Social media isn’t just about connecting with other professionals, it is about connecting with the right professionals and building a reputation that can help you gain prestige and get a promotion or land a better job. And LinkedIn groups might be one of the best social media outlets for you to do this. “LinkedIn groups offer one of the best ways to make the most of your social media engagement time”, says Stephanie Sammons, Linked In expert and Digital Business Strategy and Marketing Advisor for Sammons Ventures, LLC, in a recent article on Social Media Examiner. Why? Because LinkedIn groups offer professionals the opportunity to interact with others in the same field, keep up to date on all the new happenings in the industry, and build influence to enhance their credibility. This is particularly important for paralegals, as the law and the practice of it change so quickly that it can be difficult to keep up with the latest trends, which can have a tremendous effect on your career.
What exactly is the benefit of joining LinkedIn groups? For starters, groups give you the chance to interact with other paralegals and attorneys in order to make new friends in the industry, learn about the latest trends, and stay up to date on the changing laws. But that is not all. LinkedIn groups also allow you to show off your skills and knowledge, which can lead to greater recognition and prestige – and maybe even a higher paying job.
There is a right and a wrong way to use LinkedIn groups, however. In her article, Sammons says that you must “adopt the right strategy” in order to be successful. She also makes some of the following recommendations to make your LinkedIn group experience as productive as possible.
- Search for relevant paralegal groups. LinkedIn will allow you to join up to 50 groups, however, joining this many is unnecessary and counter-productive, as you will not be able to keep up with all the posts and make a significant contribution to this many groups. Look for paralegal groups that focus on an area of the law in which you are an expert and ones that will provide you with information relevant to your geographical or practice area.
- Evaluate the quality of a group before joining. Investigate the group manager to ensure that they are visible and engaged in the activity of the group. Is the manager one of the top contributors to the group? Are they credible? Does the group contain an abundance of advertisements or self promotions? Look at the group statistics to see how many members it has, how long it has been around, and review its activity.
- Comment on and “like” other group member’s posts. The point of joining a group is to interact with others, so don’t just write your own posts, comment on other member’s posts and if you like what they have to say, “like” them as well. As with original posts, make sure your comments are not self promotions and provide value to the conversation.
- Stay active in the group. Be sure that you keep up with what other group members are posting, adding comments, and liking other’s posts and that you post something of your own on a regular basis. You can post a link to a relevant article or recent court decision, ask for advice, or take a survey; just make sure you post something at least once a month, and ideally, once a week.
- Follow group participation best practices when creating your own posts. These can be found in the LinkedIn help section article Contributing as a Group Member- Best Practices and include:
- Ensuring that your posts are relevant to the group. Before posting anything to a group, ask yourself if group members will find the information useful and relevant. For example, do not post about changes in criminal laws to a group for estate planning paralegals.
- Avoiding posting self promotions. While posting a link to a relevant article that you have written is fine, it is not okay to post a link to your new book or webinar if you charging for it.
- Providing value with your posts. You can add value to the group by posting thought provoking quality content that invites further discussion and provides relevant information to group members.
- Inviting discussion. When you invite discussion by asking others for their opinion, you add value to the group by engaging its members in a thought provoking conservation.
Following the group best practices, engaging others, and staying active in your LinkedIn groups will help you build a reputation as a professional and a leader in the industry, which can give your career the momentum that it needs to keep moving forward – to bigger and better things.