LinkedIn groups are a niche marketers dream come true.   A commonality pulls groups members together – an alma mater, company, organization, passion, or other similar interests.  Last time I checked there are about 1.5 million groups on LinkedIn. They are a perfect place for advisors to get involved and find prospects.

 

But here is the real reason I love LinkedIn Groups…

 

Groups give you the ability to message other group members even if they are outside of your network. 

Without groups, if you want to send a message to someone who is a 2nd or 3rd degree connection, LinkedIn wants you to pay for InMails (aka. Upgrade your account).  Most people have the free version of LinkedIn, and while there may be certain scenarios where sending InMails makes sense, you can save your InMails by leveraging groups.   Here’s how…

 

Step 1: When you want to send a message to someone who is not a 1st degree connection, take a look at their profile and find a group in which they are a member. 

Step 2: Become a member of that same group.

Step 3: Go into the group and find the member total in the top right hand corner of the page.  This is a hyperlink that will take you to the member directory of that group.

Step 4: Run a keyword search with the prospects name in the member directory to find your targeted prospect or COI.

Step 5. Click on the “send message” link.

So the next time you run a search on LinkedIn and find what seems to be an ideal prospect that just so happens to be outside of your network, you can use this ninja-trick to send them a message. 

 

Warning:  If you do not see an option to send them a message that means the user has blocked this functionality.  This might be a time when it’s appropriate to send an InMail or invite someone to connect with a personalized message.  That said, most users let group members message them so use this trick to send as many messages to your target at no charge.

 

 

Kevin Nichols is a thought-leader with The Oechsli Institute, a firm that specializes in research and training for the financial services industry.  Follow him on twitter @KevinANichols   www.Oechsil.com