LinkedIn can provide many opportunities to build your professional presence online.
In addition, you have an even greater opportunity to build new relationships by joining LinkedIn Groups, where you can expand your network further around your niche markets, passions, and interests. The question is, how should you go about promoting your own content in order to gain visibility without appearing to be overly promotional?
Build Credibility and Trust First in LinkedIn Groups
You should always be thinking first about how you can add value to LinkedIn members before thinking about promoting your own content. Also, don't forget about the group manager. Build a relationship with the group manager and earn their trust as well! Your posts are much more likely to be accepted and well-received by a manager who knows who you are, especially if they can generate discussion or engagement.
Try participating in existing discussions that have numerous members engaged. Read the comments of others and add your own. If you build up your credibility within a group, members will be much more likely to appreciate the content you share later on, even if you link to your own helpful material.
Whether you are submitting your own blog posts or even 3rd party posts as profile status updates or posting to LinkedIn Groups, you should do so in a way that is authentic and genuine. An example of this would be posing a question that is related to your article, or asking for feedback. Weaving in your own comments within an update is much more effective than simply posting a link.
LinkedIn Group Managers are not looking for their discussion boards to be cluttered by self-promotional links. I can't tell you how many times I've deleted posts in the group that I manage because they did not initiate any kind of discussion and were simply promotional in nature. (Learn more about how LinkedIn is combatting self-promotional and spammy content in groups)
Avoid Posting to LinkedIn Groups from Your Profile Status Updates
If you use the “share” button from a status update to post to LinkedIn Groups, there is no longer any guarantee that the update will even make it to the discussions area. This is because group managers are desperately trying to manage the volume of spammy posts coming into their groups.
Managers have the ability to flag your posts with links as promotional and move them to the “Promotions” tab, or they can also simply delete your posts. Recently LinkedIn has created a new algorithm to help group managers automatically filter out promotional posts.
Post Manually to LinkedIn Groups
If you truly want to position yourself as a thought leader, your best bet is to post discussions manually to LinkedIn Groups. If you include a link, make sure that you are truly adding value and initiating a discussion with members through a question or comment. You want to ensure that a group manager is not going to see your post as self-promotional. If you're a smart marketer, people will not realize that you are marketing to them. This means that what you post to LinkedIn Groups needs to be helpful and relevant.
Creatively Engage LinkedIn Group Members Through Dialogue
Consider using dialogue to add value to your discussion post. If your post engages group members (this one below had 10 comments at the time this article was published), it's much less likely to be removed by the group manager. For example, I would never consider moving a post that received nice engagement into the “Promotions” tab where it essentially disappears. In fact, I even made this particular discussion post the “Manager's Choice” for awhile.
Be Selective and Strategic in the Way That You Post to Groups
John McTigue over at Kuno Creative makes a good point about this. I really like his idea of making your blog post a part of the commentary within a discussion rather than simply posting a link to your blog post to start a discussion. John suggests that you post the central theme of your blog post as a question or comment and include the link to your blog post in the comments you make related to an existing discussion. Fantastic recommendation.
Ultimately, it's a good idea to save you best posts for promoting in LinkedIn Groups. Post selectively to relevant groups that you belong to, and get creative on engaging members to comment and discuss your post.
What are your thoughts on sharing your own blog content in LinkedIn groups? Does it bother you when others do this?