How to Use LinkedIn Groups to Find Your Target Audience

LinkedIn, groups, agricultureMany people use LinkedIn as a virtual resume and don’t really do anything beyond that. I am here to tell you that LinkedIn is so much more than that…it is a place to connect with people in a professional setting without all of the personal information (i.e. the people that tell you where they are every ten minutes on Facebook).

One of the best ways to use LinkedIn to connect with people is by using LinkedIn Groups. LinkedIn Groups are a group of people on LinkedIn that have discussions about similar interests.

When posting a discussion, I would suggest posting a link to an interesting fact or blog. Then I would ask a thought-provoking question to get a discussion started. LinkedIn groups are not a place for you to talk about personal information, but rather a place to talk about your professional life (talking about your business/your farm).

Below are the top three reasons you should be using LinkedIn Groups to connect with your target audience.

1. It is a way to get past the gate

LinkedIn has a closed-gate policy, meaning you cannot connect with someone unless you are allowed to enter. For this reason, you need to have a way to connect with someone and LinkedIn Groups are a great way to do that. If this person is an active LinkedIn user, they may have started some discussions, which is a great place for you to chime in. After you know the person has seen you on LinkedIn and conversed with you, it is a great time to ask to connect with them.

2. Professional discussions

One of the greatest things to me about LinkedIn is the professional atmosphere it has, something especially helpful for us agvocates. The discussions tend to be more focused on factual sharing of information and less on opinions with no factual backing.

3. Decision leaders are there

I have mentioned this in a previous post, but I think it has merit here too. More CEO’s are on LinkedIn than any other form of social media. This can be especially important when trying to sway the opinions of these decision makers to stop them from making uninformed decisions about their company policies.

I hope this helps you find a new social media medium to connect with your target audience. LinkedIn is a great way to connect and target individuals.

Top 5 Reasons to Use LinkedIn for Agvocacy

top_5A lot of people ask why they should use LinkedIn, when they already have Twitter and Facebook. Here is my explanation for the three main social media sites.

Twitter: I have never met you, but I want to listen to you

LinkedIn: I have met you, but I don’t want to listen to your personal stuff

Facebook: I know you very well, and I want to listen to you

If this definition isn’t enough, here are five reasons to use LinkedIn.

1. Decision makers are on LinkedIn

While the consumer is the person that buys the food in the end, farmers actually sell their products to companies and organizations. If you want to connect with decision-makers in these companies to stop them from making uninformed decisions, then LinkedIn should be an important avenue to connect with these decision makers. According to a survey by CEO.com and Brandfog, nearly 26 percent of fortune 500 CEO’s are on LinkedIn, compared to only 7.6 percent using Facebook.

2. Groups

Groups are a place for people with similar interests to have conversations and meet people in the industry. Whenever I write a blog, I always put it on the LinkedIn groups that the post relates with. From my experience, if someone has taken the time to join a group, they tend to be involved in the conversations in the group.

3. Professional atmosphere

While Twitter and Facebook are where the majority of people are, the downside to this is you have to wade through a lot of people that are not very, for the lack of a better word, professional. On LinkedIn, you are more likely to have professional, well-informed conversations with people than on Twitter and Facebook.

4. Connect with your connections

LinkedIn can be a great way to connect with someone without really having to see personal information because LinkedIn is NOT a personal social media platform. Use LinkedIn as a way to make professional connections, which means you need to have professional things on your LinkedIn account, not how your day is going. Whenever I meet someone for the first time, I usually add them on LinkedIn so I can keep tabs on them.

5. Stalking

This may be scary to some, but this is really one of the greatest things about LinkedIn, it allows for stalking at a whole new level. LinkedIn allows you to see a lot of professional information, including the company they work for, job title, etc. I always use LinkedIn to find people that work for companies, something that works really well with reason number one above. Once you find the person, join the groups they are in and have conversations with them. After a while you will have a new connection with a decision-maker in a company.

While LinkedIn can seem like a big and scary place, we all thought that about Twitter and Facebook when we first started using those platforms. LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for agvocacy and is a social media platform that has mostly informed individuals. That sounds like a place agvocates should be.

Get your LinkedIn account today and connect with me so we can get you rolling on LinkedIn.