Tapping the Power of LinkedIn Groups

Your dream boardroom where all of the world’s businesses vie for an opportunity to work with your firm is not on the top floor of a smart Manhattan building or a downtown business center. It is in your pocket, your brief case and on your lap where you can disappear and reappear at will to listen to the frantic bidding during commercial breaks from True Blood or The Simpsons.

This magical place is in Linkedin groups.

As creative business-minded people, it is no secret that at least a quarter of the many hours that entrepreneurs spend launching a venture is spent acquiring resources. Where entrepreneurs often fall short is an inability to find new applications for already acquired and perhaps limited resources in order to create value.

LinkedIn, the professional networking powerhouse of the web, has become known for connecting business professionals, providing high quality news content and the ability to join groups by organizational affiliation, profession or interest.

Linkedin groups have the potential to expand the reach of your business and to receive the best value for your limited funds. LinkedIn allows members to create groups based around any interest for free.

A Linkedin group can allow a dress designer in Texas to create a group of overseas manufacturers to offer competitive quotes for mass production, or a wine bar in New York to discover the best independent vineyards of North Carolina.

It can be as simple as creating your group and attracting the right members. Write an attractive group description to catch the attention of your target audience. Then decide whether you want an open group or a private group which will require you to approve or decline members.

Make regular posts aimed at the groups’ purpose and continue to invite connections that may be of value to the group. Linkedin groups give you the power to create your own market space and connect with firms who function at every part of the supply chain.

Lomar Osbourne is a journalist, entrepreneur and publicist using traditional, social media, and unique integrated ways of bringing markets to what they love. A senior at Wake Forest University, among many activities, Lomar is a social media manager intern with Martin Brossman & Associates and a publicist intern with ClearSight Publicity.

Martin Brossman & Associates is a Raleigh based firm providing social media training, workshops, management, talks and advising to micro businesses, small and medium sized businesses, professionals, associations and communities. Contact info@martinbrossmanandassociates.com.

Google+

Google+ is not the house on the hill, but it’s a good start.

Imagine the social media netscape as real estate. Every structure has its own unique qualities and is currently on the market with spaces to rent, to own and to expand.

Facebook is a huge subdivision of diverse homes situated somewhere easily accessible to nearby schools, shopping and dining. The neighborhood is also relatively easy to enter with lots and homes available on every budget.  These homes have optional top of the line appliances, hardwood floors, modern yet classic design and the ability to appeal to a wide variety of homeowners with minor tweaks; these homes are built to last and be used daily.

Twitter’s homes also appeal to a variety of people as vacation homes. They are not as functional as Facebook’s homes but, they meet the immediate need for a quick getaway.

LinkedIn is an upscale, downtown office building that hosts some of the largest and most influential businesses in the world.

MySpace has been condemned and the Homeowners Association is working to have the eyesore demolished so something better can be built. MySpace is also occupied by droves of garage band squatters.

On a vacant lot in some town that doubles as a travel destination and a business hub, an apartment building has been built. It is functional enough to be used as a permanent home, but stylish and inexpensive enough to serve as a second home for vacations and business trips. This apartment building is Google+.

Google+ is formatted as a streaming news feed like Twitter, but with the added benefit of being able to target a post to a particular audience without a word count restriction. (You could say, like… Facebook.)

With many of the favorite features of the  social media powerhouses of Facebook and Twitter, Google+:

  • recommends people to follow,
  • people you know,
  • gives you the ability to group your connections into categories and,
  • to broadcast post to those particular audiences without broadcasting to other groups or the public.

Organizing connections into groups called Circles makes it easy to send out a quick message, whether it’s talking about about the company baseball game to colleagues, or sharing baby pictures of the new family member with college classmates from a decade ago.

Google+ has a lot of the great standard features of internet social media sites to tickle the fancy of the social media butterfly if approached in a smart, fresh way.

Aside from the seamlessly integrated messenger, the ability to instantly upload even large posts containing multimedia and the clean minimalistic design, Google+ integrates all of the features given you on your desktop browser with your mobile browser, the Google+ app for iOS and Android. Unlike Twitter and Facebook, Google+ on mobile allows you to search for connections, to create events and utilize all Google+ features with the same ease and speed as with your desktop so there is no need to ever log in from your desktop.

A few of my favorite features of Google+ are Local, Events, Photos, and Google Hangouts.

Google+ Local

The local section makes it easy to discover new neighborhood destinations or great restaurants near your hotel on vacation. It uses GPS technology to find only the results that are relevant to you, helping you find restaurant and club reviews and what’s hot around the city.

Google+ Events

Events on Google+  is an event planner’s best friend. It allows you to create quick and stunning invitations to organize a meeting, a reunion with friends, or a party. Google+ Events allows the guests to be the event photographer with instant live photo sharing so that you never have to worry about tracking down the best pictures from the office holiday party. All of the memories are all in one place without the need to send out the usual pleading email for pictures and no filtering through the responses. Best of all, accepted event invitations automatically sync with Google Calendar.

Google+ Photos
Google+ Photos is like that little vacuum, floor cleaning, robot that became so popular several years back. Not that it makes your photos disappear, but it keeps them from cluttering up valuable space, like your phone’s already limited drive space. Google+ allows you to automatically and instantly upload pictures and video from your phone’s hard drive directly to a private photo album online without the need for wires or synching with your pc first.  It makes it easy to upload and share your memories, or keep them for your private collection, and keeps  your phone clutter-free so that no memory is ever lost and that there is always room for new ones.

Google+ Hangouts

Google+ Hangouts succeeds where Facebook failed with its recent Skype integration into Facebook chat. Creating a Hangout on Google+ allows you to invite your friends to a traditional chat room setting with nontraditional features. In a Hangout you and friends can share text and audio as well as all of your cameras simultaneously so you can come face to face with your loved ones and coworkers from across town or across the world. Hangouts allow you to host free virtual meetings our casual conversation with friends. Google+ takes Hangouts from awesome to amazing with the ability to broadcast live to the world with just a few clicks unleash your inner artist or your inner broadcaster.

Google+? Thumbs Up

Google+ might be the next level of social media at our finger tips, eliminating the need for multiple accounts on multiple sites like uStream and Picasa. Amazingly efficient and effortlessly integrated into the family of Google products, Google+ combines the best of Facebook and Twitter with a few smart, new features for promising results.

Lomar Osbourne is a journalist, entrepreneur and publicist using traditional, social media, and unique integrated ways of bringing markets to what they love. A senior at Wake Forest University, among many activities, Lomar is a part time intern in social media management with Martin Brossman & Associates, and publicity with ClearSight Publicity. Follow on Twitter @LomarOsbourne.

Martin Brossman & Associates is a Raleigh based firm providing social media training, workshops, management, talks and advising to micro businesses, small and medium sized businesses, professionals, associations and communities. Contact info@martinbrossmanandassociates.com.