Make LinkedIn Work for You: Now Available!

With the holidays approaching, it’s time to think about holiday gifts, and I’ve got a great gift suggestion for you – which also happens to be one of my major accomplishments this year, and that is the release of my new book, with my co-author, Dennis Kennedy – Make LinkedIn Work for You: A Practical Handbook for Lawyers and Other Legal Professionals.

This book was written specifically for people in the legal profession, but we think it is a useful resource for anyone in any kind of business. If you’re not in the legal world, there are small parts of the book that won’t apply to you, but overall, the advice in the book is sound for anyone.

So, let’s dive in and talk about some of what you can expect from the book. In this book, we’ve taken a strategic approach to how you use LinkedIn and how to incorporate it into your “real world” networking, while also giving you practical tips that you can get started with right away. And if you’re brand-new to LinkedIn, we’ll show you how to get started to build up your LinkedIn presence.

If you’ve watched my other videos or seen me speak about LinkedIn, you’ll be familiar with the “three building blocks” approach that Dennis and I take to LinkedIn, and the book talks about all three of them – Profiles, Connections and Participation – in depth. We end each of those sections with answers to frequently asked questions we hear all of the time when speaking about LinkedIn or working with clients. And each of us share our own approaches we’ve taken to using LinkedIn, and the different things we’ve experimented with and the results of those experiments.

But we also talk about some specialty topics, including:

  • Building your personal brand on LinkedIn
  • Using LinkedIn to search for a job
  • How to use LinkedIn to go into a new practice area or when you move to a new location
  • Using LinkedIn as a student
  • And, for the lawyers, we cover how the Rules of Professional Conduct might affect how you use LinkedIn.

I hope you’ll consider getting Make LinkedIn Work for You as a holiday gift this season for the lawyer or other professional in your life – or even for yourself! It’s available now on Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle formats.

Make LinkedIn Work for You, A Practical Handbook for Lawyers and Other Legal Professionals book cover

Have a wonderful holiday season!

Want more info about LinkedIn? Check out all of my LinkedIn videos here:

How Much Time Should I Spend on LinkedIn? Participation

This is the third installment in my video series answering the question, “How Much Time Do I Need to Spend on LinkedIn?”

In the first two installments, I talked about spending 15-30 minutes a day, or a couple of hours a week on LinkedIn, and how to spend that time first on getting your Profile into shape, and then on working with your Connections.

Our last building block is Participation.

Feed – Like, Comment and Share

Liking, commenting and sharing are probably the easiest forms of participation. If you jump into your Feed for only a few minutes a couple of times a week and engage with what your connections are posting, you’ll stay more ‘top of mind’ with them.

[Pro tip: By default, your Feed is sorted by “top” posts – if you start by looking at the top posts and engage with them, your comments or shares will likely be seen by more people. Then sort by “most recent” to see what’s newest.]

Posts
I recommend that you post something to your Feed at least weekly.

  • Don’t forget that what you post doesn’t necessarily need to be brand-new content that you create.
  • It could be a post to an article you’ve written some time ago, or it could be a link to content created by someone else on the internet.
  • If you can give your observation or perspective on the article or ask your audience a question about it to engage them, so much the better.
  • Don’t forget to tag your connections where it is appropriate.
  • Remember to always provide value.

Groups

Find Groups to join. Start with Groups you already belong to in real life. Think about Groups your target audience belongs to and join those.

Review Group discussions weekly to see what you can engage with, just the same way that you do in your Feed.

Join or create a discussion in Groups. The easiest way to do this is to cross-post what you’re posting already to your Feed in the appropriate Groups. You can now do this easily in the same posting box where you post updates to your Feed – just change the audience in the drop-down box at the top.

Work up to posting weekly in your most important/active Groups.

LinkedIn Publisher (Articles)

Consider writing longer articles on LinkedIn (which usually are more visible than shorter posts). Obviously, this is going to take a little more time, but I like to re-purpose content from somewhere else, or post just the beginning of an article from my website with a link back to my site for the rest of the article. Often your connections will receive notifications about the fact that you’ve posted an article. (You can see how to do this in my LinkedIn post here).*

In as little as a few hours a week, you can gain a lot of traction by posting and participating on LinkedIn.

