linkedinDid you know that LinkedIn can help you discover the circle of potential clients and referral partners that work best for your business? By now, you’ve probably heard of LinkedIn’s Groups feature, which has been around for quite a while. However, with so many Groups out there to join – and you have the ability to join up to 50 of them – it can be challenging to know which are the most ideal.

First, why would you want to join more Groups?
Having a LinkedIn profile is smart, especially if it’s completed as much as possible. Chances are, you also have some connections you’ve made from past client associations and co-workers in different stops along the way in your career. But let’s say you make a post of some kind today on LinkedIn. How many people will be able to see it? Primarily we’re talking about people in your network that you’re already connected to (although if you choose to publish a full post, some people outside of your network can see it). By joining other Groups, you’re opening up new possibilities to connect and be seen.

Now let’s find the most relevant Groups for you.
Most people on LinkedIn use the search bar at the top of LinkedIn’s website. Can that work for helping you find certain Groups that are relevant to you by industry or geography or other criteria? Sure. But you still might be missing out on joining a valuable LinkedIn Group if you type in certain phrases but not others.

So here’s where the little-known “Discover” feature on LinkedIn can come in handy: 

  1. At the top of your home page, move your cursor over the phrase “Interests.”
  2. You’ll see a drop-down menu appear, where you will want to select “Groups.”
  3. On the left side of the page, click on the word “Discover.”
  4. You’ll now see a list of recommended Groups for you to join!

LinkedIn has just saved you a lot of time in searching. You can select the Group you want to “Ask to Join” or say you’re “Not Interested.” Best of all, what’s very useful is that LinkedIn will show you how many of your connections are in that Group. So if there are a solid number of people you regularly interact with or have done business with in a certain Group, that might be one you should strongly consider joining if you’re allowed to. Obviously not every Group will be a fit, but knowing where your connections are grouped together most often is going to be a great way to potentially connect with others who have similarities based on interests, industries, schools and more.

“What if LinkedIn can’t find any Groups for me?”
Don’t despair. It does happen from time to time. In most cases, the culprit here is that you haven’t filled out enough information on your LinkedIn profile. Go back and double check – have you put in everywhere you’ve worked, schools and more? Fill it out from top to bottom because the more information you can give LinkedIn via your profile, the better your chances of it picking up on that information to connect you with the best Groups.

Don’t be “that person” on LinkedIn
One more note – some people, once they join a Group, see it as an opportunity to do nothing but talk about their own business in the way of specials and discounts. These don’t offer a lot of value and typically will be a big turn-off to others (some extreme offenders can even get barred for violating guidelines of the Group, so be careful). Instead, consider diving into an existing conversation or posing a question for others to answer. Enjoy the discussion aspect of the Group and getting to know others before going into “sell mode.” It’s a more natural way to open doors in a way that could lead you to your next referral opportunity.