There are thousands of Groups on Linkedin and some are of more value to accountants than others.
If you scroll down someone’s profile on Linkedin you can see the Groups to which they belong. ‘Belong’ – the list doesn’t reveal whether they are active in those groups, or indeed whether anyone is active there.
It can be worth joining some Groups on Linkedin even if you are not planning on being very active therein. By so doing you can emphasise your interest in areas related to your expertise and your practice focus – for example businesses in your area. And of course if you do either start or join in discussions you may well find that prospective clients get in touch. Or other opportunities may come your way; probably more than would become apparent if you remain completely passive on Linkedin.
If you are unsure which groups to join:
- Consider those that your prospects belong to. You can find these by looking at the profiles of prospective clients on Linkedin and scrolling down to see the groups to which they belong.
- You can also use the Groups Directory by clicking on the ‘Groups’ link on the top menu bar on any Linkedin page. After you click on ‘Groups Directory’ you can search for relevant groups by using key words (eg: Burnley business, Watford business networks and so on), and exploring different categories (eg: Networking, Professional, Other).
- Linkedin also has a “Groups you may like” function that suggests Groups based on your current profile and connections.
To assess which Groups are worth joining, consider how many members they have, who established them, whether they are location specific and how active are the discussion forums.
Currently Linkedin allows you to join up to 50 Groups. This should be sufficient for most accountants. If you need to you can search for topic and location specific groups that contain concentrations of people that you would like to network with. It is also worth checking out the level of participation and conversations in the Discussions area of a Group. If you find these are largely self publicists or recruiters you may well decide that the Group will be of little benefit.
Ironically, you will often find that the best groups for lead generation are those that don’t tolerate blatant self-promotion.
You may also choose to join Linkedin Groups related to personal, social or other non-business interests. Whilst not crucial, you can choose to ‘hide’ your membership of these non-business focused Groups if you wish to do so. This means that they will not appear at the foot of your profile when someone (other than you) is viewing it.
One key tip is to drop out of Groups that are of little value to you. For me these tend to be Groups where the ‘discussions’ are mostly posted by recruiters or of a self-promotional nature.
You can leave a group at any time if you find that the members or discussions are of no interest to you. (Go to the Home page of the group you wish to leave and click on ‘More…’ on the horizontal menu bar beneath the group name. On the dropdown list that appears, click on ‘Your settings’. At the bottom right of this page is a button that allows you to ‘Leave Group’).
Do ensure that you also join the ‘Ambitious Accountants – UK‘ group on Linkedin. I run it exclusively for accountants and it has no suppliers or recruiters to spoil the flow of valuable discussions.
How else might accountants benefit from using Linkedin Groups?