Wednesday, January 30, 2013

4 Ways to Prompt Discussion in LinkedIn Groups

For me this has always been easy, but it seems like there are many people who use LinkedIn Groups from "afar" but are not sure what to write or say.

Here are a few ideas I use to prompt discussion within LinkedIn Groups:
  1. Ask Easy-to-Answer Questions
  2. Rally the Troops
  3. Agitate People
  4. Post LinkedIn Related Advice
If you do ANY of these things, you will prompt more discussion when you are using LinkedIn Groups, and people will take notice of who you are.

1. Ask Easy-to-Answer Questions

I've done this well, and I've done this not-so-well.  When you ask questions, it puts people in position to showcase their expertise, and most people like to be in those positions.

Thought provoking questions are great, and if the right people see them, you can have a larger discussion on your hands than you originally bargained to get.  (Maybe not! :)

However, most people do not really want to commit very much in writing, especially on a public forum, like LinkedIn Groups.

Therefore, if you ask questions that are easy to answer and do not take much time (or often thought), more people tend to answer those questions.

Bad Example: What do you think about social media?

Good Example: Which social media platform do you use most often?

In the first example, it might lead to some great answers, but having to take time to answer might be too daunting for most people to want to take time to answer.

In that second example, a person can decide to answer with a simple 1 or 2 word response, or that person can decide to explain why he or she uses the "preferred method" over the others.  It makes the respondent feel like it won't take 10 minutes to answer, unless he or she WANTS to take that time.

Once people answer, you can always ask more specific questions, based on the answer they provide.

2. Rally the Troops

If you hang around a LinkedIn Group long enough, you will find certain things resonate with most of the people inside that group.

Begin a post that shows your support of this point.  Almost certainly, there will be people "Liking" your post, if not leaving a comment as a sign of support.

Either way, people will get to know you, and you will have (likely) started a discussion.

3. Agitate People

Besides learning what resonates with people within a LinkedIn Group, hang around long enough and you will find the polarizing topics.

If you want to ignite discussion, post something that establishes your view on that polarizing issue.  This is a high percentage shot to get people to respond.  Most people love controversy, and they love explaining why they're right.

Example #1: Thank goodness Obama got elected.

Example #2: 4 More Years of Obama?  Yikes!

Either way, do you think some people might notice...and feel the need to comment on EITHER of these?  How about BOTH?!?

If you want discussion, be a leader and choose a side...even if it does not really represent how you feel, but it's better if it does.

4. Post LinkedIn Related Advice

Hey, if we're using a LinkedIn Group, we're on a LinkedIn platform, right?  Why wouldn't we want advice how to use it better?

Maybe people already know that advice, but it will be new for some people.  However, we're all looking to find ways to be better at what we do.  If we share LinkedIn tips with other people using LinkedIn, is there any way that does NOT get attention?  (Answer: Only if nobody sees it.)

This is the easiest grab of all.  People will respond if they see it, especially if you make an observation that really helped you, because it will probably help someone else, too.

How do you get people to talk more in LinkedIn Groups?

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