Why LinkedIn Groups don’t Work

A popular LinkedIn discussion revolved around one simple question:

What do you need out of this group?
More than 100 people responded, with three key answers:

  • Information (case studies, tips and advice)
  • Work (a job, an internship, new clients)
  • Human resources (staff, freelancers, specialised skills)

Now if people are looking for work, and employers looking for people belong to the same group, it should be an ideal meeting ground.  But they are just not connecting.  Obviously this group isn’t working for them.

And the reason is clear.  Despite the clear opportunity to:

  • Market your skills and knowledge by providing information
  • Be seen by those looking for resources
  • Improve your chances of getting a job or a new client

the very people who want this are just not engaging.

Without engagement, you’ll never be noticed.  It’s that simple.  Just joining a LinkedIn group won’t grow your business or help you develop a referral network – because no-one will know who you are.  Simply put, you need to engage regularly and provide valuable information.

A quick look at a random selection of 11 people who posted that they are looking for clients or a job showed that only five had ever posted an update on LinkedIn prior to this discussion.  And only two were active.

Only four people had a good LinkedIn profile.  The others lacked either one or more of the following essential components:

  • A summary description of their skills  (Tell me what you can do for me!)
  • A photo of any sort  (Never mind a professional head and shoulders shot)
  • Their full name  (If you are incognito, how do you expect people to get to know you?)
  • Recommendations  (What, have you never had a satisfied client – or manager – who is on LinkedIn?)

If your profile doesn’t showcase who you are, even if people click onto your profile to see who you are and what you are about, they’ll click away and forget about you.

In short, these people were not marketing themselves or their businesses

Post relevant information
People are looking for good quality information – tips, advice and insights.  So give it to them.  Share your knowedge and expertise.   If you give me what I’m looking for, I’ll remember you.  I might even click onto your profile to find out more about you.  With any luck, I’ll follow you, getting updates when you post or comment and I’ll get to know you better.

Comment on postings and discussions
And if you comment on one of my posts or comments, I’ll take notice of you.  Feel free to disagree with anything or anybody, or just add your two cents worth.  Your perspective might add great value.

Every time you engage, you give other group members the opportunity to form an opinion about your skills and the value you could add.  And that might lead to referrals – or at least to them remembering who you are.  Then when employers or clients search LinkedIn for candidates or skills and your name pops up along with 64 other names, they’ll probably look at you first.

It’s a relationship
If you’ve found that LinkedIn Groups don’t work for you, it’s probably because you aren’t capitalising on the opportunities.  Decide what you want out of social media, and then make it happen.  If all you do join groups without participating, your LinkedIn group won’t work.  Like all relationships, you have to do a little work and get involved.

So complete your profile and decide what you want to share about yourself and your business expertise.  Set your objectives and put a strategy together.  Then post, comment and engage.  Because social media marketing is a relationship, not a spectator sport.


  1. Harry Evans on May 6, 2013 at 21:20

    I think you have nailed the fact that all the social media outreach opportunities are simply an extension of the relationships we maintain and mange in our personal and professional lives; the points you make about engaging, being interesting, promoting oneself are just as applicable to a 16 year old on his first date as they are in a business environment. The moral is that LinkedIn and other social media vehicles are just that: vehicles; if your use of the vehicle is not targeted, strategic and controlled, it won’t get you anywhere – belonging is not in and of itself enough.

    • Ann Druce on May 7, 2013 at 13:36

      Absolutely, which is why every social media campaign should be based on clear marketing objectives and a strategic plan, and executed timeously.

  2. Dion Knoesen on April 29, 2013 at 15:14

    Yet again another brilliant article by one of the best in the game! It made me think about setting aside some time for an update of my profile (including my company’s) so as to let the world know I’m still seriously involved with turning around the fortunes of both SME’s and SMME’s! Well done Ann!

    • Ann Druce on April 30, 2013 at 08:20

      Thanks Dion, much appreciated.

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