If you want more information on how I can help you or your law firm use LinkedIn better, please send me an email or invite me to connect with you on LinkedIn.

See my other videos about LinkedIn for lawyers here:

How Much Time Should I Spend on LinkedIn? Connections

Continuing with my video series answering the question, “How much time do I need to spend on LinkedIn,” in this video, I talk about what you should do with your Connections.

The short answer is that lawyers who spend only 15-30 minutes a day or a couple of hours a week can get results on LinkedIn. But how you spend that time is what’s really important.

The last video talked about how to spend that time on the first of the three building blocks of LinkedIn – your Profile. In this video, we’ll tackle the second building block – Connections.

You can gain some huge advantages from LinkedIn by using your Connections wisely even if you don’t do any of the things we talk about in the Participation building block. It’s about building relationships.

First use that time to build out your LinkedIn network and start a conversation with your connections using the ideas from my videos, How to Build Your Network on LinkedIn, LinkedIn: Your Modern-Day Rolodex, and Make Your LinkedIn Connections Work for You.

 You want to approach these conversations with an attitude of helping or providing value – and not just the value you provide as a lawyer in your practice area.

I was at a conference for the NYS Bar Association earlier this week and one of the other presenters was talking about the importance of establishing not just a referral network, but a resource network. You want to be the “go-to” person for your clients, colleagues and potential clients, and that means building your resource network so that even if you can’t help someone, you can direct them to someone who can. So you’ll want to think about that when you’re building your network as well.

But the real value of LinkedIn Connections is using them to enhance your real-life networking. In 15 or 20 minutes, you can make a lot of progress on:

  • Setting up phone calls or coffee dates with your connections.
  • Inviting LinkedIn connections to attend an event with you.
  • Reviewing attendance lists for events you are attending to see if any of your LinkedIn connections will be attending so you can make it a point to introduce yourself. You can even send them a note ahead of time so you can plan to meet.
  • Reviewing your LinkedIn Connections before you travel to see who lives or works in the area of the event and try to meet them.

When you meet a LinkedIn Connection in person, take a photo and post it on LinkedIn, tagging your Connection.

Want to learn more about how to use your LinkedIn connections? Contact me by email or through LinkedIn to set up an initial consultation.

See more LinkedIn videos:

How Much Time Should I Spend on LinkedIn? Profile

A lawyer recently asked me, “How much time do I need to spend on LinkedIn to be effective?”

I get this question a lot from lawyers. I get it – lawyers are busy people, and you want to get the best results you can from your marketing efforts.

Of course, the more time you spend engaging with people on LinkedIn, the better your results will be.

But realistically, if you spend only a couple of hours a week following some of the tips in this series and in my book (with co-author, Dennis Kennedy), Make LinkedIn Work for You, you can get results.

Focus on the three building blocks of LinkedIn – Profile, Connections, and Participation, and spend only 15-30 minutes a day and I guarantee you’ll start to see results.

Let’s start with the first building block, your Profile.

If you’re just starting out, or you haven’t updated your LinkedIn Profile in a while, this is where I would start.

  • First, make sure your headline accurately describes what you do and who you do it for, and that it contains keywords your target audience might search for. (Watch my other video on headline tips for more info)
  • Same thing for your About(Summary) and Experience sections. Make them as descriptive and complete as possible (Watch my ** video to see what I mean)
  • Add relevant Skills, and get rid of any Skills that are not relevant
  • As lawyers, we have to worry about the rules of professional conduct – include any disclaimers that might be required by the ethics rules in your jurisdiction
  • Ask colleagues or clients for recommendations

Then you can move on to adding sections such as Honors and Awards and Publications, and adding media to your About and Experience sections.

Once you’ve reached “All-Star” on your Profile, meaning your Profile is complete, you won’t need to spend much time on your Profile, but we recommend reviewing it every 6 months to make updates.

