Beyond B-School
Using LinkedIn Groups to Make Great Contacts
With Jason Alba
With Jason Alba

The ‘Groups’ option on LinkedIn offers the most important opportunity to proactively grow both your personal brand and your professional network.  In his how-to, click-by-click presentation, Jason Alba demonstrates how to use the ‘Groups’ feature to identify the right contacts for you and shows you why you’ll want to add this social networking strategy to your repertoire of job search tools. 

Key Points

  • Why you should use ‘Groups’:
    • Promote your brand (your value proposition);
    • Find people relevant to you and communicate with them as if they are 1st degree contacts; and
    • Be discovered by people seeking a new hire with your skills.
  • To be effective, focus on three aspects of ‘Groups’:
    • Join the right groups and the right number of groups (up to 50);
    • Identify helpful contacts within those groups; and
    • Actively post your knowledge and resources with as many group members as possible.

NOTE:  To find the Groups you may want to join, the user interface and menus you see on your page may be different from what you see in this presentation, as LinkedIn is in the process of rapid changes.  To search for available groups of importance to you, you can go to this page:

  • With ‘Groups,’ you can send a message to someone who is not a first-degree contact. If you ‘Invite to Connect’ someone, this fellow group member - who wasn’t previously in your network - could soon become one of your first-degree contacts.
  • Use ‘Discussions’ within ‘Groups’ to share your brand once you are a member
    • Click on “Discussions’ and raise a question or post an item of interest to you that shares something about your expertise and what you do.
    • This is similar to what you can do with LinkedIn Answers but, in ‘Groups’, your message goes to a target audience – those with similar interests because they’ve joined the same group.
    • Starting a discussion helps you show your expertise, passion and initiative, show your willingness to share ideas and gives you an aura of approachability and helpfulness..
    • In addition to starting a discussion, you can ‘Comment’ on other discussions taking place.  This makes you a participant and puts your brand in front of the person who started the discussion.
    • To limit the number of unwanted notifications or information you receive from certain groups, go into ‘Your Settings’ under ‘More’ on the top menu bar and remove yourself from notifications by checking the appropriate boxes.

Your Next Steps / Tips for Leveraging Groups on LinkedIn to Make the Right Connections

  • Go to ‘Groups’ on the menu bar at the top of the LinkedIn home page. Click there and you’ll see all the groups you’re already in and a few other menus.  NOTE:  To find Groups you may want to join, your user interface and menus may be different from what you see in this presentation, as LinkedIn is in the process of rapid changes.  To search for available groups of importance to you, you can go to this page:
  • In the ‘Search Groups’ box on the left side of the page, you’ll look for groups that “are in your space” -- that is, they relate to your profession, industry or geographic area.
  • Assess the size of the group. You’ll want groups with a lot of members to offer more opportunities for contacts.
  • Once you become a Member of a group, click on the ‘Members’ tab to scroll through the list and identify relevant contacts. The taglines and titles will help you sort.
  • Start a discussion by posting a comment or question relevant to your interests and skills.
  • Comment on other discussions.
  • Use the ‘Jobs’ tab to help you network into the person who posted the job opening. (This is true throughout LinkedIn, not just in ‘Groups.’)

You may want to look at job postings to see how many connections you have who can refer you and/or if another group member shared the job. Reach out to these potential contacts.

During my job search back in 2006, I realized there was a huge gap in what job seekers had at their fingertips, … there are plenty of job boards (40k+), and plenty of books and articles, but there was not a TOOL to do what we needed to do.  JibberJobber is that tool, and you can learn more about it at  I wrote a book, I’m on LinkedIn — Now What??? in September 2007.  This book has sold thousands of copies and has been a significant factor in becoming a “professional speaker.”  In fact, all of the speaking opportunities I’ve had have been a result of people finding or reading this book.  I coauthored I’m on Facebook — Now What??? which came out early 2008, and helped broaden my focus.  Of course I speak to job search and networking groups, to unemployed or employed people.  I also speak to associations, universities, marketing groups or clubs, etc.  I am the creator of the CEO Training webinars, helping people become the CEO of Me, Inc., with titles such as Hands on LinkedIn, Hands on Facebook, Write your book!, and Blog Marketing 201 – 501.