LinkedIn Groups offers one of the best ways to make the most of your social media engagement time, but you must adopt the right strategy to be successful. This article will show you how.

LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 groups, but you can’t possibly be effective and spend enough time to make a difference in 50 groups.

Identify the Best Group Opportunities

Evaluate the groups you’ve joined or intend to join and focus on the top 3 to 5 groups that most accurately represent your target demographic. Also, you’ll want to choose groups that don’t have a huge membership.

Find groups that represent your target demographic.

Target the Most Popular Discussions in Each Group

The most “popular” discussions within a group generally get the most visibility. These are the topics where members are most actively engaged and they feature discussions that you will want to weigh in on. The most popular discussions are at the top of the group discussion page, and typically there will be quite a few comments associated with them for you to review and learn from.

Participate in popular discussions.

If your comments add value to the popular discussions, members will begin to recognize you as a thought leader within the group.

Start Your Own Discussion

Starting your own discussion thread is also a powerful tool within a group, but you must be strategic with this. I recommend that you wait to start your own discussion until after you’ve spent some time participating in the top discussions first (#2).

In addition, observe the contributions of the most active group members in order to understand their concerns, goals and objectives. What seems to be important to them?

Also study prior popular discussions. What topics have resonated with members? In starting your own discussion, pose a question, ask for help or advice or post a relevant and interesting article or resource for the group’s benefit. Your goal with starting your own discussion is to encourage as much engagement as possible!

Start a discussion by asking a compelling question.

Start a discussion by providing a helpful tutorial for the group members.

If you’re truly engaging members of the group with the discussions you initiate, you’ll have the opportunity to be recognized as a “Top Influencer” in the group page sidebar, which can help you build visibility and authority within the group.

It’s extremely important to add value when starting discussions and avoid promoting your own products, services or content. After you’ve earned some credibility within your top groups, it’s acceptable to post one of your own articles from time to time. Just make sure that what you post to the group answers a question or solves a problem with members, and don’t ever post sales-related material.

Follow Up and Follow Through

One of the disadvantages of LinkedIn Groups is that it’s difficult to keep up with updates unless you proactively visit your top groups as recommended. Make sure to keep up with the conversations you’re participating in.

Don’t let too much time lapse and don’t leave a conversation open. Keep your comments fresh and interesting to demonstrate your commitment to your groups.