social media how toDoes your business need more leads?

Are you participating in LinkedIn groups?

LinkedIn groups are the easiest way to generate leads.

In this article, you’ll discover how to maximize LinkedIn group networking to highlight your value and find and connect with important prospects.

Why LinkedIn Groups?

Since it launched back in 2003, LinkedIn has undergone a remarkable transformation. What started as a basic “careers” website with 4500 users is now a global B2B lead generation and networking phenomenon with almost 300 million members.

linkedin groups feature

LinkedIn Groups is a valuable part of LinkedIn’s product features.

LinkedIn is an indispensible social network when it comes to doing business online. It accounts for 64% of all corporate website traffic that comes via social media channels.

Think about that for a minute: 64% of ALL of the traffic coming to your corporate or business website via social media channels is coming from LinkedIn!

So how can you make the most of the fertile marketing ground that is LinkedIn? The fastest and easiest way is to join a few of LinkedIn’s 2.1 million professional groups.

When you join a LinkedIn group, you have the wide-open opportunity to find, engage and do business with your ideal prospects. You can offer your expertise to solve problems or create conversations that encourage others to do the same.

Use these three lead generation tips to make the most of your time on the world’s most powerful business-themed social network. The relationships you build within LinkedIn groups can be invaluable now and later.

#1: Use Search Filters to Find Leads

LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 groups. I suggest joining as many as you can for your particular niche or industry. A great perk of being in groups is that you can filter the membership list to find influencers and prospects based on different criteria.

After you’ve joined a group, go to its Members page. See that list of group members? You can run a filtered search and instantly create a list of ready-made prospects based on specific job titles, company names, physical locations or any other criteria you want to sort by.

filtered group member search

Filtered searches help you find the right people to connect with.

Use your new list to put together an ongoing LinkedIn campaign to find and connect with influencers, prospects and customers.

#2: Personalize Every Invitation to Connect

Once you’ve built your list of ideal prospects inside a group, it’s time to engage!

One of the biggest mistakes I still see people making on LinkedIn is not taking the time to send a personalized invitation.

Relying on the generic “I’d like to add you to my professional network” message isn’t just lazy and ineffective, it can get you blocked or flagged as a spammer which restricts your ability to send invites in the future.

An effective LinkedIn invitation is personalized and clear. Start out with a personal sentence or two, and then explain why you want to connect, how you found the person and the value you bring to the person as a connection.

Here’s what I like to do. When I find someone I want to connect with, I open his or her profile in a new tab and scan it for something personal to mention in my invitation. Where did they go to college? Where do they live? Do they have any hobbies or volunteer organizations or causes listed?

group member interest details

Find outside interests and mention them when you send an invitation.

When I send an invitation, I love mentioning something not related to work. People aren’t expecting it, so my invite stands out because it’s different.

By asking someone about their hobbies, passions and interests outside of work, I’m building a relationship and context around something important to them. Not only does that help me continue to stand out, it paves the way for future messages.

#3: Reverse-Engineer Your Content

Another great way to generate leads via LinkedIn groups is by sharing valuable content that demonstrates your expertise and insight on a particular product or service.

video marketing group post

This post demonstrates expertise by highlighting the exceptional work of others.

A mistake some people make is joining groups, and then taking the spray-and-pray approach. Their interactions and contributions are only sales-related. A more effective approach is reverse engineering.

For example, let’s say you want to sell video marketing services to small business owners and you’ve joined several LinkedIn groups where they hang out. Instead of coming in with the hard sell, write and share a post on a topic of interest to them that highlights your expertise.

In this case, you could write an article explaining how video marketing helps small businesses create trust. Use a compelling title, cite case studies that illustrate your point and end with a call to action encouraging others to share links to their own video marketing clips in the comments—then share one of your own to get the ball rolling.

That type of post does two important things. First, it positions you as an expert on the topic—someone people will want to follow and pay attention to as a trusted resource.

Second, it drums up business. When a group member reads your post and sees your work, they may think, “This guy makes a good point and knows his stuff. Plus, I loved his example in the comments. I wonder what I can do to work with him?”

Another option is to start your post with an open-ended question: “Does your small business use video in its marketing efforts? Why or why not?”

open question post on linkedin

This post encourages others to share their thoughts and opinions by asking a simple question.

Your post still shares the value mentioned above, but the approach is softer and may entice people to respond and engage with your direct question.

