Eureka! After much searching you have found EXACTLY the right person you want to contact on LinkedIn.
Alas, they are not a 1st or 2nd degree connection. And the only way you can contact them is if you pay for LinkedIn’s premium service at $29.95/month. The service comes with some other nice benefits but by far the most useful feature is the ability to contact others not in your network.
So, do you fork over the monthly fee? Or is there another option?
How to contact someone outside your network for free
There is a way to contact others even if you are not a 1st or 2nd degree connection–if you both belong to the same group. And this is MUCH easier than you would think. For example, I belong to Social Media Marketing. And so do 140,000 other digital marketing professionals. I also belong to some other digital marketing groups. Almost everyone in my industry that I’ve needed to contact is in one of the groups. The big secret — I’ve joined a group just so I could contact someone and not pay the hefty fee.
How to join a group
Groups are free to join and are based on similar business interests, backgrounds, and other relevant experience. With over 650,000 groups on LinkedIn, the chances are good that your contact belongs to some of them. Here’s how to join one:
- Find the group you want to join. If you see it listed on your dream contact’s profile (and it makes sense for you to join) just click on the logo. If you want to find other groups to join (and you definitely should) simply look at the top of the LinkedIn navigation bar, mouse over “Groups” and scroll down to “Groups You May Like”
- Apply to the group. All you have to do is click and then wait to be approved. If it’s a large group (many thousands) then usually it’s automated and you’ll be approved within hours. If it’s a smaller more specific group — such as former employees of a midsized company– then an actual person is probably doing the approving and closely checking out your profile. That could take several days.
- Once approved, set your preferences. Do you want the logo of the group showing up on your profile? Do you want to get sent updates? In what order do you want them to show up? Go to you profile, scroll on edit, and then make your changes.
Other reasons to join a group
Aside from getting access to contact people not in your circle, there are many other reasons to join groups
- It allows other people (like recruiters) to contact you
- It reflects well on you that you belong to key industry groups
- Some particularly active groups have great information and are generous with their time in helping you out
- If your dream contact is not in a key industry group, there is an even better contact who is
- Some groups organize events or speaker panels, and as a group member, you’ll find out
- You can message others to get your questions answered or answer the questions of others, showing your knowledge. In “open” groups, those messages are searchable and discoverable by the search engines, which boosts your digital profile
- Check out what Groups key people in your industry belong to
- See what Groups LinkedIn suggests for you
- Don’t see the ideal group? Start one on your own
Tell us a story (in the comments) of how you reached someone from Groups, which started the ball rolling.
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