We are pleased to have guest writer Ryan Jenkins doing a guest blog post for us today.  Ryan is a speaker and blogger, and his post is all about leveraging the growth potential of LinkedIn Groups.

In our digital paced culture, there are countless ways to grow an audience. But which ones really work? I recently had great success leveraging LinkedIn Groups to boost my subscribers and blog readers. Here is how I did it and how you can do the same.

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LinkedIn Groups provide a place for professionals in the same industry or with similar interests to share content, find answers, post and view jobs, make business contacts, and establish themselves as industry experts. I leverage LinkedIn Groups to connect with like minded individuals who can collaborate over new ideas. I have joined 46 different groups, started my own group and actively contribute to most groups. I post to my blog twice a week and if any of my content is applicable to a particular group, I will post a link to the blog post along with a thought-provoking discussion question.

I usually get a few likes or comments per discussion post. However, I posted my article “What Everybody Ought To Know About…The Myth Of Experience” into the “Future Trends” LinkedIn Group on Sunday April 28th and (to date) it’s generated 32 likes and 98+ comments. The next closest article in the group has only 39 comments.

I do not share these stats to impress you but rather impress upon you how valuable LinkedIn Groups can be for your brand or business.

7 Must-Haves To Grow An Audience Via LinkedIn Groups

1. Value-Add Content. The content that you share must bring value to your intended audience. If the content falls flat, you’re sunk. Nothing else will matter.

2. Catchy Title. Ensure the title of your discussion is succinct and attention grabbing. My title was: “Is experience irrelevant these days?” And if you choose to add additional details, use it to create more interest. I used: “Before you answer that…consider these trends.”

3. Relevant Content. The content shared must relate to the theme of the group. For example: Don’t post “How To Perfect Your Golf Swing” in the Future Trends group.

4. Concise Content. You will capture more readers if your content is scannable, scrollable, and skim-able. Stay clear of long and heavy content. Shoot for less than 500 words.

5. Engaging Picture. Use the “Attach a link” function when posting a discussion. This will then add the picture associated with your article. Secondly, ensure your profile picture is inviting and it communicates your a pleasant person. A close-up shot of your smiling face is ideal. Remember, these 2 pictures are the billboard of your discussion.

6. Controversial. Content that takes a stance and goes against the grain is naturally going to stir-up more conversation. The haters will hate (just check out some of the comments I got on my discussion). Don’t be afraid to be contrarian. But do not tolerate malicious comments. And encourage people to keep the discussion constructive and productive.

7. Established Group. Make sure the groups you contribute to are active and have a large enough audience to make it worth your time. As a reference, Future Trends has 229,000 members and multiple discussions are posted everyday.

Leverage these must-haves and you will find how truly rewarding it can be when you serve up valuable content that stretches the thinking of the group and creates productive discussion. Create your epic content and go grow your audience via LinkedIn Groups.

Question: How have you leveraged LinkedIn Groups for increased engagement around your brand or business?

About the Author: Ryan Jenkins is a next generation speaker and blogger. His content helps his online and offline audiences leverage today’s tools, trends, and talent to thrive in tomorrow’s multi-generational marketplace. Connect with Ryan on his Blog / Twitter / Facebook / LinkedIn / YouTube or email at rj@ryan-jenkins.com.