A third option is to look for opportunities to share your wisdom. When another member posts, respond with an insightful comment. This is an effective way to find and engage with people who are looking for the product, service or expertise you have to offer.

Final Thoughts

LinkedIn offers you a treasure trove of personal and professional information about your ideal prospects. Take advantage of it! Use it to personalize your connection and engagement with potential buyers.

Leverage your knowledge, approach and personality in all of your LinkedIn interactions. Remember, the only thing that truly separates you from everyone else who offers similar services or products is YOU!

What do you think? How are you using LinkedIn groups to generate leads? Do you have other tactics or advice to share? Leave us a comment below.

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  • Xavier Major

    Linkedin will be a force for those who begin to leverage it for B2B. It is only a matter of time before tons of business rely on Linkedin for B2B lead generation and to drive traffic. Any body else have thoughts on what’s next for Linkedin?

  • Love #2 John “personalize every invitation to connect.” In my post, “How I Made LinkedIn Infinitely More Useful” I say, “free marketing exists in its most free state: email, which is far more than a free message with free postage. Email is the most valuable of all applications. To cash in on LinkedIn, you must be in close touch with your connections.”

  • Pingback: LinkedIn: 3 Ways to Generate Leads and 12 Resources to Improve Your Profile | Welcome to Produmark!()

  • Great question, Xavier! In short, what’s next for LinkedIn is this – publishing and content marketing!

    I recently nerded out on Netflix and watched an entire documentary on LinkedIn. The most interesting thing one of the head honchos at LinkedIn said was this: “We want LinkedIn to be the place where people are creating and delivering the content you want to do your job today.”

    Did you catch that line about “creating content?”

    With nearly 300 million users worldwide and growing at a clip of 2 new members every second, LinkedIn is obviously betting big on content marketing becoming an even more integral part of its user experience. By essentially giving all of us our own on-site blogging platform, the sky’s now the limit in terms of creating ready-made, platform-friendly content that can spread rapidly across the world’s largest social media network for professionals.

    That’s where it’s going to be HUGE for all of us on LinkedIn moving forward – creating and distributing useful, valuable and actionable content that demonstrates our authority, credibility and value to our network of connections and beyond.

  • Thanks Patrick! I agree with you that email marketing is HUGE – building a list and then understanding the right way to leverage it can really grow your business.

    Also I can’t overemphasize how important it is to PERSONALIZE every interaction on LinkedIn. It makes such a HUGE difference!

  • John Moneypenny

    Great info, John! Excellent idea to use the “soft” approach. Any individual or company can use the “Does your small business ____________? Why or why not?” open-ended question to gain valuable feedback from their target audience. Good stuff. 🙂

  • Thanks so much John!

  • Dannon King

    I agree with personalizing each message but I find it difficult when I only have so many “characters” to use. I don’t have the freedom to start off with two sentences. I am Premium Member but even that allows me only 3 InMails per month. So my question to you John, when you say “message” are you referring to sending a “connection request” or sending an “InMail”?

  • Thank you for this well written article, John. I agree on making interactions personal. Taking that extra step to give a little more and make your interactions personal shows initiative and a desire to get to know your contacts. You may not need to go an whole extra mile, but those few steps will generate potential for leaps and bounds!

  • Great question, Dannon. Yes I’m talking about connection requests you send. Instead of sending the “I’d like to add you to my professional network” generic invite, I love using something more personal AND finding a way to fit it into the limitations LinkedIn gives me. Here’s an example:

    Say I want to connect with and sell marketing services to Joe, a debt collection agency executive living in Green Bay, Wisconsin. I found him on LinkedIn, and now I want to connect. Just looking at where he lives, I know this: Pretty much everyone who lives in Wisconsin worships the state’s professional football team, the Green Bay Packers.

    (Just writing that last sentence makes me want to puke. I
    live in Minnesota and hate the Packers. Our state’s professional football team, the Minnesota Vikings, are bitter rivals with the Packers, and the only thing I like better than seeing
    the Vikings win is seeing the Packers lose! LOL.)

    Anyway, tapping into my passion for sports, I’m going to personalize “Joe’s” invite based on the fact that he lives in the belly of the beast – Green Bay!

