On Linkedin you will notice another section called Groups. Although quite similar to the Answers section on linkedin, at least in concept, they function in a different way by creating more of a community with a specialised subject or sector with which you can interact and establish a presence. The groups button is on the left column when you login to Linkedin.
Once you enter the groups page you will be present with something resembling the page below, but at this stage it may be empty or devoid of any groups (most likely).
Across the top of the page you will see four options.
Your index of the section displaying all the groups you are currently associated with.
A page displaying a record of any discussions created or responses made you have made within your groups.
Linkedin Groups Directory
A searchable database of groups already in existence within Linkedin. This is the place to start upon entering Linkedin for the first time to establish the selection of groups that interest you and apply for permission to join.
Begin by searching for groups with titles associated with your industry (for example) and take your time. There is no need to rush into joining groups straight away (although you can leave a group any time you wish). Browse and search different words to see what groups are available. Alternatively you can use Linkedin Answers and ask what groups other established users would recommend for you in your field, saving you a lot of searching.
Groups are managed by the creators who choose to authorise access to their particular group so upon requesting permission to be accepted you will have to wait until moderation has been completed and you will receive an email informing you if permission has been accepted or denied.
When you select a group you are presented with a brief description of the groups theme and on the right side some basic information regarding the date of creation, group type and current number of members associated with the group.
Clicking the “Join Group” button starts the process of application to that particular group. If you should be denied access to a group you can see who the administrator or managers of a group are and approach them directly about gaining access although this needs to be approached with care. Simple emails requesting details or requirements to join the group are not frowned upon but making self righteous demands wont win you any favours.
Underneath the group summary you can also see who is involved in this particular group and is also a member of your network, either as primary contacts (“1st” symbol beside their name) or secondary contacts (“2nd” symbol beside their names – this means that they are not directly in your network but are linked to someone in your network putting them 2 “links” away).
Once you have chosen what groups to be involved in, have a review of the discussions currently listed and get involved. Simple as that.
Create a Linkedin Group
Once your more comfortable in the functions of the Linkedin Groups, you may decide that none of the groups specifically cover the area you wish to address. If this is so then its time to consider creating your own group to meet this gap and build your own community. Lets see how to go about creating a Linkedin group.
Again, the creation of your group is a pretty simple and straight forward process. The only part that needs some sort of skill would be the addition of your logo or brand name in the first part, though this isn’t a show stopper, unless your handy with a graphics tool and familiar with image creation or resizing you might want to get a designer to prepare the files for you. There is nothing worse than a distorted logo representing your group or for that matter your website/company/yourself, pick one or any. (its a pet hate of mine to see crappy logos).
After addressing this its a matter of naming, creating a type, adding the summary and description and linking it to your site finally sorting out your contact details and geographic location and language.
That’s it, your good to go and its time to start adding quality professionals to your group by inviting or notifing possible interested parties to its existance. You could also add a link or page to your group on your website or blog if the group is “public” and you want to expand and increase awareness and membership.