Have you been using LinkedIn Groups lately?
They're virtually untapped, pre-targeted markets that are just ripe with prospects for your business.
Imagine joining conversations with people that are already interested in a particular topic and are in the group to mainly network and problem-solve.
Engaging LinkedIn Groups is an essential part of growth hacking because they bring in additional markets and provide an avenue to increase your brand awareness.
But, they're not exactly magic.
There's still a lot of best practices that you need to keep in mind to optimize your networking efforts and make the most out of your engagement.
Let's dive in.
LinkedIn Groups are a goldmine of pretargeted leads.
Think about it. You don't have to go around trying to compile a list of likeminded individuals that you have to individually segment.
There are groups that cover everything.
Just pick out a subject matter and check if a group caters to it. (And, if it doesn't you can even start your own group!
Here's another plus factor.
Everyone in a LinkedIn Group is there to connect, engage and learn more from each other.
So, this means it's already ripe for networking opportunties.
Groups are also a great platform to promote yourself as a thought leader through careful reputation management.
Remember, every time you engage with someone on a group, it's not just the person who sees your post or comments, other people see it, too.
You can easily build your reputation over time and turn your group attendance into a passive lead generation machine on your profile.
Groups can be used by brands to cater to their customer's questions, build a community, help and support each other, and nurture leads through the pipeline.
If you're looking for a place to talk to people who speak "your language" there's definitely a group for that.
Oh, and did we mention that it's also a good place to look for new team members?
Leveraging groups is all about your reputation management.
Here are a couple of best practices to properly network with a LinkedIn group.
Asking questions helps in three ways:
However, be warned.
People on LinkedIn are smart.
You don't want to engage in blatant self-promotion, ask questions that aren't relevant, or worse, ask ones that sound scripted.
Make sure you join groups that you have a clear interest for. This way, answering other people's questions becomes easier.
Aim to answer questions as clearly and concisely as possible. You don't want to wrap up the entire potential for engagement by writing an essay.
While you're at it, try to mention other people in the thread. People like it when their mentioned, it also builds you up as someone who's open enough to engage with other people.
Think of it as sharing the credit.
Not only do you enhance your own reputation but you get to build rapport with strangers at the same time.
Sometimes people don't want the answers, but instead are looking for opinions on certain matters.
This is the reason why forums such as Reddit and Quora have gained a lot of momentum in the digital world.
Giving people your own personal opinion makes you more relatable with your posts or comments. It gives people something that they can resonate with.
But, be careful.
If the opinion is too personal or if it involves something people feel too strongly about, make sure you temper your emotions.
When in doubt, use your professional opinion.
No, we don't mean links to your website.
That's unless, you really, really, have to.
When we say share links, share links to other content that could spark the interest of other people in the group.
Promoting links to your site or your content is great on your own profile, but on groups, it could come off as self-promotion and that's frequently frowned upon. On the positive side, if you share other people's links you come off as someone who's in the group to help instead of "be helped."
Links and articles are a great way to get the conversation going, you can ask for people's opinions or even share something that's relatable to the group.
Passive lead generation and leveraging your reputation to gain passive leads is great, but the meat is in directly communicating with people.
Your goal is simple.
Take the conversation somewhere else.
Say, you've actively engaged with someone and they look they could need some more help or would be a perfect lead.
Then, it's probably time to connect with that person directly on LinkedIn and send them a quick message.
But, here's what.
You don't want to start selling to them immediately.
It has to be kept as organic as possible.
Chat with them and continue the conversation on LinkedIn's messaging platform, then slowly bring them in.
Don't attempt to convert everyone you talk to a client. Sometimes the next person you connect with could become a friend, a partner, or even a part of your team.
You also don't want to come off as an overzealous salesperson.
Do you like pushy salesmen?
Of course not.
Neither do the people on LinkedIn and the groups you're in.
You want to avoid self-promotion or actively touting your brand when you engage with other people. It comes off as pushy, sneaky, and ingenuine.
Here's a general rule: don't mention your brand or company, unless you absolutely have to.
Think about it.
If people love the stuff you're saying, won't they visit your profile and check out who you represent?
Growth hackers can also opt to grab all of the group members details and send them personal messages.
However, we personally do not like this approach because it doesn't allow you to personalize your outreach.
You want to be able to customize the message you send out to anyone. It's relatable and resonates well with the people that you are targeting.
Plus, who likes receiving a generalized message?
