As an admin to several LinkedIn groups, I recently received an email from LinkedIn letting me know the impending changes as LinkedIn updates groups for 2018.
As we all are painfully aware, the interest in group activity has dropped to an all-time low over a year ago. People complained about too much spam being posted and the lack of engagement by the members of a group and so users spoke by simply ignoring groups and they virtually died.
I also want to mention, there were many trainers over the years teaching people to join as many groups as possible with the theory that if you joined groups of people that were your target client then you would be noticed, and opportunities could come of it. In theory it seemed like a good idea, but what happened was too many sales people made the mistake of spamming people and posting salesy, self-serving content that was not engaging nor did it elicit discussion.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT IN 2018
1.) iOS app is going away – effective February 15th. They can no longer support a standalone app.
2.) Discover and access Groups more easily
You’ll be able to access your Groups right from the homepage, and you’ll see the latest content from your Groups in notifications and the homepage feed.
3.) Post videos into groups
You’ll be able to post videos into your groups, @mention the members you want to weigh in, and keep the conversation going by replying to comments which equates to being part of richer conversations.
Video has become key on content strategy, this could be a game changer only if video is relevant to the group and thus it gains valuable engagement.
WHAT CAN GROUP ADMIN’S DO?
Obviously, LinkedIn is committed to bringing back engagement in groups and I believe group admin’s do have a responsibility if they want to create a robust group. Here are some things to keep in mind going forward;
• Update the rules of the group in the details section. If you want members to change, then let them know the expectation of your group.
• Update your group templates. This is where you automate your welcome message, request to join message, decline message and decline/block message.
• Manage your posts through a moderation queue. If you are starting a new group or revamping an old one, to avoid the past mistakes of members posting anything they way, you may want to moderate post to ensure they meet the rules of the group as outlined in the details section.
• Approve members who ask to join to ensure those who request to join meet the requirements of your group. A good example of this is people from out of state or country who want to join a local group where members meet in-person. If the rules of the group were stated for ‘local’ people only, then you want to send those requests your decline message. This maintains the integrity of the group members.
HOW CAN GROUP MEMBERS CONTRIBUTE TO A GROUPS SUCCESS?
I believe if you joined a group you have a responsibility to the success of all the members. I think the time has come to step up and be a giver first. The old model that obviously broke down was too many people made posts inside of groups about them. So, with that said, l offer the following suggestions;
• If you are no longer interested in participating (that means getting engaged with group members in discussions) than do everyone a favor and leave the group.
• Stop posting your blog posts thinking everyone is interested in your stuff.
• Initiate a discussion by asking thoughtful questions that are relevant to the group members.
• Help someone else by leaving a comment to their discussions. The best way to stop screaming into cyber space is engaging and letting people know they are heard.
• Limit your groups to those you really care to learn and now the members and grow from there. More isn’t always better, it’s just more!
• Be thoughtful – purposeful and connect with like-minded people. Great relationships will develop.