If you are a Member of The Institute and you are on LinkedIn, you'll want to join our group.
Once you have joined any group on LinkedIn, you can go to the group page and you'll see something like the screen above.
- The OVERVIEW tab gives you an overview of the recent group activity.
- The DISCUSSIONS tabs shows you all of the discussions taking place within the group.
- The NEWS tab shows news items that have been posted for discussion.
- The UPDATES tab gives you a weekly summary of all the activity within the group.
- The MEMBERS tab provides a list of the group members.
- The SETTINGS tab allows you to set your preferences for the group, and that's what we'll be exploring here.
The SETTINGS tab give you control over a number of things that are quite useful, and understanding how they work can help you get the most from your participation on LinkedIn groups.
As you can see above, the first setting is the VISIBILITY SETTINGS. There is only one option here, and it allows you to choose whether you want to display the group logo on your personal LinkedIn profile page. This is self-explanatory, but it is nice to know that you have the option. Kind of like a lapel pin--you can choose to wear it or take it off. Do you want to "broadcast" your membership or not?
The second group of settings is CONTACT SETTINGS. The first two setting are email related. You can specify which email address you want to use for any group communications.
You can also choose whether or not you want to receive a "DIGEST EMAIL" which is a summary of all of the group activity. You can choose a daily or a weekly summary email. If you are busy like most of us and don't spend a lot of time on LinkedIn, this can be a really useful feature and a huge time saver.
I have my account set to send me a daily digest email. This gives me a quick and easy way to see what's happening in the group without having to remember to look or take the time to login!
MEMBER MESSAGES is the last contact setting, and it simply allows you to specify whether or not members of the group can send you messages on LinkedIn. As simple as this is, it is really powerful.
I've always found LinkedIn to be a bit confusing in terms of how they let you communicate with other users. As you probably know, you can only send messages to your "friends." If another LinkedIn user is not in your network as a direct, first-level connection (e.g. a friend, not a friend-of-a-friend), you can't send them a message. To contact that person you have three options:
- Add them to your network. Once they are in your network you can send them a message.
- Ask a contact that you have in common for an "introduction" The catch here is that free accounts on LinkedIn only get 5 such "introductions."
- Use an "InMail." This is a paid feature that allows you to contact any user.
Luckily the MEMBER MESSAGES setting gives you another option!
When you check the box next to "Allow members of this group to send me messages via LinkedIn" it allows all of the members of the group to contact you as if you were already in their network. This is a powerful thing. It gives you a way to communicate privately and directly with other group members without having to add them to your network (or spend lots of money for InMail credits).
For example, Ted Dundie started a group discussion about way to connect with European buyers. Ted isn't yet a personal connection of mine, but because he has enabled group members to send him messages, when I click on his name and view his profile I have the option to send him a message:
As a fellow group member, this gives me a quick and easy way to contact Ted directly, start a conversation, and build a relationship.
It's a nice "trick" to know about LinkedIn and a powerful networking tool.