New LinkedIn Groups: Get your group ready
LinkedIn announced that they will be rolling out significant changes to their Groups. While the update has been a long time coming (ask any social media marketer), the changes LinkedIn is making have received mixed reactions. For some group owners, the new update brings a solution to the previous issues the Groups tool had with its user experience, while others feel that it will be the last nail in the coffin for LinkedIn Groups. Here is what the new update is about:
What are LinkedIn groups?
LinkedIn Groups is a platform for like-minded professionals, such as individuals working in the same industry, to network and engage with each other in a closed community within the LinkedIn setting. Within a group, individuals can share content, post about job openings, ask questions or share their opinions, establish themselves and make relevant business connections to their industry or interest. For both brands and individuals, hosting a LinkedIn Group can be an efficient way for building your online reputation and connecting with your potential customers.
Previously, LinkedIn groups had a few notable shortcomings. Firstly, LinkedIn Groups was made into its own stand-alone app, which separated the app from the other core LinkedIn features, such as the timeline or the search function. Secondly, in the past few years the engagement levels within LinkedIn Groups have been largely disappointing, resulting in the app being called a “ghost town”. Related to this, many group owners have noted how they have been struggling to maintain engagement, and how their groups are often filled with self promotion or even spam. To address these issues, LinkedIn is introducing the new LinkedIn Groups, which started rolling out globally at the end of August.
What is different with the new LinkedIn Groups?
The changes to LinkedIn Groups started earlier this year when LinkedIn quietly pulled the standalone Groups app. Groups will be now integrated to the main LinkedIn website and app, in order to make it a more central part of the users LinkedIn experience. This way, group conversations will be shown on the users main LinkedIn feed, and group notifications will be found under the main notifications tab, resulting in a more unified experience for LinkedIn users.
Groups will now be able to utilise rich media, such as video or GIFs, allowing individuals to post more interactive and engaging content within the group setting. The admin controls will also change. Group owners will no longer be able to send auto-generated group emails, and group moderators will be removed. This change has created some controversy, as a lot of group owners have felt that the newsletter-style emails were an important way to foster activity and bring people back to the group. Additionally, temporarily, there will be no moderation queues available. This will change sometime in the next couple of months when the next update is released. To make up for this, the group owners will gain some new admin controls, including the ability to pin a post at the top of the group feed and collapse these pins, after they have been viewed. The owners will now be able to send out a messages to the group, approve and remove members, within the main app or website.
Why should you be using LinkedIn Groups?
LinkedIn Groups are an effective way to gain topic-specific or industry-specific insight to your target audience. By being active in relevant groups, you can establish yourself as industry expert, stay up to date on industry-specific news, make valuable business connections and grow your business.
Groups are no longer an afterthought, they’re a differentiator. They add value to your audiences. They are an opportunity for your brand to facilitate and support your audience and community. With all the recent changes, LinkedIn is bringing Groups closer to what is was meant to be: a platform that fosters meaningful engagement, vibrant communication and genuine connection. Let’s hope that the new update delivers.