In future videos, I’ll cover how you should spend that 15-30 minutes a day on the next two building blocks on LinkedIn – Connections and Participation.

But for now, if you’re still not sure where to start or just don’t have time to update your LinkedIn profile, shoot me an email at Allison@LegalEaseConsulting.com or send me an invitation to connect on LinkedIn so we can talk about how I can help you.

See more videos about LinkedIn:

LinkedIn Groups: A Targeting Opportunity

Hi, I’m Allison Shields, President of Legal Ease Consulting, and co-author of the upcoming book, Make LinkedIn Work for You, a Practical Handbook for Lawyers and other Legal Professionals.

A recent survey of in-house counsel revealed that although in-house lawyers are using LinkedIn, and consuming content from outside counsel, they feel that lawyers don’t do a great job of targeting their content.

And one of the comments I hear a lot from lawyers about LinkedIn – especially if they are starting out or they have a relatively small network – is that, even with all of the tips and tricks about how to increase the visibility of their posts, they aren’t getting much attention on LinkedIn.

Using LinkedIn Groups can help with both of these issues.

You might remember from one of my previous videos that I recommended joining Groups that contain your target audience so that you can use the Group’s member list to identify new potential connections.

But joining and participating in Groups containing your desired audience– whether that’s potential clients, journalists, or referral sources – is another way to increase your visibility and get your message to those people who need your help the most – even if you aren’t directly connected to them on LinkedIn.

Many LinkedIn Groups have thousands of members, which means that by posting in the Group, you potentially reach many more members than you would with a regular post on LinkedIn. And you can target your content specifically to the members of that Group an establish yourself as an expert. Reviewing Group members’ posts or asking them questions can also reveal what kind of content they are interested in receiving.

Just like in the News Feed, you can like, comment on and share things other Group members post within the Group.

Just as in real life, some Groups on LinkedIn are more useful – and more active – than others. It may take some work to find Groups that are worthwhile for you. But if you keep at it, you are sure to find at least a few groups that can help you reach your audience effectively.

To learn more about how I can help you and your law firm use LinkedIn, send me a LinkedIn invitation or email me to set up a consultation.

More LinkedIn videos:

Expand Your Network with LinkedIn Groups

In my last video, I talked about how LinkedIn can help you to easily follow up, stay in touch, and interact with your real-life contacts and clients if you’re connected with them on LinkedIn. But LinkedIn is also a great way to expand your network beyond people you already know in real life. Today we’re going to talk about how you can do that using LinkedIn Groups.

Groups can help you find and connect with more people in your target audience – and that’s exactly where you should start.

When joining LinkedIn Groups with the specific goal of expanding your network, think about who your target audience is and what they are interested in.

What groups do they belong to in real life?

What information are they interested in receiving?

Then do a search for LinkedIn Groups on that topic.

Whether your target audience is small business owners in a specific industry (hospitality, insurance, or in-house counsel), or they have a specific interest, like cycling, there are groups on LinkedIn organized specifically for that audience.

You can also look at your best clients, connections and referral sources to see what Groups they belong to on LinkedIn. Chances are those Groups also contain other people that fit within your target audience.

To see what Groups your LinkedIn connections belong to, go to their Profile and scroll down until you see the “interests” section. Click on “see all” – the Groups your connections belong to on LinkedIn will be listed there.

Once you have joined a Group, you’ll be able to see a list of all of the members in that Group. Look for members who are second-level connections – these will be the easiest for you to connect with because you can send them a connection invitation directly. Once you start connecting within the Group, it will become even easier, because more members of the Group will become second-level connections by virtue of mutual connections within the Group.

So, if you’re looking to expand your network, give LinkedIn Groups a try!

To find out how I can help you with your LinkedIn or other social media strategy, please send me a message on LinkedIn or contact me by email.

See more LinkedIn videos:

LinkedIn: Your Modern-Day Rolodex

Hi, I’m Allison Shields, President of Legal Ease Consulting, where I help lawyers with practice management, marketing and business development, including LinkedIn.

