Yet dig a little deeper, and Polls becomes another tool with which to not only encourage conversation and dialogue within a smaller LinkedIn community, but also to do some research. Consider Ian McCarthy’s view on Polls, published on LinkedIn’s blog: “A key reason our members use LinkedIn Groups is to share insights with like-minded professionals. Voting on polls now provides the same quick convenience of clicking ‘Like,’ but with also the richer point of view of a comment.”
One of the best things about Polls is that it makes it easy for group members to engage. Let’s face it—we’re all busy, and we all have lots of things to be doing in addition to spending time on LinkedIn. Yet it’s a worthy time investment (more on that momentarily), and an experience you should try and maximize each time you’re on the site. And that’s where Polls come in.
How to Create Your Poll
Construct your poll with a clear, concise question, as well as in-depth answers that will give you a better sense of your community’s mindset. Go beyond the typical “Yes,” “No,” and “Maybe” responses. Instead, think about the information you want to gather from the poll, and write your answers accordingly. Even if you don’t get a lot of conversation outside of the poll, you’ll still have a more accurate sense of how your group community feels about the question at hand, and you can leverage that information to spark further discussion, inspire a piece of content or influence a part of your larger digital strategy.
The folks at LinkedIn are smart. The Polls are created in such a way that they can be shared with your networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and also embedded in blog posts, articles and the like. Yeah, you’re nodding now, as you’re seeing some of the possibilities, aren’t you?
The Icing on the Poll Cake
If you know us at all, you know we’re all about data. To our way of thinking, one of the best things about the LinkedIn Poll feature is the analytics that are a part of the functionality. The Polls results page will break down the respondents for you and you can see how CEOs might respond differently than someone else in an organization, or that men might trend in one direction and women in another. Here’s an example:
Why Should I Participate in a LinkedIn Group?
We can’t talk about a new Groups feature without talking about the larger issue of the LinkedIn Group. If you aren’t already participating in one or a few, consider this your gentle nudge to get going!
Once you search through the catalog of available Groups, you’ll see that they’re based on industries, schools, interests, job titles, companies and other relevant categories. Consider Groups an easy way to expand your LinkedIn presence, not to mention your virtual network. Maybe you want to connect with alumni from your college, or make more connections at your workplace. Or perhaps you want to trade information with people who work in the same industry. With Groups, you can do all of these things and more.
Not only can you benefit from the expertise and connections available in Groups, but they’ll work for you, too. Keep in mind that the main goal of LinkedIn is to stay visible, whether you’re making new connections, updating your profile, answering questions, posting content and sharing regular status updates or participating in Groups. Each time you perform an activity, you make yourself visible in LinkedIn’s fast-moving stream, and that gives your clients, prospects, peers, colleagues and maybe even a potential employer a chance to find out more about you.
How to Share Links With Your LinkedIn Groups
Posting content and participating on LinkedIn is really the secret to success – and that’s something that eludes many LinkedIn users. They think that if their profile is complete that their work is done. Well, they don’t call it a “business social network” for no reason. And if you want to reap any real benefit from LinkedIn, you’ve got to do that networking thing. The easiest way to do that is to regularly post status updates and share some of the interesting content you find on the web, posting it to your own profile and/or sharing it with the groups you belong to.
Sharing content with the groups you belong to is an integral part of building credibility on LinkedIn and really a sure fire way to let people see how you think, what you’re reading, what you’re interested in, etc. By sharing something publicly and to Groups, you’re increasing the size of the audience that will see that piece of information. When it comes to digital marketing, the more eyeballs that see what you post, the better, regardless of what platform you’re using to share the content.
It’s super easy to share a link not only to your profile as a status update, but to groups as well. If you’re not yet doing that, it’s as simple as checking the box like you see below, then selecting the groups that you’d like to share the link with. I do this on a regular basis and, as a result, meet tons of new people who are participating in the group and who like the content I share. Like this:
It’s a great way to show your fellow group members how you think and broaden your connection base at the same time. As with anything, don’t be spammy and share only links to your own blog; instead, share a diverse array of topics that might be of interest to the group and they’ll thank you for it.
So what about you? Do you belong to LinkedIn groups? If so, what’s your favorite group – and the one from which you derive the most benefit? Doesn’t this poll feature seem like something that could be beneficial? I’d love to know what you think.
And by all means, if we’re not yet connected on LinkedIn, pop on over and say hello.