    Here’s an example of a personalized invite:

    “Joe – Against my better professional judgment, I’m going to
    reach out even though I suspect you’re likely a Packers fan! On the non-NFL front, I’d love to connect + invite you to my new LinkedIn Group on Debt Collection Agency Marketing Tips. I think you’d find the posts/discussions valuable to helping grow your agency, and I know our members would benefit from your insight and input as well. Thanks! – John Nemo”

    See what I did there? Sure, I don’t really know if Joe is a huge Packers fan, but I guarantee you that living in Green Bay means he has an opinion – one way or another – on the Packers. I’ve immediately made my invite stand out from all the others he gets,
    and tweaked his curiosity to think, “Who the heck is this guy?” I promise you that Joe is going to go look at my profile right
    away to figure out what my deal is. And once he lands there, he’ll see how I’m all about helping debt collection agencies like his add more revenue and grow their business through the marketing services I offer.

    Not only is he likely to accept my invite, but he’s also
    very likely to join my LinkedIn Group as well. In the span of a few seconds, I’ve just moved Joe halfway down my LinkedIn sales funnel! He went from stranger to connection to member of my LinkedIn Group, where he’ll see me repeatedly sharing valuable content and insights that ensure I’m somebody he
    wants to pay attention to.

    Does that make sense? I like to have an invite that offers YOU value and basically says, “Here’s what’s in it for YOU if we connect. I’m going to invite you to my Group on XYZ that has tips on helping you solve your top problems/issues at work.”

    That, plus personalizing the invite, goes a long way in my experience!

    As for InMails, I rarely – if ever – use them. They too often come across to me as “cold call” type approaches and aren’t received well. I’d much rather find someone in a Group, connect that way, and then just send them a regular LinkedIn message for free.

    Hope that helps!

  • Heather you are exactly right! As Dale Carnegie said, “Your customer doesn’t care about you. They care about themselves – Morning, Noon and Dinner!” If you make your invite personal and about what THEY love, it goes over way better than you just wanting to “take” something by connecting with them and not explaining why!

    For example, if you see my LinkedIn profile and reach out to connect, you’ll notice I live in Minnesota. If you take 5 seconds and go, “What do I know about Minnesota? Okay, cold. Snow. Oh yeah, nuts about ice hockey” you now have the basis for a personal invite!

    You send me a LinkedIn invite that says, “Hey John, would love to connect, and by the way, how do you still have snow on the ground in Minnesota? Hope it’s warming up for you guys!”

    If you do that, you’ve separated yourself from 99.9 percent of the invites I get AND you’ve personalized it in a way that makes me feel like, “Oh, she actually knows a little bit about me and is interested in me.”

    I’m much more likely to respond as a result and engage with you! Even just a simple move like that can go a long way! 🙂

  • Tulika

    Thanks John! for sharing your views. Truly speaking i have been a frequent user of first two shared points and that has helped me in lead generation. Would be using this concept as well : Reverse-Engineer your Content . But somehow i get irritated sometimes with the limit which Linkedin has put on the number of adding connections and number of groups with which you can get connected

    May be you can help me in this?

  • Hi Tulika – Good questions!

    I’ve heard LinkedIn limits you to 3,000 invites that you an send out by yourself, and beyond that you can ask LinkedIn for more. (However I don’t think there’s a limit on the number of inbound invites you can accept.) Also sometimes if you have tried to connect with people who say “I don’t know Tulika” or “This is Spam” sometimes that can flag your account and limit your ability to send invites too. You might want to check with LinkedIn Help about the issue.

    Also I know LinkedIn limits you to 50 Groups that you can join and in addition to that I believe you can create up to 10 Groups on your own that you can operate and run.

    For me that’s more than enough content to try and keep up with!

    Also my belief is that LinkedIn Groups are best used for finding, connecting and engaging with ideal prospects, and also answering questions and demonstrating your knowledge/expertise through comments and such.

    It’s getting harder and harder to share inside LinkedIn Groups any type of content that links to an outside source (your website or blog, for example) as those posts often get flagged for moderation or deleted since Group moderators want to keep the sharing and discussion “on” LinkedIn so to speak.

    That’s why I LOVE the idea of creating your own Group and then showcasing your best content there without restriction or worry. Plus with LinkedIn’s new publishing feature you can really shine there as well right on your profile and attract followers that way too.

    Hope that helps!