Even with all of the technology available today, most lawyers tell me that they get most of their clients through word of mouth referrals. Their best business development efforts are aimed at networking, and their best assets are their contact and client lists – their address books (or what we used to call our Rolodex).

But this is where LinkedIn can be a gold mine. After all, LinkedIn is a professional networking site; it’s the modern-day Rolodex, with two important advantages: it allows you to continue to “touch” those contacts and clients easily without leaving your office, AND it updates itself, so you’ll always be able to stay in touch with your connections, even if they change jobs.

So how are you using this valuable resource?

First, to make LinkedIn work best for you, you’ll need to actually be connected to all of those important contacts and clients on the site.

Although you can manually search on LinkedIn for each of your current contacts by name to send them an invitation, there are easier ways to find your contacts on LinkedIn.

Here are three helpful ways to quickly find people you already know on LinkedIn

First, you can load your email address book into LinkedIn so you can easily find those contacts and clients and send them an invitation. [One word of caution here – make sure you deselect all so that you don’t inadvertently send an invitation to every single contact in your address book – there are likely people in there you don’t want to connect with. Choose from your list those you want to invite to connect with you.]

Second, you can use LinkedIn’s “People You May Know” feature to help identify people you already know in real life. LinkedIn uses your activity on LinkedIn, your existing LinkedIn connections and items on your Profile to suggest connections – and their suggestions are more accurate the more complete your Profile is.

Finally, you can use company or alumni search to find people you already know. For example, if you know you have several contacts at a client company, it’s easy to find them by doing a search on the company and then looking at its list of employees. The same can be said for alumni. Search for the school on LinkedIn and them click the alumni button to find people who attended during the same years you did.

In my next video, we’ll talk about how to find new connections on LinkedIn and turn them into real-life contacts.

I’m Allison Shields from Legal Ease Consulting. You can find other videos in my LinkedIn series here on my website at LawyerMeltdown.com (or see below).

If you want help with LinkedIn, send me a LinkedIn invitation to set up a consultation.

Other LinkedIn videos:

Make Your LinkedIn Connections Work for You

Hi, I’m Allison Shields, President of Legal Ease Consulting, where I help lawyers get the most out of LinkedIn. And today, my question for you is, “What are you doing with your LinkedIn connections?”

So many times I talk to lawyers and they tell me they’re sending and accepting invitations to connect on LinkedIn, but they have no real strategy. They’re just collecting connections, but then they don’t know what to do with them.

In one of my previous videos, I talked about taking the approach to posting on LinkedIn as helping or providing value to your LinkedIn connections rather than just posting about yourself. You can take the same approach with your LinkedIn Connections. Think about how you can help or provide value to your LinkedIn connections.

So for example, who do you know, who are you connected to, or who could you connect to that could be helpful to your LinkedIn connections and their business? Then start making introductions. You can do this by sending them both an email. Or, if they are both local, perhaps you might invite them both for coffee or lunch so you can make the introduction in person.

Another way you might provide value for your connections is by suggesting that they join a particular Group on LinkedIn. If you have found a Group that is especially valuable, where the members post interesting or relevant content, invite some of your Connections to join the Group.

You’ll also want to take your converstaions beyond just the initial invitation and acceptance. Send them articles or other information of interest. Ask questions about their business. One great question to ask is how you might be able to help them or who you might know that you could introduce them to.

Ideally, you want to take your best LinkedIn connections and move the relationship from online to offline. Don’t leave those connections just sitting virtually on Linkedin. That may mean a telephone call, video chat, or meeting in person for coffee or lunch, inviting your connection to attend an event, and more. Keep your LinkedIn connections in mind when you are traveling, too. Look up which of your connections live in your destination city and see if you can arrange a meeting. At the very least, your connection might have a great suggestion for places to visit or restaurants to dine at.

How do you add value to your LinkedIn network? Let me know in the comments below.

