Did you drink the Koolaid? Are you convinced that just by having a group logo or name attached to your online profile on Linkedin or Facebook that you are somehow more desirable. Do you believe this will boost your visibility and credibility? GET OVER IT. The reality is that the only way group membership makes any difference is when you actually get involved. That’s right, you have to participate. It is by sharing your expertise, contributing your experience, and actively engaging in discussions that you will actually go farther. Sorry if this shatters your illusions. Racking up a whole bunch of group memberships on LinkedIn really isn’t going to help your net worth.
So take a look here at 5 Really Great Reasons NOT to Join Another Group, oh and this applies to live as well as virtual or offline as well as online!
#1 Don’t join a group just because you are invited. You really need to explore any group you are invited to thoroughly and determine if you will provide value to the group and if it will provide value to you. When you can’t answer both questions in the affirmative, don’t join. Many people invite their entire list of contacts just to build numbers and look popular, they don’t drive engagement, focus, or value. In fact, it was Groucho Marx, the great comedian who once said “I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.” (Group and club in this case are synonymous.)
#2 Don’t join a group just because it is related to your industry. There are a million and one groups out there, many of them are dead as in no conversations or discussions active. In fact, many haven’t seen any activity in months. And in other cases the only activity is spammers or sales pitches (hmm is there a difference between those two?)
#3 Don’t join a group because all of your peers are in it. Really? So if they all jumped off a cliff would you go too? This gets back to my follow the flock and you’ll end up a lamb chop principle. Be different, be unique, be yourself, don’t be like everyone else. How incredibly boring. If this is a group you know, like, trust and enjoy then by all means go for it. But just because it is your peers doesn’t make it worth joining.
#4 Don’t join a group because they put you in it. This happens all the time on Facebook and is incredibly annoying and can clutter your email like no one’s business. It seems there is a rampant disregard for choice and many who open up groups, just arbitrarily put their friends and colleagues in them. And we stay because we don’t want to offend them. That’s nuts, get out if it isn’t for you. Oh and if you don’t want to get the emails, it may well not be for you.
#5 Don’t join a group because you want to belong. I’ll confess I’ve done this a time or two and it never works well. It is the WRONG reason to join a group. The only reason to join is because you feel it will be of benefit to the group members and to yourself, not for any other reason. In fact, I know that in internet marketing a ton of people join high end groups (masquerading as coaching programs) because they want to belong. I’ve researched this with members, it’s shockingly true.
Here is the bottom line. Random activity of any kind achieves random results. In order to make joining groups on Linkedin, Facebook and other networks, both online and offline, worthwhile, you have to get involved. When you don’t have time for the group or lack interest, don’t join it. There is no benefit in empty belonging particularly if it is going to cost you money.
And often you would be better served by starting your very own group in one of these places and leading it in a manner that truly serves and supports your success. Then you get to control who joins and who doesn’t and show an active commitment to the value produced.
What are your favorite groups? What networks?