You aren’t alone. Maintaining a fresh and updated social network is hard, even for people who live and breathe social media. It’s tough to stay connected with your current friends or followers and still branch out to meet new people.
Even though it’s a tough task to conquer, there are a few ways you can expand your network with little to no effort. One of the most efficient ways that I have found to branch out to others is through LinkedIn Groups.
LinkedIn Groups have a simple concept – collaboration and networking – and it is easy to join a group and interact with other group members. There is a LinkedIn Group for nearly every subject or hobby so you won’t need to dig deep to find a group that fits your needs or expertise. Once you are approved for a group, you have free reign to respond and create various topics and threads. Easy, huh?
I have always thought that groups on social networking sites were for the birds. How can they help me connect with others? What point do they serve? Well, the math for creating successful networking is simple…
Easy-to-use Platform + Common Interest + Conversation = Consistent Networking
LinkedIn Groups follows this basic line of thinking.
Websites such as Facebook and Greenlight Community are great websites. They serve a purpose and connect people together. However, they do not have easy-to-use group functionality. In fact, they are tough to manage and maintain.
On the flip side, LinkedIn Groups is a platform that is designed for efficiency and ease. As I stated earlier, LinkedIn Groups function through conversations, or threads, which have been started by group members or the group admin. Group members are not forced to talk about a certain topic or thread. In fact, you can talk about whatever you’d like in relation to the topic of your group.
There is rarely downtime in a LinkedIn Group. If a member is not starting a new thread, a current topic is being discussed. The reason why there is no downtime is because everyone has a shared interest. Without a shared interest, group members would be fishing for topics of conversation. However, since each member knows that everyone has a common interest, there is a starting point for conversation.
The conversation that takes place on some group websites is forced. Topics of conversation are decided by the admin, new topics are not posted regularly, and no one thoroughly exhausts a topic. LinkedIn Groups are different.
In LinkedIn Groups, a user can decide if they’d like to respond to a created topic or they can create their own. This choice empowers the group member. With this sense of empowerment, a group member remains dedicated to the conversation and routinely follows up with the other topic participants.
All of the components described in this article add up to create consistent networking. With a platform that is easily managed, a common interest, and limitless conversation topics, LinkedIn Groups is a place that can help you grow and develop your network into more than you hoped.
Remember, when it comes down to the 11th hour, it isn’t what you know. Instead, it’s whom you know. If you regularly manage and create connections via LinkedIn Groups, you will have a network that supports you. Who doesn’t want that kind of network?
Eric Alpin is the Associate Editor of Folk Media and works for a telecommunications company in Baltimore, Md. He is a social media enthusiast, blogger, writer, and student with a passion for leadership and self-development strategies and techniques. Find out more about Eric on Twitter.
*Photo by Thomas Hawk