you find events and activities happening right in your community.
- Tune in to thought leaders. Some of the biggest and most successful companies got there for a reason. Follow their advice and, at a minimum, you'll seem smarter in your next meeting!
- Find your niche. Just like The Future Basket Weavers of America, your industry has issues that matter to it and it alone. Linking up with your people will help you get spot-on, straightforward answers—quickly!
- None of the above? You can always create your own LinkedIn Group!
Allison is currently living out the elaborate fantasy she described to her now-former staff and colleagues in early 2001. With a hearty dose of courage and absolutely no plan of action, she abruptly left her middle-management job to become a writer—and today she is doing just that in her role as Baudville’s Senior Content Writer. She’s here to tell you everything she’s learned in her 20-years+ professional life, plus a lot more. She’s wordy like that!