Updated May, 2017 –
Social media experts unanimously agree that LinkedIn is the best social platform for building your professional network. When it launched many viewed at as an online resume, but it has evolved far beyond its use as a recruiter’s playground. Today, LinkedIn itself reports that:
- Two new members join every second
- Each month, 106 million unique users visit LinkedIn
- 40% of users check in daily
- LinkedIn is used in 200 countries and territories, with 70% of users being based outside of the US
All in all, LinkedIn now has more than 433 million members, many of whom congregate around business-related topics in the form of LinkedIn groups.
LinkedIn groups are essentially micro-communities within the larger LinkedIn ecosystem. Professionals from all walks of life opt into the groups of their choosing, and network with like-minded business professionals. Groups are as diverse as the population of LinkedIn itself, and you may feel overwhelmed at the sheer volume of groups to choose from. Small business owners in particular often grapple with striking a balance between networking for fun and networking for the purpose of growing their businesses.
It is possible to use LinkedIn to grow your business…if you know where to look. The following is a list of 12 LinkedIn groups for small business owners to use to grow their business:
Linked Strategies attracts professionals from all levels of management. With more than 44,000 members, this group focuses on helping business leaders achieve success using LinkedIn. If you are new to LinkedIn, or just want some general advice on how it can help you achieve your business goals, you can request to join and be instantly connected to thousands of LinkedIn veterans. Your time will be best spent in this group by asking questions regarding how to use the platform to increase awareness of your brand, and how to generate leads using LinkedIn.
With almost one million members and counting, Social Media Marketing is one of the largest groups on LinkedIn; it is also one of the most active. While the description says the group is for interactive advertising and marketing professionals, joining this group will help small business owners learn social media marketing tips and tricks from some of the brightest professionals in the marketing industry. Use this group to interact with the experts on enhancing the social aspects of your business. The advice is free and the connections you build will be invaluable.
Sometimes, being a small business owner can feel isolating. Fortunately, the content featured in this group is specifically tailored to individuals who may share your frustrations or at least understand the challenges you face as a small business owner. When you join this group of 20,000+ small business experts, you tap into their collective knowledge of things like small business financing, overcoming market downturns, and you may just feel comforted in knowing there are professionals facing the same obstacles as you.
Part of being a business owner is attracting new customers and closing sales. But, even veteran business owners sometimes struggle with this aspect of their careers. Sales Best Practices is a group focused on equipping its members with insights on marketing and selling through traditional practices, such as cold calling, as well as modern practices, such as customer relationship management (CRM) platforms. Interacting with the 200,000+ sales professionals in this group will help you better hone your own selling skills, helping you grow your small business.
Today, more than ever, your small business relies on its digital presence to drive awareness and increase revenue. This LinkedIn group of digital marketers is the place to go for tips and tricks on modern online marketing practices. Finding this many marketers in one place can be a truly valuable experience for small business owners. With 830,000+ members, participants can leverage this group to find information on how to best utilize mobile marketing, search engine marketing, and online public relations strategies to help grow their small businesses.
Small business owners are often some of the most innovative professionals in the world. This group keeps you connected to entrepreneurs just like you, looking to grow their businesses on LinkedIn. Nearly 400,000 business-minded professionals with brilliant brains from around the world participate. As a member, you will receive exclusive invitations to webinars, workshops, conferences & events featuring world-renowned innovation experts & gurus. This LinkedIn group is organized by Gerald “Solutionman” Haman, Founder of SolutionPeople Innovation.
With around 180,000 members, you may find it hard to believe this group is the largest moderated community for startups, mentors, founders, and investors on LinkedIn. This group is valuable because, too often, you will stumble upon similar groups with the intention of networking, but you find these groups are instead full of self-promotional, irrelevant content. This group, on the other hand, is closely moderated; self-promotional content is immediately deleted. That means members only see content related to actual entrepreneurship, such as business ideas, mentorship opportunities, and raising capital.
In this group, more than 380,000 trend-hunters unite around topics such as product development, consumer insights, and emerging technology. Small business owners can tap into this content to keep abreast of market fluctuations that impact their industries. In an age of economic volatility, the importance of a resource like this one cannot be overstated. Arguably, one of the worst mistakes a small business owner can do is to ignore innovation in their industries. This group helps small business owners navigate, or at least become better aware of, the challenges that lie ahead.
With more than 500,000 members, this is one of the largest entrepreneurial startup groups on LinkedIn. As a member, you will have the opportunity to participate in discussions that cover everything from marketing to hiring to money management. In this group, you can ask or offer advice, source vendors, or find your next hire. It is unique because it tends to only attract LinkedIn members with entrepreneurial backgrounds. That means as a small business owner, you are sure to be in good company.
Created in 2011, this group has just over 20,000 members. It attracts experienced professionals who discuss trends and topics that make your business more profitable and successful. For example, it is sometimes difficult to assess the industry in which your business operates without the perspective of a neutral third party. This group is a safe place to discuss the evolution of your business without the pressure of in-person engagements.
Almost every small business owner can use a marketing refresh. This LinkedIn group was created in 2007 by HubSpot’s Dharmesh Shah, a thought leader in the digital marketing space. After joining, the content and resources in this group will teach you techniques such as inbound marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and social media marketing. After joining, you can also grab a free e-book on how to use LinkedIn to grow your business.
This is one of the most active marketing groups on LinkedIn, with 650,000+ members. It is managed by the eMarketing Association, the world’s largest Internet marketing association. This group is open to anyone interested in Internet marketing, but the core focus is on social, email, search, mobile, and digital marketing. As an added bonus, you will be eligible for many of the same content offers that members of the eMA receive. If you’re serious about upping your digital marketing game, you can also use this group to participate in courses to earn online marketing certifications.
If you’re not already using LinkedIn to grow your business, the time to start is now. In addition to joining the groups listed above, your next step is to conduct a local search and join any groups that are relevant to your industry and/or your location. Next, consider adding a link to your LinkedIn profile in your email signature and on your business card. Lastly, remember that joining groups and connecting to like-minded professionals only takes you so far. You must actively contribute to the social site in order to stay relevant.