  • Dannon King

    That’s a great technique that I’ll start applying to my connection requests. I also didn’t realize I can filter the members of the groups I’m in now. So thanks for that info.

    I’m an Account Manager for an IT Consulting Firm. That in no way means I’m IT guru. One problem I face is that Development Managers know much more than I do about the “product” and simply view me as a “sales guy” and I get thrown in the pit with the rest of the AM’s that contact them every day. So one practice that I’d like to share with you to make myself “stand out” in a group is to continually post thought provoking articles/discussions, related to the groups page. For example, for my .Net Group I’ll post the latest articles from Microsoft on the upcoming technologies or conferences available. Sometimes I will get “likes or comments”, other times I won’t. Even Babe Ruth struck out more times than he hit HRs right? But the idea behind it is simple, it keeps me top of mind, and may add credibility for myself. Plus each time I post to the discussion board, Mr. Manager gets an update in his email saying, “Dannon King has added a new discussion….yada yada yada” which will hopefully keep my name “top of mind” the next time I reach out to that Development Manager. Do you feel like this is a good approach?

  • Dannon – yes you have a challenge. I think it’s always smart to share useful/relevant content with your target audience, including news articles, studies, trends, etc.

    In your case I’d go a step further and invite comments on the article if you aren’t already.

    People LOVE to share their opinion and expertise on a topic they are passionate about, so invite them to! Even if you’re just “hosting” the discussion, that makes you valuable and front of mind to prospects!

    The more they view you as somebody who’s always hosting/starting great conversations and who’s always finding and sharing the best news stories and latest updates about the industry, the more “valuable” you become in their eyes.

    That’s half the battle right there!

    Maybe another approach is to start a company podcast for your firm and do a series of “Interview the Expert” shows. You can reach out to people you really want to try and land as a client later on and ask them, “Hey, I’m creating a new podcast for IT Consultants and industry members, and we’re looking to line up a series of ‘Ask the Expert’ interviews. You’re at the top of our list given your accomplished background and obvious expertise. Can we line up a time to talk more and do a quick phone or Skype interview? I know you’d have a ton of valuable information to share with our audience!”

    Now you’re using flattery and “ask the expert” to connect with this person and get into their network. Plus if the show goes well they’re going to tell everyone in their own network about it – “Hey, check out my interview on this podcast!” And that will just lead to more people checking out your firm and what you’re all about as a result. Everybody wins!

    Hope that helps!

  • Marius Fermi

    We’ve been taking this approach for some time now, it’s worked so well that we’ve even decided to put together a training program from it (sorry about the hard sell).

    But if you’re in B2B and aren’t using LinkedIn for lead generation, you’re being foolish!

  • Marius I couldn’t agree more! And I’ve done the same thing – LOL! LinkedIn is indeed where it’s at, especially for B2B marketing and sales!

  • John k.

    i think thats an excellent idea!

  • Great article and suggestions. I definitely appreciate when someone asks to connect with me and they remind me of how we met. So often at networking events you exchange cards and then lost track of the person. Reminding me of something we discussed is a sure way to get my attention and jog my memory to respond.

    One suggestion on posting in groups and asking questions – I’ve counseled several of my clients to ask questions that would enable prospects to self-identify. For example, instead of asking “have you ever _______”, ask instead “what are your biggest hurdles with ______”. Not only are your learning who has experience with your widget, you are also learning what the pain point may be – a powerful device for a sales person to be armed with. I also would respond privately rather than in the group to probe further and determine whether there is interest and opportunity.

    Well done article and definitely good advice. Thanks!

  • Janet Benaquisto

    Great post. I now ignore 99% of connection requests as I get the “I’d like to connect” multiple times a day. I love for those folks to just say WHY they want to connect. You used to be able to message the person back but the two this morning were in-mails that only allowed me to either connect or ignore – so I ignored! I will have to keep this link handy for the next request.

  • Jody I love your idea on Groups! There was a great infographic I saw recently about how important it is to post open-ended questions in Groups and how much more successful that is. (Here is link if that’s allowed to be shared:!FGn8q)

    Great comment and thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • Thanks Janet! I hear you on the frustration part of it and how big of a difference it makes when someone personalizes the invite and says WHY they want to connect!

    However some food for thought on why it’s great to accept those invites anyway, assuming those people are either directly or indirectly going to be playing in the fishing pond you want to reach: The impact on LinkedIn search results and visibility of your profile!

