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How To Find LinkedIn Groups With Targeted Prospects

how to find linkedinDo you use LinkedIn groups to find ideal prospects for your business?

LinkedIn groups are one of my essential tools for driving leads. As you might have noticed, not all LinkedIn groups are created equally and it can be difficult to find the good ones. Once you do find a great set of LinkedIn groups, you likely won’t ever have to leave them.

A mistake I see many people make is they join all of their industry specific groups. This is not where you will find your ideal clients, rather they will be full of your peers and competitors.

Once you have found the right groups you can focus on what really matters: engagement. With that said, let’s discuss a few simple ways to find great LinkedIn groups that are very likely to have lots of prospects in your target market.

1. Use Simple Keywords When Searching For LinkedIn Groups

Do you ever notice how Google seems to be reading your mind as it consistently delivers exactly what you’re looking for on the first page? Let’s just say that LinkedIn’s search algorithm is no Google.

To be fair, this has more to do with group owners not properly optimizing their group name and description to be found than it does with LinkedIn’s search algorithm. The point is that you really have to bring it down to the basics to find great groups and it can involve spending some time combing through results.

The process is slightly different if you are a local vs. non-local business:

For Locally-Based Businesses

Start by simply typing in your city name into LinkedIn searchScreen Shot 2014-09-02 at 1.38.31 PM

Click “Groups” in the left side column after on the search results page to only show Groups in your results. Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 1.39.51 PM

Now you can start narrowing down your search by adding a second keyword that’s relevant to your target market. If you’re networking with business owners, sometimes it’s as simple as adding the word “business” or “entrepreneurs” and experimenting with the plural and singular versions of each.Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 1.43.45 PM

For Non-Local or Web-Based Businesses

You need to get a bit craftier with the groups you select as a non-local business. Obviously you can simply search keywords relevant to your target audience (perhaps including a country in the search if the results become to broad). Aside from that, there is one very helpful tip for finding unique LinkedIn groups.

Once you’ve found a “perfect prospect”, look at the groups they are a member of. This is where I have found the absolute best groups that I simply never would have thought of on my own. When you identify someone that seems like a perfect prospect, look at their profile and see which groups they have joined.Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 1.48.12 PM

2. Use Group Statistics To Look Under The Hood

I’m really excited to share this tip because most people I talk to have no idea that they are able to do this. You can actually get a quick glance at the important stats and demographic insights into each group before you waste any time in it.

Go to any group and click the “i” next to the “Join” button. You do not have to join the group to do this.Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 12.38.58 PM

Click “Group Statistics” after the extended menu drops down.Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 4.43.45 PM

You’ll see a summary breakdown showing the number of group members, most common job function, amount of comments in the previous week and more.Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 1.14.50 PM

3. Define What A “Good” LinkedIn Group Is

We’ve talked about finding groups now let’s discuss how you can determine what makes for an objectively “good” LinkedIn group.

1. There is regular discussion going on. The bar is different for local vs. non-local groups, specifically local groups will tend to have lower quantity of discussion since it tends to be more niche or smaller in size. Don’t discount that as low quality. If the group is non-local, it makes sense to have higher expectations for discussion quantity.

2. The quality of discussions is good. Are the discussions in the group spammy and unmoderated or is it full of interesting conversations and useful content?

3. The group is moderated…but not too moderated. Are the group admins ruling with an iron fist and primarily allowing their content to dominate? The best groups serve the interests of the many, not the few. If a group has thousands of people in it, only 3 comments a week and all the topics are serving the admins, that group will almost certainly end up being a waste of time.Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 1.11.08 PM

4. The most popular job function in the group is your target market. For example, you want to see “Entrepreneurship” as the main function in the group statistics if you’re targeting business owners. Although it’s not necessarily a deal breaker if you don’t see it, it’s a strong indication of a quality group when you do.Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 1.28.18 PM

5. (LOCAL ONLY) The most popular location is your area. If you’re a locally based business, it’s helpful if the groups you are connecting with actually contain people from your area. Thankfully, there is a way to check this via group statistics.Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 1.27.22 PM

4. Don’t Network With Your Industry

People make this mistake commonly in real life so it’s no surprise that it happens a lot online as well. Sure, you might want to choose 1 or 2 key industry groups to “stay in the loop” but that’s where you should draw the line. You need to think about the groups that are most relevant to your target market.

For example, a financial advisor might think it’s a great idea to network in groups with other financial advisors, but that’s not where you will find your target market.

Instead, a financial advisor should focus on connecting with professionals that make up their ideal clients. If the advisor is locally based, I would start by looking for general business-related groups that are based in your area.

5. Leave An Impression On Group Members By Providing Value

You need two more skills to master the art of converting prospects via LinkedIn groups: the ability to create content that serves a specific audience and the ability to move a conversation from comments to phone or face-to-face.

For that I have two of the perfect resources to continue your education:

  • How To Become A Top Contributor In Any LinkedIn Group. I breakdown my systematic process for becoming a top contributor for my best groups on a regular basis. This is KEY to making the best use of LinkedIn groups!
  • The Guide To Networking On LinkedIn For Business. Are you socially awkward online? You know that you can’t move a conversation from the comments to the phone without some extra steps in the middle but you might not know what they are. If that sounds like you, this is the article you want to read.

What do you love most about LinkedIn groups and how are you using them to forward your business? Let me know in the comments below.