I do an annual LinkedIn User Survey, and Groups is always one of the participants' favorite features. Why? Because you can be exposed to and interact with a targeted audience even though you may not be officially connected to them.


There are almost 1.6 million groups to choose from, and you can join up to fifty of them. Of course, the smartest folks on LinkedIn take advantage of all fifty and wish they could be in 500. But whether you decide to join five or fifty, how do you know which ones are right for you?


Well, you want to be where the action is! It's kind of like hanging out at the corner tavern or neighborhood meeting spot. You go there to catch up on what's going on, help others, and find out who can help you. That's what some of the groups (especially industry groups) are like on LinkedIn. 


Follow these steps, and you'll find your industry's most important hangout spots:


People in bar

  • Go to Profile>View Profile on the top toolbar.

  • Click your industry (located just below your headline).

  • This will take you to the Advanced People Search screen where you'll see a list of everyone in your network who has listed the same industry.

  • Enter all or part of your industry name in the Keyword box on the top left. This will enable you to search the entire LinkedIn database rather than just your network. If your industry category has more than one word (e.g., Professional Training & Coaching), you will get a broader search if you use only the word you think most people are including in their profile (e.g., training).

  • Change Sort by from Relevance to Connections.

  • You now have a list of all the people in your industry across the globe who have that keyword somewhere in their profile. The person with the most connections is at the top of the list. In other words, you have a list of the most connected people in your industry (listed in order from most to least connected).

  • Now scroll down and look for individuals whose professional interests are similar to yours. When you find some good candidates, look at their profiles and see what LinkedIn groups they've joined.

  • Make a list of the groups that you are not in but should be in and join them ASAP.

  • Repeat these steps for secondary industries you may be involved in. Better yet (and don't tell anyone I gave you this top-secret advice) try the industries your customers are in. That's sure to be a home run.
I hope this tip helps you figure out just where you should be hanging out.  
For more advice on joining groups, go to the Free Resources section of my website and check out LinkedIn Groups-Ca$h in On This Powerful Tool.