    The bigger your network, the more likely people are to “find” you via LinkedIn search depending on certain keywords or phrases in your profile, job titles, etc. (And that would take a whole additional post to explain how to optimize your LinkedIn profile so that you show up #1 in your industry or area of expertise!)

    Anyway, part of how LinkedIn’s search function works depends on how many 1st, 2nd and 3rd party connections you have in your network. The more you have, the farther your potential reach and ability to be “found” via Search, others commenting/sharing your posts, comments, etc.

    So I still accept almost every invite I get even if 99 percent are not personalized or clear on WHY they want to connect. Assuming, of course, those people fall into the area or industry I want to be reaching.

    Hope that helps and a bit hard to explain in a comment! Feel free to email me or message me for more detail! 🙂

  • Janet Benaquisto

    Oh I did connect to every Tom, Dick and Harry for a while, only to get slammed with offers to sell me everything under the sun and then my home feed was chocked full of all the connections they were making so it lost the usefullness of seeing the feed from those I really wanted to be connected to. These invites are from people not even remotely related to the industry I am marketing to, mostly they are mobile app, SEO, website or marketing services sales folks trying to use LinkedIn to generate leads but doing it very poorly. Sort of like those ads that follow you around the internet AFTER you already bought something.

  • Marcie Buxton

    Great article….in particular, ‘reverse engineering content” and so comments on ‘creating content’ and education marketing is very interesting. To add my two pennies worth, LinkedIn is also a great ‘space’ to understand what questions are top of mind for people and businesses and our response can then to demonstrate expertise with ‘useful, valuable and actionable content …(John Nemo).

  • That makes sense, Janet – thanks for sharing!

  • Thanks Marcie! And I like your $0.02 worth as well – great insight!

  • Marion Wakahe

    This is an excellent article. Thank you so much especially for the advice on not using the generic “I’d like to add you to my professional network” which is what I always do without a second thought. I’ll definitely begin to put into practice all these insights especially as I begin my own company.

  • Its been so helpful. I have started what you suggested here. All the articles have been good. Thanks.

  • Thanks Marion! What type of company are you starting? Excited for you! LinkedIn is a GREAT place for you to go out and find the ideal folks who are going to be interested in what your company has to offer, especially if you are in the B2B space. Good luck and excited to hear more!

  • Thanks Stephen! Glad you found it helpful and glad you’re taking action. That’s HUGE! 🙂

  • Eric Ward

    I think one of the measures in a successful follow through with a LinkedIn two-way communication seems obvious, yet very validating… Transferring to direct email communications off the LinkedIn conduit. Seems counterintuitive when LinkedIn was the initiating connection, yet a profound proof that a relationship has moved to the next level…

    The ‘frustration’ or ‘anxiety’ is qualifying connections on-line versus a real-time face-to-face… We, after all, are still tactile creatures who respond much more readily to tones of voice, facial tics, body language, etc… B2B development goes through the same processes as individuals doing the dating dance… Parallel paths…

    LinkedIn increases the odds of making more connections… I ponder, though, as I process through connections, and appreciate the advice here (btw), the quantity vs. quality of the connections… Seems like one spends a huge amount of valuable time ferreting out who to connect with, how to connect with, and qualifying the connections viability to one’s bottom-line…. Full time job unto itself…leaves one pushed to delegate this task while attending to the fundamental business your marketing through social media… Or, seemingly sacrificing time to social media networking at the expense of your actual business’s service/product. Social media does add another expense and layer of details to marketing…it doesn’t supplant more traditional avenues…at its best, it augments….balancing one’s investment in social marketing. It’s important to have one’s marketing and selling fundamentals nailed down before going forth into the social media maelstrom…

  • Michael de Groot

    John, great article and I would like to suggest that posting articles is not as great as it appears. Why? Because most members just post a link and run. They see it as a quick way of trying to spread their adverts. I know you say post it and make the approach softer, but people still see through that. If I’m posting an article about LinkedIn to demonstrate my expertise, the reader will still feel that I’m in some way advertising.

    I moderate a reasonably large group on LinkedIn and see this link posting by many and it’s getting a real drag to keep asking them to change their behaviour. But we are persisting and hopefully we will have a group that creates discussion.

    The objective is to get noticed right? I advised someone to stop posting links and instead ask short questions about subjects they’re not even involved with.