I’m Allison Shields, President of Legal Ease Consulting. Learn more about how I help lawyers with LinkedIn and other marketing and business development by visiting my services page, or viewing my other LinkedIn videos.

Related LinkedIn videos:

Don’t know what to post on LinkedIn? Start Here

Increase Post Visibility on LinkedIn with Hashtags

Mention Connections to Get Attention on LinkedIn

Which posts get the most engagement on LinkedIn?

Which Posts Get the Most Engagement on LinkedIn?

Do you want to increase visibility and engagement with your LinkedIn posts?

Hi, it’s Allison Shields from Legal Ease Consulting where I help lawyers build the practices they want and attract their ideal clients using tools like LinkedIn. In my last couple of videos, I talked about using hashtags and mentioning connections as two ways you can increase visibility and engagement for your LinkedIn posts.

Today, let’s talk about how you can use the format of your posts to encourage engagement.

              Text: Believe it or not, experts say that solely text-based posts still get more engagement on LinkedIn than posts that are not text-based. In other words, you can get engagement even without any fancy equipment or searching high and low for an appropriate image. To make your text posts even more engaging, you might consider asking your audience a question in your post, and encouraging your audience to respond by commenting.

              Video: The number two type of post on LinkedIn right now is video – video is hot everywhere. Of course, if you’re a Videosocials member, creating video and posting it on LinkedIn is easy. But what if you’re camera shy? (you can still use videosocials’ feature and just pull the audio) You can create a simple video using readily available tools like PowerPoint and then add a voiceover timed to the slides to create a quick and easy video.

              Images and PDFS: Posts with images, or posts that contain PDFs, take up more room in the Feed than text-only posts, and for scrollers, these kinds of posts can be attention-getting, but they can also serve as a way to show, rather than simply tell, what you do, who you do it for, and where your expertise lies.

Again, I’m Allison Shields from Legal Ease Consulting, For more LinkedIn video tips, visit my website at LawyerMeltdown.com and look for my forthcoming book, Make LinkedIn Work for You, A Practical Handbook for Lawyers and Other Legal Professionals.

Mention Connections to Get Attention on LinkedIn

In this video in my LinkedIn series, I talk about mentioning or tagging connections as a way to boost visibility and get some additional engagement from your posts.

Hi, I’m Allison Shields from Legal Ease Consulting, Inc., and in today I want to talk about another way to increase engagement with your posts on LinkedIn.

In my last video, I talked about hashtags. Hashtags can help increase visibility and engagement on LinkedIn with users who use hashtags to search for content or who follow hashtags for content that they are interested in on LinkedIn.

But what if your audience doesn’t actively search for content like that on LinkedIn? Or what if you are sharing something on LinkedIn that’s particularly relevant to a specific connection or group of connections? That’s where you can use mentions or tags for connections in your posts on LinkedIn.

To do that, simply type the @ symbol, followed by the person’s name within your post on LinkedIn. Once you start typing, LinkedIn will create suggestions and you can simply click on the correct one.  

When you tag or mention a connection in a post, they’ll receive a notification on the desktop and mobile versions if they have those notifications enabled, and they will receive an email from LinkedIn telling them that you mentioned them in the post, and including a link so they can easily navigate to the post. Mentioning or tagging specific connections makes it more likely that they’ll want to check out a post and possibly like, comment on or share it with their network.

There are two ways to use tags or mentions in your LinkedIn posts. The first way is by mentioning the person’s name within the body of a LinkedIn post itself. For example, I might mention my co-author in the body of a post I write on LinkedIn about our upcoming book, saying something like, “My co-author @DennisKennedy and I are pleased to announce the release of our new book, Make LinkedIn Work for You.” In that post, I’m talking specifically about Dennis, and his name is within the content of the post itself.

But you can also tag your connections at the end of a post to draw their attention to the post even if you don’t mention them within the substantive portion of the post itself. For example, when I post this video on LinkedIn, I might tag Dennis so that he sees I’ve posted a video about LinkedIn, hoping that he’ll share the post with his audience, comment on it, etc. since it’s relevant to the work we do together and to our book.

