Talent Acquisition

5 Ways to Unlock the Full Potential of LinkedIn Groups

Everyone knows about LinkedIn Groups, but not everyone knows just how powerful they can be.

Here are my top 5 ways you can make LinkedIn Groups do more for you, your business, and your career:

1) Be a member of 50 groups:

A lot of people are put off joining a lot of LinkedIn groups as they are worried about drowning in lots of email alerts. This does not have to be the case – you can simply turn off emails from all groups in your LinkedIn settings or adjust your settings for each group individually:

When you join a group, the people in it become a part of your LinkedIn network. LinkedIn will let you join a maximum of 50 groups. Making the most of this will greatly increase the size of your network and the number of people that you can see in your LinkedIn searches.

You don’t have to stay a member of the same 50 groups all the time, you can chop and change when you find bigger better, or more relevant groups.

2) Use LinkedIn Groups to message people for free:

Have you ever found someone you really want to get in touch with but don’t want to pay for an InMail? If you have a group in common then you can message them for free!

If you don’t share a group, see if that person is a member of any group and pick one to join. You might have to leave one of your other groups if you are using your full allocation of 50.

Once you share a group with the person you want to contact you will have to visit the group and search for them in the “Members” section. When you hover your mouse over their name, you will now see the option to send them a message.

This is a proper message, with no character limit and no restriction on sending links, unlike an invite to connect.

3) Use LinkedIn Groups to identify talent:

LinkedIn Groups can be a great way to infer things about a person’s experience, specialisms, or interests. For example, a solicitor that is a member of an HR group might be more likely to specialize in employment law, even if they don’t explicitly say so on their profile.

Once you are a member of a group it is easy to search its members simply by visiting the group’s members section or using LinkedIn’s Advanced Search feature.

It’s not always possible to join a group. For example, some group managers don’t allow recruiters to join.

If you are not a member of the group then you can still search its members. If you have a LinkedIn Recruiter license then you can easily search the members of ANY group using the filters on the left-hand side of your search results. If you have a basic LinkedIn account then it takes a little more ingenuity.

To search the members of any LinkedIn group with a basic LinkedIn account, you will need to have two windows open in your browser, both looking at LinkedIn. In the first window, run a simple search looking for the keywords you hope to find on profiles. In the second window, find the group whose members you want to search (for those keywords).

Once you have found the group you are interested in and opened it up in your browser, you need to look in your browser’s address bar at the URL of the page and find the group’s ID number. The URL is usually in the format:……

Copy (Ctrl +C) the group ID number from the URL, the number is usually 4 to 6 digits long.

Now return to the keyword search you did in the first tab. Using the filters on the left-hand side of the screen, select one of the groups you ARE a member of to filter by (it doesn’t matter which one). Now look for that group’s ID number in the URL of the sear results page – The number is often right at the far end of the URL – so click in the address bar and hit the End button on your keyboard to go straight there. Replace it with the number of the group you DO want to search.

Hit enter and voila, you have searched members of your chosen group for the keywords you need without needing to join. If you’ like a more in-depth tutorial on this, then see this explanation from the Social Talent blog.

4) Engage in LinkedIn Groups and become part of the community:

LinkedIn groups seem to fall into three categories; the dead, the spammed, and the useful. The first two categories are only really of interest to you as a way of expanding your network or sending messages.

The third category is great if you actually want to become a part of the wider community you work or recruit in. If you regularly show up and are helpful, people are more likely to help you when you need it. Being helpful might mean sharing relevant content on a regular basis or it might mean helping to answer the questions other group members are asking.

If you set yourself up as a useful member of a community (or LinkedIn group) when you need help to find a candidate or a new job, members of that group will be more likely to help you.

Do be sure to post something more personal than a simple link to a job ad, you wouldn’t want to get SWAM’d. Just openly asking for help usually works best, with no links at all.

5) Run your own LinkedIn Group:

What better way to set yourself up as a useful community member than being the person who started the group in the first place? You are then free to post whatever you like in the group without any threat of moderation, you also have the ability to send out weekly messages to group members.

Running a group isn’t easy though, it’s a big commitment and it takes a long time. You have to dedicate the time to make sure your group never falls into the “dead” category and be careful not to turn it into too much of a promotional vehicle and end up in the “spammed” camp.

RELATED: Top 10 Reasons Why Your LinkedIn Group SUCKS!

By Katharine Robinson

Katharine Robinson is an Internet talent sourcer, trainer & social media addict. She started her career in Executive Search and has also worked as part of in-house recruitment teams. Katharine now runs Sourcing Hat Ltd and is putting on the Discover Sourcing event in September 2013. For more about sourcing from Katharine, see the UK Sourcers blog.