    He got massive traction on his posts, great comments and discussions, he got massive exposure this way, people will eventually wish to connect to him and there the lead generation starts.

    Posting links also means the reader has to click through and go to another web page, you loose the reader and they will be out of the group.

    We want to keep people in the group so they engage with as many discussions as possible. After all there’s not much real-estate on a LinkedIn group and you can only see a few posts in your stream. So if they are all filled with links, members will pass them by.

    I have studied this for months now and I have seen what works. My view is get rid of links and start proper discussions with an open question. I promise you it works.

    Wishing you massive success always!

  • Great point, Michael! Here’s my take on it:

    There is a major shakeup going on right now inside of LinkedIn Groups. Many moderators are in fact requiring that you do not share links to outside blog posts or websites in your submissions. In fact, some moderators will automatically delete posts that have links in them.

    The reasoning is sound enough: They want to keep your post
    and the resulting discussion “on” LinkedIn instead of just having everyone jump off and go over to your website to read what you’re talking about. These
    moderators view their LinkedIn Groups as a place to exchange ideas, talk shop and help each other, and that this happens best within the Group comments area. Also, too many people just throw up a quick post with a link to a sales page and no real content in the actual Group discussion area, and get flagged, blocked or deleted as a result.

    Yet, LinkedIn ONLY makes it possible to post to all your Groups at once if you have a link to an outside website or blog post in your status update!

    I’ve heard the argument that you should ONLY post 1 piece of content to 1 unique Group, but I disagree. I think it’s perfectly fine to share the same question or topic or post with several Groups at once, and again the only way to do that easily/quickly is by having a link included so you can re-share to all your Groups at once from your status update area.

    So it’s a quandary to be sure.

    I too have seen good success/engagement with just using open-ended questions and having discussions flourish.

    Thanks for bringing this up!

  • Michael de Groot

    Thanks for your insights John. I still have an issue with posting across several groups at the same time. For me it says, I only care about me and I don’t care about you. I would suggest to members that it’s not about what you can get out, but what you can give to your fellow group members. When you post to several groups at the same time, this also appears on your home feed and when I’ve seen that I see that person in a totally different light. I feel that they are just in it for themselves. By all means post articles on your home feed regularly. I welcome that, but across groups, I am just not sure about that anymore. I thought it was great in the early days, but social is changing, everyone is more discerning and we’re all personal brands nowadays. I also suggest to my students to go narrow and deep in groups, Everyone has only so much time and you can’t be contributing and engaging in all those discussions all of the time in all your groups. It certainly will continue to be a discussion to be had, as when everyone can become a publisher, they will wish to share their own LinkedIn articles across the piece too. Oh my its going to get ugly! Happy days!

  • Michael thanks for your input. Certainly it is an ongoing debate and I agree with you that once all 300 million members on LinkedIn have the ability to publish articles/blogs right on the site, indeed we’ll the Wild West type atmosphere for a while until everything gets settled. Should be interesting to say the least!

  • Michael de Groot

    Hahahaha, the Wild West indeed, I like that!

  • I completely disagree John… they may want you to publish content but they’re doing everything in their power to stop your content – when it’s your own and shared by your updates – having any reach by resetting your LinkedIn feed to Top everyday. That means unless you get 20 people to like it immediately, it has little chance of being seen.

    While there are only a few people permitted to publish on LinkedIn’s own blogging channel, it holds value. But when everyone can it will simply become noise. It is also worth noting that of those 300m, 50% do NOT visit the site – compare that to 60% who visit Facebook daily. (Yes I know the drawbacks of Edgerank on posts but I’m comparing engagement.)

    What this post fails to point out is the impact of SWAM. If you do the aforementioned and share your valuable post in a group, and the group manager takes exception to it & deletes the post or kicks you out of the group, all of your future posts and comments in ALL of your groups will be delayed in submission queues, some will never see the light of day! To avoid SWAM you must read group rules and take extreme care when posting.

  • Michael Virardi

    Dear John, well done for a very interesting and useful article! I am a motivational speaker and an author. If you were me, how would you approach, LinkedIn groups (and which) to let people know of the value you can offer so as to be hired as a speaker? In my country, Cyprus, CEO’s and HR’s decide. Your opinion and proposed approach is very valuable to me. Thanking you in advance!

