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LinkedIn Updates Groups For 2018

LinkedIn Updates Groups for 2018

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.

Image for Discover LinkedIn Groups from home page 2018

Access groups from homepage

Image for LinkedIn introduces video to groups

Post video in group post

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.

LinkedIn experienced big user growth in 2017 which means more people are active and taking LinkedIn seriously. If we all commit to the success of LinkedIn groups,the result will be maximized value. I’d love to know what you think about LinkedIn groups going forward, leave me a comment below.

JoAnne Funch

Enhancing your visibility online and offline. I'm the gal that supports you while you're out making your mark in the world.

This Post Has 19 Comments
  1. Thanks for the thoughtful analysis and best practice ideas..I have not been curating my group much because of that low response rate, and I have had issues with people posting pure marketing material or mainly a link to their website for marketing, which then had to be moderated more frequently. I think it’s a challenge because people will tolerate a lot more on Facebook, and also use it differently. I have also noticed a lot of people posting politically charged stuff on Linked In, which really kills the discussion.

    1. Thanks Nancy for your comment. I think we should all see what shakes out now with renewed commitment from LinkedIn to make the user experience better. By admins doing our part is how we can participate in that experience.

  2. Great read JoAnne! I just completed virtual reconstruction on my old group, updated all details and templates to match the current group focus, and removed members whose profiles don’t match the group interests. LinkedIn is the best social media platform for those I’m meant to serve so I came across your article while doing extensive research on LinkedIn engagement, products, groups, etc.. Appreciate your willingness to keep us informed!

    1. Jessica – thanks for your comment. Groups have been difficult to gain engagement over the past year or so. I appreciate that you are interested in keeping yours updated. I believe LinkedIn will revamp groups to function more like Facebook groups – so hang in there with LinkedIn, there will be improvements. – JoAnne

  3. I would like to start a LinkedIn group for administrative professionals serving small offices. I created the group some time ago, but I don’t know how to invite people. Is there a step by step hack for creating and announcing a new group? Thanks.

    1. hi Ellen,
      Good question. There are two ways to invite people to your group.
      1) As an admin of the group you can invite people that are your connections. Look on the right side-bar of your group page
      for the “Invite Others” button. See my screen shot: https://www.screencast.com/t/RuJTbsxpL

      2.) You can copy the URL at the top of your group page and send it in a private email letting people know about the group and
      what’s in it for them to join. Include the URL to the group.

      The challenge with groups still remains a low level of engagement. It takes some effort to get people to comment & post. I hope you will give it a try. – JoAnne

  4. Your article says that the updates made it easier to discover groups but I am finding the opposite. I am unable to search group titles, instead I am only given a directory which is alphabetized by name. There is no link to groups in the site menu or the footer. The “Discover” groups page only has a list of groups LinkedIn thinks I may be interested in. I have switched to a different industry and am unable to see any way that I can search and join groups in my new industry other than browsing the alphabetical listing. LinkedIn will not suggest these new industry groups to me. If there is an easier way to find and join groups please let me know!

    1. Hi Cristen

      thanks for your question and it is a good one!
      I recommend you search for groups from the mobile APP and not desktop version. On mobile, you type in keywords for the type of group you are looking for, once you do that you will see search filters come up at the top of the screen: People – Jobs – Content – Companies – GROUPS
      Click on “groups’ and you will see all the groups that may include your key words so you may want to do a couple of different searches with different key words
      Groups are not very active these days, If you request to join a group, look for the most recent post to see how current and active members are. As a member, you can still search the members of a group and connect with them directly which can be a benefit. – Hope that helps. JoAnne

      P.S. I just published a new free guide you may be interested in downloading called: 7 ways to transform your LinkedIn network from just building a data base, to gaining valuable business connections!
      Grab it here: https://linkedinforbusiness.net/linkedin-transform-network

  5. Disabling the ability to share to groups is a huge step back! I post to discussion groups and get hundreds of views and comments on most of them. You have now made discussions in groups, and the groups themselves, much less valuable.

    1. I agree it was one of the best things to receive and share targeted information, and by eliminating this Linkedin has moved a step closer to untargeted social media, losing one of its competitive advantages.

  6. No ability to add a title. No ability for admin to make a group announcement. As others have mentioned – difficulty with UX. LinkedIn has the poorest decisions when it comes to UI, and I do know a thing or two about it. People should be fired.

  7. I can’t find the analytics any more. I also miss the ability to promote my content across different groups. But what is more of an issue is the disappearing of group analytics. If you can’t see how busy groups are then how to choose which are worth putting your time into? I understand the pressure to stop spamming and hustling but the danger is that groups will simply die as we stay in our own timelines. In theory my own following is more accessible than the groups. So why bother posting in them?

    1. Hi John, thanks for your comment. I don’t like that group managers can no longer send announcements, that makes no sense to me. LinkedIn obviously has taken away the ability for group managers to really drive a group.

      Here are some additions to groups:
      Add native video posts
      Add hashtags to a post
      Editing posts – you can edit posts that you’ve published
      You can now manage your group from the main mobile app
      You can still search for members by name and message them
      Comments can be replied to in a thread
      Images can be added to comments

      Who knows, I suspect there is more to come with groups as LinkedIn wants to keep people on the platform and engaging in groups is a way to do that.

  8. The issue I seem to be having with the groups recently are invitations. I have been asked to join a couple of groups (standard) and LI seems to be having trouble allowing me to join. I receive the permanent “Something seems to have gone wrong, please try again later”. Suggestions? Thank you!

    1. Hi Michael,
      You are getting LinkedIn’s standard response when something goes wrong! I’ve seen it quite a bit lately myself not just on groups but other functions. Sometimes I simply retry in a different browser and then I find success. You could also message the group owner and ask them to send you an invite. Did you know as a member of a group you can invite members also? Thirdly, when all else fails you could report the issue to LinkedIn and let them know the error you get when trying to join a specific group – not sure you will get anything more than the standard canned response…
      thanks for the inquiry, you can email me directly also should you have any other questions I might be able to help with. joanne@linkedinforbusiness.net

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