Start Your Own Virtual Water Cooler Conversations on LinkedIn

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

The good old water cooler – a staple in the professional workplace – where both brilliant ideas and petty drama are born.

Internet marketers and online businesses are removed from the face-to-face aspect of water cooler conversation. Yet, there are websites that recreate that setting online. LinkedIn is a prime candidate.

Even more specifically, LinkedIn Groups provide as similar an experience to water cooler conversation as you’re ever going to find online.

Going along with the notion that brilliant ideas are born at the water cooler, businesses can get the same effect by actively participating in LinkedIn Group discussions. Efforts are amplified further when businesses create the discussions themselves.

The first step is to find the right Groups.

Set the search box setting to “Groups” and type in related keywords that describe your target audience or your specific niche. Join the most active communities.

Join as many Groups as you can handle, not as many as you can.

LinkedIn allows users to join up to 50 Groups.

A common misperception in Internet marketing is that placing yourself everywhere will lead to greater visibility.

In fact, by spreading yourself too thin, you’re decreasing the chances of gaining any significant reach. But concentrated effort in just a few places where highly qualified leads hang out can propel you into the winner’s circle of social media influence.

Really engage and offer value when joining LinkedIn Group discussions.

No one cares for the hard sell. Building relationships is the name of the game.

Join discussions that offer an opportunity to really lend insight, helpful tips, constructive criticism or interesting opinions.

Group members are always in search of a credible source of information and insight. They don’t want to have to hesitate to engage with you – in fear (or annoyance, rather) of being sold to.

Even if you’re not selling, ALWAYS use discussions to your advantage.

You won’t see more sales directly from LinkedIn Group discussions. But you can still see a return on your time investment.

When you leave links to blog entries that contribute something valuable to discussions, you’re increasing web traffic.

By asking open-ended questions, you’re learning more about what the target audience.

Create polls that measure thought patterns, and you get an idea of the content people want to see. You also learn which Groups are more qualified for your marketing messages.

Meaning you’ll know exactly which Groups are best for linking to landing pages.

Last, but definitely not least, keep your voice consistent across LinkedIn Group discussions. Make sure your tone in discussions matches the tone of your website and blog. People like consistency.

It’s all worth it to have Group members look for you every time they visit.

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