  • John, this is actually very insightful for those wondering what content to share using LinkedIn’s new publishing feature: deliver content to help others do their jobs 🙂

  • Katrina, thank you for sharing here. I’ll work on getting an article published here addressing the points you’re making.

  • Hi Cindy, thank you for the reply. You’ll find plenty of posts about this on my blog as I write about social media for recruitment (social recruiting) and find that so many of LinkedIn’s changes are detrimental to their paying customers. Happy to send you the link or post it here, if you’d like. Let me know. Have a lovely weekend.

  • Thanks for sharing, Michael! We’ve always discouraged links in our LinkedIn groups in an effort to create a more engaged community. It does get the people who’d normally just share a link to their latest blog post to stop and think a bit more.

  • Cindy that is spot on – exactly what LinkedIn is talking about and where the best strategy lies moving forward!

  • @CindyKing:disqus and @WinningImpress:disqus – I’ll be happy to get going on a blog post about SWAM – didn’t have room in this post to address it, but here are some thoughts and a quick explanation for those unfamiliar with it.

    LinkedIn SWAM = Site Wide Auto Moderation

    It basically means that when you try to post your content (posts, comments, etc.) inside of other LinkedIn Groups, if even one moderator in one of those Groups doesn’t like your post, he or she can flag you as a spammer, and then your entire account automatically gets SWAM’d, meaning NONE of your posts or comments will show up in ANY of your Groups until someone approves them!

    LinkedIn introduced SWAM in an effort to cut down on all the
    sales pitches and self-promotion that have plagued its Groups from Day One, but oftentimes you can get unfairly punished because one cranky moderator decided your post was too promotional.

    What SWAM does is immediately cut your legs out from under
    you in every single LinkedIn Group you’re a part of. All of a sudden, nobody will see your posts or comments until someone moderates and approves them.

    All the more reason to focus on building YOUR LinkedIn Group. Not only is it your personal fishing pond that you’re stocking with your ideal prospects, but it’s also the one place where you can post anything you want without being SWAM’d.

    Plus, the new publishing feature will allow people to find/see/discover your posts right at the top of your profile, which is huge. It’s a great way to house/showcase your best content and attract new followers. LinkedIn also makes your blog posts discoverable via search and I believe also your posts can be fed into the Pulse or LinkedIn news app as well depending on engagement, popularity, etc.

    Like anything else, QUALITY content will win out. Yes, when 300 million people have the ability to blog, we’ll see an increase in spam and sales pitches and such. But that is already happening all over LinkedIn – inside Groups, individual news feeds, on profiles, even in job titles!

    That doesn’t mean LinkedIn is worthless – it just means you have all the more chance to stand out by creating awesome content!

    I love that with the in-house publishing system, LinkedIn will make it easier than ever for your content to be shared/spread/talked about right on the network!

    Also Katrina when I go around doing LinkedIn training I do hear a lot of, “Well, I’m on LinkedIn but I don’t really know what to do with it or how to use it. I never get anything out of it.”

    And that’s a whole different discussion and blog post, but my point is I agree many users probably are on LinkedIn but not active. And I think that’s because they don’t know or understand what they COULD be using LinkedIn for!

    I’m hoping to help change that since I see the massive potential on LinkedIn, plus the stats/studies that continue to come out showing what a powerful B2B tool LinkedIn is.

    Exciting times ahead! 🙂

  • Michael, you have a natural platform though to leverage LinkedIn like crazy for TONS of leads!

    I have so many ideas for you, but here are a few:

    – Make sure you add VIDEO to your individual LinkedIn profile if you haven’t already. Since you are a professional speaker, the first thing I want to see as a potential client is YOU in action! Your speaking ability, stage presence, charisma, message, etc. LinkedIn has made it easy now to add YouTube videos and other media to your individual profile. Upload a great “trailer” video of your best points, comments, etc. Also mix in on-camera testimonials from audience members RIGHT AFTER they’ve seen you speak, so you get their emotional and excitement. If you don’t have any, take an iPhone with you to your next presentation, and when people rush up to talk to you after and say how great your talk was, ask them to do a quick testimonial while you or an assistant films them with your iPhone camera! Ask them specific, leading questions about what they liked best, what takeaways they found, how they’ll apply it to their business, if they think you’d be good speaking to other members of their industry, would they recommend you to their industry contacts, etc.

