The power of LinkedIn groups for business networking
Next week, I will be attending Buy Yorkshire, Yorkshire’s biggest business conference.
It’s a fantastic opportunity to meet and network with a huge and diverse range of business owners and B2B organisations, and is one of the highlights in my annual calendar.
It is also a perfect example of the power of LinkedIn for business.
Buy Yorkshire is run by Yorkshire Mafia, a business networking group that started life as a LinkedIn group. Even the first conference in 2011 drew in 70 exhibitors and 1200 registered delegates. This has now grown to over 180 exhibition stands and more than 5000 registered delegates in 2014. All from one LinkedIn group.
Tips on using and managing LinkedIn for business networking
- I get around 40% of my new business from LinkedIn. Much of this is as a result of the time I dedicate to talking and sharing knowledge in discussion groups. Yorkshire Mafia is one of the most active B2B groups.
- Many organisations think they need to set up their own group. But if you’re just starting out, joining an established group is likely to get you quicker results.
- Be sensitive to each group’s rules around promotional posts. Yorkshire Mafia has a strict no sales policy. But whichever groups you decide to use, launching into a sales pitch on arrival will not be received well. The key is to be generous and share your knowledge. Offer help and solve people’s problems. Your generosity will soon be noticed and people will remember you being helpful next time they are looking for a supplier.
- Prior to any business networking event, I contact clients who are attending to let them know I’ll be there and see if they want to arrange a meet up.
- I also look out to see if speakers and potential clients post links through Twitter or LinkedIn, and share them. Many will often respond, so you have already made a connection before you arrive.
One of the talks I found most useful at the Buy Yorkshire conference last year was by Chris Brown: Hire, market and sell with LinkedIn. He talked about the huge potential of LinkedIn for a range of different business functions. I blogged about his talk and shared the blog through LinkedIn and Twitter. It generated some great post-event discussions.
This year I’m also booked on to see Laurence Bret-Stern, who is the Marketing Director at Linkedin. Other people I’m especially looking forward to seeing include Janet Street Porter, Karren Brady and Paul Lindley from Ella’s kitchen. As regular readers will know, I love cooking – and my one year old loves the Ella’ Kitchen recipes!
Other tips on using social media to get the most out of conferences:
- Some tips on getting started on LinkedIn
- Tips on completing and optimising your profile
- How to get the most out of conferences using social media
If you are attending Buy Yorkshire next week, do tweet using the hashtag #BuyYorkshire and come say hello on the day.
Find me on Twitter at @jrconsultancy
To find out more about last year’s event, follow the links below.
- Buy Yorkshire: Yorkshire Mafia 2013 annual conference – day one
- Buy Yorkshire: Yorkshire Mafia 2013 annual conference – day two
- How to listen with social media: Rob Wilmot talk at Buy Yorkshire 2013
For more tips and ideas on LinkedIn strategy and LinkedIn business networking, sign up to receive my blog direct to your inbox every Wednesday.
I also offer LinkedIn training and workshops.
Hope to see you next week!