And that’s an important point – when you are tagging or mentioning a connection in a post on LinkedIn, make sure that post is relevant to them. And don’t over-use mentions or tags. Don’t keep mentioning the same connection over and over because you might end up annoying them. And don’t mention 50 different in the same post, because it may dilute the impact of the mention.

The next time you’re creating a post on LinkedIn, consider which of your connections might benefit most from reading that post, and consider tagging or mentioning them.

Again, I’m Allison Shields from Legal Ease Consulting. Look for my other videos on lawyermeltdown.com.

Increase Post Visibility on LinkedIn with Hashtags

One way to get more visibility and engagement from your LinkedIn post is by using hashtags (#).

Do you want to get more visibility and more engagement from your LinkedIn posts?

Hi, I’m Allison Shields from Legal Ease Consulting, Inc., where I help lawyers build the kinds of practices they want and attract their ideal clients using tools like LinkedIn.

In my last two videos, I talked about what to post on LinkedIn whether you create your own content or simply share content created by others. But either way, all of your Connections on LinkedIn are not going to see all of your posts. The more engagement (likes, comments and shares) a post receives, the more visibility it gets, and the more visibility it gets, the more chance there is for engagement.

In my next few videos, I’ll show you a few methods you can use to increase engagement with your posts on LinkedIn. Today, we’re going to talk about hashtags.

You’re probably familiar with hashtags from other social media platforms like Twitter or Instagram, but hashtags are relatively new on LinkedIn. And LinkedIn has really embraced hashtags. For example, when you start typing a post, LinkedIn will suggest hashtags to add to the post based on the content of that post. LinkedIn users can also choose to follow hashtags or they can search for hashtags. That means that if you use hashtags in your posts, you’ll increase the visibility of those posts.

But don’t go overboard using too many hashtags on each post. I recommend using no more than three per post. And put your most important hashtag first.

If you’re not sure which hashtags to include in your post, you can find them by searching for popular hashtags on LinkedIn, or look at the Profiles of industry leaders in your industry or your target audience and look at the skills, interests, and keywords that are on their Profiles and use them to create your hashtags.

Again, I’m Allison Shields from Legal Ease Consulting. Visit my website at lawyermeltdown.com for more videos like this and for information about my soon to be released book, Make LinkedIn Work for You, written with my co-author, Dennis Kennedy, especially for lawyers and other legal professionals.

What to Post on LinkedIn (Part 2)

In my last video, I talked about what to post on LinkedIn if you are a content creator – if you have a blog, write articles, do presentations, etc. But what if you aren’t a content creator? Never fear – there are still plenty of ways for you to post on LinkedIn.

The truth is, you don’t have to have your own content to be successful on LinkedIn. Every single day, other people are creating content for you that you can use to educate, inform, or entertain your target audience on LinkedIn.

Think about it: very few lawyers create new laws or completely novel arguments. Lawyers are experts at finding information relevant to their client’s case or transaction, and analyzing that information to persuade a judge, a jury, opposing parties or other participants in a transaction. You can do the same thing on LinkedIn by simply finding information that would be useful to your clients or referral sources – and that information doesn’t always have to be strictly about the law.

The lawyers who use LinkedIn the most effectively are not the lawyers who are always talking about themselves or their cases – they are the lawyers who are providing information their audience can actually USE. For a divorce lawyer that might be posting about services for families in their local community. If you’re a real estate lawyer, that might mean linking to an article about how to find a reputable moving company, or a YouTube video on packing tips. A debt relief lawyer I know posts all kinds of articles, information and resources about things like how to save on school supplies and where to find the best credit card deals.

As I’ve said before, it’s about providing value to your audience. The news can be a fantastic source for posts, as can trade or special interest publications or websites. You can post about or link to an article in the local news that relates to your practice area. Or post about events in your local community.

When it comes to posting on LinkedIn, the only limit is your creativity.