Not only does it seem spammy, but you also run the risk of getting kicked out of the LinkedIn group that you're in.
If you do want to go ahead and scrape a list of members of the group with some of their, for let's say: list building in the future. You could use an app like Phantombuster to help you.
Phantombuster is basically automation software that allows you to run a bunch of scripts on your LinkedIn account.
All you have to do is to create an account on their platform and search for the LinkedIn Group Members phantom. (They've got other great automation as well on other platforms.)
Note: Make sure you download their Chrome extension first so that the platform can easily retrieve your session cookies.
Once you've got that sorted out, look for the Phantom called "LinkedIn Group Members". Click on "Use this Phantom".
This will take you to a new page where you can connect the platform to your LinkedIn account - provided that you've downloaded their extension beforehand. Hit "Save".
Place in the URL of the LinkedIn group, you can also put in the URL of a spreadsheet on Google Drive.
You can go ahead and customize the behavior of the tool. Remember, this tool can only work on 2,500 members of the group. You won't be able to grab everyone.
LinkedIn is also adamant at blocking out bots, so be careful.
Finish up with your launch settings.
Once you click on "Save", it will take you to a new window where you can just simply hit "Launch" for the phantom to work.
Once it's done, you'll get a CSV file with all your results.
This sheet will have some basic details about the profiles.
Again, we don't condone this method, but it's here if you want to take a look.
The platform also has options for you to add everyone on a LinkedIn group and send them a quick message at the same time.
Once you click on the phantom, you will need to connect Phantombuster to LinkedIn so it can grab your session cookie.
Next up is uploading the list of profile URLs you want to invite.
Then you will be taken to the next step which is your message.
Get a custom message in here and there are even options for you to automate the custom fields.
Again, you have another behavior screen, this will allow you to tweak the way Phantombuster interacts with the LinkedIn profiles.
Now, we're all familiar with email discovery services and the platform has some of the more popular tools integrated within itself.
They use Dropcontact, Hunter.io and Snov.io. However, it will come at an additional cost.
Tweak your last settings, and save.
It will take you back to the same screen we showed you earlier.
Now all you have to do is click "Launch", give it some time, and you'll have sent your network requests and custom messages!
As we mentioned earlier, BAMF doesn't really condone scraping. There are however a number of tools you can use by simply taking advantage of the full names of your contacts, or - if you use Phantombuster - their Linked profile URLs.
You will find an option in their featured phantoms on the platform.
LinkedIn also offers you the chance to create your own group so that you have control over the conversation.
There are plenty of reasons to consider making your own LinkedIn group.
The list goes on.
Log into the platform and click on the "Work" icon, once you're done, click on "Groups."
Alternatively, you can access LinkedIn Groups via this link. This will take you to a new page.
This will take you to a window to create a group.
Go ahead and change out your group profile picture and header image. The profile picture can be your logo, something that reflect the nature of the group, or even an acronym.
Make it fun, but keep it professional, remember it's the first photo they'll see on LinkedIn search.
As per your header image, they'll see this once they click on your group's profile. Here are a couple of ways to go about this:
However, since this is a valuable piece of visual real estate - it's the first thing they see when they decide to click on your group - you want to make sure it converts.
You can go for a hybrid approach where you include a call-to-action and some marketing copy.
Here's an article on how to create a great LinkedIn header image that converts.
Keep the group description short.
You don't want to put off a potential member with something long-winded. Include a short sentence that summarizes everything the group stands for.
Add your industry (you can stick in three), the location, and of course, ground rules for the group.
Now, make sure you choose "Listed" for your group discoverabality, you want to appear on LinkedIn search to maximize your visibility.
Pick the option to "Allow members to invite their connections," you might still have to approve requests manually, but it allows you to grow you group faster.
Now, all that's left is to hit create, and boom, you've got a group of your own.
Growing a LinkedIn group follow the same logic as growing a LInkedIn profile.
You want to fully optimize and make sure that you're active.
Here are a couple of tips to start growing your own group:
Groups are great places to exchange information, represent your brand, and network with people.
This is the reason they're popular from Facebook to LinkedIn.
There are various ways to leverage your presence in groups and, if you manage one, you can use it to create passive lead generation, nurture leads, and network.
LinkedIn thrives because of networking.
You want to take advantage of every avenue that allows you to network with other people.
You can't grow if you don't connect with people.
So, should you be spending time in LinkedIn Groups?
In fact, you have should have started ages ago.