Groups Getting Renewed Focus at LinkedIn

Groups have been part of LinkedIn for a while. Their prominence on the platform was decreased a while ago when they were sidelined in favor of other services.

Now, LinkedIn plans to reintegrate groups into the main website and mobile app. The changes are expected to roll out by the end of the month.

What LinkedIn Group Changes Mean to You

  • Access will return to the main site (Currently you have to click the ‘work’ tab in the top right of the webpage and then find the link for groups)
  • Group activity will be added to the LinkedIn main feed
  • Group members will be able to edit comments
  • More capability to post video

Changes for Group Managers

Group managers will now be able to manage groups on mobile devices.

However, there is a lot of concern about another aspect of the change. LinkedIn has said that moderation queues will be temporarily disabled. This could open groups up to more spam and off-topic posts.

LinkedIn promises that improved moderation will be available a few months after the change.

Group announcements will be removed.

Short Term Pain, Long-Term Gain?

All these changes are sure to give group members and managers a few headaches. We all get in a groove with social and change can disrupt that. However, bringing groups back as a core part of LinkedIn is sure to be a benefit.

3 Ways to Get the Most from LinkedIn Groups

If your LinkedIn strategy does not include participation in LinkedIn groups, you are missing a powerful way to use the platform for your digital strategy. A complete LinkedIn profile and list of connections is great, but groups bring more opportunities.

There are groups for different subject areas, industries, professional associations, alma maters and more.

You need to be strategic to be successful with groups. Here are three important things to keep in mind.

Join Several Groups

Start by joining several groups. Select them based on your interests and because one or more of your connections or desired connections are members.

Only as a member will you be able to determine the level of activity, topic covered, and tone of the exchanges. You can maintain interest in the groups that are a good fit and drop off of ones that don’t contribute to your goals.

LinkedIn groups are communities, some of which are tight knit and lead to real-life relationships. It can take time to become a part of them.

Introduce yourself to fellow members. Start by making comments on posts that offer helpful insights.

Add posts that will be helpful to other members. Avoid direct sells of you or your services. The key is to build relationships that will lead to more connections, not direct sales.

Browse discussions and threads to get an idea of which questions have been already asked and answered, and which questions that haven’t been brought up yet. Before you jump in, you want to be familiar with the lay of the land.

In addition to content insight, gauge cultural norms of the group. How often do individual members post? What kinds of posts generate interest? What is the tone of the conversations? Etc.

A Strategic Approach Wins

These three tips will help you use groups to build genuine relationships that can help you to grow your position as a subject matter expert and the awareness of your brand and business. As with all relationship efforts, taking a strategic approach leads to the greatest successes.

3 Mistakes with LinkedIn Groups

An effective strategy on LinkedIn must include LinkedIn groups. Business people of all types should participate in groups. There are groups for just about every industry, interest area, alma mater and more.

Making groups work for you takes a strategic approach. Here are common mistakes to avoid.

Mistake #1: Lurking

Data shows that many LinkedIn users watch conversations but do not participate. Groups with thousands of members often see just a handful posting and commenting. The rest don’t do anything visible. They lurk.

Joining a group isn’t enough. You need to participate to really get value. Post content and comments that will get your name seen. Add to the group so members know the value you bring.

Mistake #2: One-Way

Many people use groups as a way to publish content. They share posts and then they leave. They don’t watch for comments and react to them. They don’t comment on others’ posts.

Give and take is required to be effective in groups. Make sure you are seen as actively engaged with your content as well as content posted by others.

Mistake #3 Impatience

Don’t cut and run too quickly. It can take months for your posts to get reactions and for people to respond to your comments. This is partly because most LinkedIn users aren’t on the platform daily and partly because it can take time for groups to warm up to new members.

Just like Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups are communities, some of which are tightly knit. It takes time to cultivate the trust that leads to worthwhile connections.

Stick to your strategy of making relevant posts and offering helpful comments. Connect with members outside the group to reinforce your interest in being part of the community.

Participating in LinkedIn groups takes time and effort. But the result can be meaningful connections that can help you reach your business and professional goals.