I’m Allison Shields, President of Legal Ease Consulting, and I help lawyers use resources like LinkedIn to identify and attract their ideal clients. If you found this video helpful, please share it with your friends and colleagues. You can find more tips and information about what I do here on my website.

Have an idea for a future video? Let me know in the comments below!

What to Post on LinkedIn (Part 1)

In my last video, we addressed some fears about posting on LinkedIn and ended with the idea that if you approach posting on LinkedIn as a way to help your audience, rather than a way simply to promote yourself it might be more comfortable for you.

But what, exactly, do you post? Well, keep your audience, their needs, wants, and problems, and challenges it becomes much easier. And if you already create your own content, it’s even easier.

Building Your LinkedIn Network

LinkedIn is a professional networking platform. That means that the same rules of engagement for in-person networking also apply to LinkedIn. This short video gives you some times about how to network effectively on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Groups Gets an Update

LinkedIn GroupsI’ve long been an advocate of LinkedIn Groups as a business development tool, but, especially with the previous round of changes that separated Groups into a stand-alone app, many lawyers didn’t take advantage of Groups.

This month, LinkedIn announced it’s making some changes to its Groups feature in both the website and mobile app that should improve the user experience.

Groups will now be re-integrated into the main LinkedIn user interface for a more seamless experience, making it easier to access your Groups from the LinkedIn Home page.

With the new Groups interface, you’ll also see conversations from your Groups right in your main LinkedIn news feed. Threaded replies will be incorporated, and you’ll be able to edit posts and comments and reply to comments from the app.

Rich media features will also be added to Groups, allowing members to post video, multiple images or rich media links to Group discussions.

For those of you who are overwhelmed with email, you may be happy to learn that instead of getting updates from your Groups via email, those updates will now be incorporated into your LinkedIn notifications.

Changes in LinkedIn Group Administration

The previous round of changes to LinkedIn Groups included a lot of changes in how Groups were administered and monitored.

LinkedIn is simplifying Groups administration by reducing the number of categories of users in Groups to just owners, managers and members. Groups members who were previously designated as moderators will become regular members unless the Group’s owner elevates the user to a manager.

All Group members will be able to post in their Groups without prior approval. Group admins should block or remove members who consistently violate the Group’s rules since pre-approval will no longer be available.

Both Group members and admins will still be able to report inappropriate content to help reduce spam, and admins will continue to be able to edit or remove posts and comments that violate that Group’s rules.

Group managers will be able to pin items to the top of a Group’s feed.

Why You Should Use LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn Groups are an excellent tool for gathering valuable intelligence about your audience. By following Groups on LinkedIn that contain your target audience (existing and potential clients and referral sources), you can learn about their problems and concerns and see what’s important to them.

In Groups, people share information, brainstorm ideas, discuss their interests and challenges,  post informational articles or links and conduct polls, making it easy for you to get to know others and for them to get to know you.

Groups give you the ability to reach out to your target audience to ask for feedback, educate them about your services or the legal issues that affect their lives and/or businesses, demonstrate your knowledge, and increase your visibility.

Reviewing LinkedIn Group discussions and activity can also help you to generate ideas for new service offerings, blog posts, articles, presentations, and more.

Joining Groups gives you access to a wider audience that goes beyond just your direct connections. As a Group member, you can view the list of members who share a specific interest, and navigate to their Profiles for additional information or to connect.

Getting The Most Out Of LinkedIn Groups

To get the most benefit from Groups on LinkedIn you need to be an active participant, just as you would when joining a group or community in “real life.” Merely being a member won’t do too much for you-you have to get involved: start discussions, post interesting articles, engage with other Group members and their content, and reach out to begin one on one discussion or connect.

Engage naturally in Groups, just as you would in an in-person networking setting. Provide value. Don’t over-promote. Be sure to review the Group’s rules and abide by them. Post content that is relevant to the specific Group.

Don’t just post links – add your own commentary, ask a question or make a statement to encourage interaction.

The new Groups experience should begin rolling out to users shortly.