    – Second I’d immediately start your own LinkedIn Group or several individual Groups based on your favorite speaking topics. Name them something very specific and client-facing, like “Winning Company Culture: Secrets and Strategies” or “Leadership Growth + Management Tips” or similar titles that catch the attention of your target audience. Then stock your individual Groups with great content and tips – slice up your long speeches into smaller, bite-size snippets of 2-3 minutes. Just one tip, one video. Get transcripts for these videos (there are cheap options online to hire people to convert your videos into typewritten transcripts) and share the text as well inside the post to enhance it’s value.

    – Third, go join LinkedIn Groups where your target prospects are hanging out and (A) Invite them to connect and (B) Invite them to join your new Group on topic XYZ.

    Don’t pitch them right away – rather invite them to connect, say you think they’ll enjoy your new Group and that it has content they’ll find useful, valuable and interesting for their specific business, and that you’d love to add their voice and insights to your new Group.

    Just the tip of the iceberg as far as what I’d tell you, but I hope that helps!

  • Richard Saling

    I have actually performed the last example and was put on the SWAM list because it was interpreted as spamming, even though I asked a generic question and shared an article, just like your example.

  • Marion Wakahe

    I hope to start a brand/marketing consultancy. I intend to exploit LinkedIn as much as I can. Thanks for your well wishes 🙂

  • Best of luck Marion!

  • Richard indeed that can be VERY frustrating, and I actually have a separate comment posted in one of the threads here addressing SWAM and what to do about it, so be sure to check that out, and if you can’t locate it let me know and I’ll re-share here in our thread. Thanks!

  • Michael de Groot

    Thank you for your reply Cindy and great that it appears to be working for you. We are having a tougher time in our group and some very annoyed customers saying that they are not selling by posting their links. Bad language and nasty emails flying around too. We will keep pushing and have been doing that for 7 months now.

  • Kalidas Vanjpe

    Thank you John. It is a great article.

  • Hi John, my apologies Disqus didn’t notify me of your reply!

    I hear similar things from my clients. My point was concern that you suggest a group interaction that could get people SWAMd. They must check the rules before they post, that’s a one liner addition.

    I just wonder why B2Bs should limit their audience on platform that is far from social and only has 150 million active users.

    Time will tell and, as you say, exciting times ahead.

  • Cynthia Lovely

    Michael, you are absolutely right! I follow LinkedIn groups and look for ways to be helpful – legitimate questions to answer and discussions to contribute and it’s close to impossible to even find a worth while discussion on most groups! It’s become 90% drive by link posting with no intention of engaging or contributing in any real way. And that fills the group with so much clutter that anything worth while is completely drowned out in the noise. If LinkedIn doesn’t do something to reverse this dynamic, it’s usefulness will be destroyed. I love the idea of groups making a no-link policy. I think that should be a LinkedIn-wide policy for group discussions. Groups are broken.

  • Michael de Groot

    Cynthia, yep you have come to the same conclusion as me. The incidents of foreign spammers in groups is also evident now. I have reported at least 6 people in the past month to LinkedIn, that are spamming in one way or another. It spoils it for those of us who do wish to engage in proper discussions. Latest comments coming back from our members after we challenged them a little bit to change their behaviour is that they do not wish to be controlled and want to be free to do whatever. This shows me that actually most are in it for themselves, i.e. what they can get out, instead of what they can give in. Lots of interesting views on this subject. It certainly is the Wild West now!

  • sketharaman

    Nice article. I get several generic invites on LinkedIn and I ignore all of them. I’ve been trying – in vain – to find a way to politely tell people to avoid sending generic invites. Now, I’m simply going to post the following passage from this article on my LinkedIn.

    “Relying on the generic “I’d like to add you to my professional network” message isn’t just lazy and ineffective, it can get you blocked or flagged as a spammer which restricts your ability to send invites in the future.”

    Hope enough people will get the message!

  • Thanks Sketharaman! Couldn’t agree with you more!

  • Thank you Kalidas!

  • IgKttYm

    Great Article John! As it is obvious that LinkedIn is one of the best sources for B2B Lead generation, I was wondering if there are any SaaS products that can help me get Prospects from LinkedIn? I’ve come across Rapportive and Aeroleads as of now but dunno which one to use. Thanks in advance.

  • Lawless Dee

    Create your own group, build a following, post your own articles, become an authority, stop complaining lol