LinkedIn groups have always been an excellent way to find not only like-minded individuals and influencers, but find leads and reach a targeted audience. However, because LinkedIn Groups were public, over the years more and more of the conversations and members began to get spammy and promotional as opposed to a helpful resource.
You see where this is going: LinkedIn announced on November 26 that, thanks to user feedback and studying internal data, all Groups would now be private. With over 2 million groups out there, this is the biggest announcement we’ve seen from LinkedIn ever. So what does this mean for B2B marketers?
Breaking Down the LinkedIn Groups Changes
Aside from the new privacy restrictions, some of the most notable changes to Group Features include:
- Standard vs. Unlisted Groups. Unlisted Groups will not show up in search results and only the group’s owner can invite members to the group. Standard Groups will show up and anyone can invite a 1st degree connection to the group.
- All Groups are Now Members-Only Groups. You now either need an invitation of approval of your request, so get to searching and connecting!
- Groups iOS Mobile App. This new App will allow you to follow conversations and receive push notifications for certain conversations.
- Removal of Subgroups. These will now be treated as their own independent groups so that things don’t get confusing.
- New Tab for Job Discussions. If someone wants to discuss a job opening, that will now be in a new tab to keep things organized and keep separate conversations flowing. This is likely in response to the removal of subgroups.
Other changes that will help eliminate spam include content moderation, removal of the Promotions tab, posting images in conversations, Mentions allowed in Group conversations, and different Group highlights and email digests. You can check out the video below to learn more about the changes:
What This Means for B2B Marketers
So the changes are pretty self-explanatory for users, but B2B marketers will also see huge benefits to their bottom line as well. Check out four ways that marketers will see changes and how you can take advantage below:
1. You can now Include Special Promotions
Because Groups are now private, you can offer special promotions or feature special announcements that you may only want to offer a small group of people who have been talking with you. Keep in mind that you want to avoid anything too promotional, though, because that’s what LinkedIn is trying to avoid in the first place. Be sure that if you’re accepted as a group member, you’re there to talk with members and offer advice. Only make a special announcement if it seems appropriate. That’s not the end goal.
2. You’ll See Higher Levels of Engagement
Because of the new members-only rule, you should see more engagement. This will mean smaller, more targeted groups, and it means that members will actually be able to read all of the relevant comments as opposed to having to scroll down through spam and longer, poor-quality contributions.
3. You can Find Candidates Faster than Before
Now that there is a new tab for discussions about jobs, it’s easier to scroll through and find candidates while still being able to participate in the group with quality content as opposed to searching for jobs/ candidates. In other words, as a recruiter you’re able to still post about a job, but that conversation can be kept to the side so that you see all of the messages responding to the job discussion without having to disrupt the other conversations happening in the group.
4. Lengthier Discussions
This was an idea I got from HubSpot that mentions the major push for social networks to have deeper and lengthier discussions with their social members (as seen through the revamp of Twitter DM and Facebook Messenger). Now that there is a new Groups App specific to LinkedIn Groups and brand’s can @mention certain people, conversations can last longer and you can answer questions more directly and create that ongoing conversation.
How else will the new update help you as a marketer? Do you like the changes LinkedIn made, or do you see any problems arising? Let us know in the comments below!
Republished by permission. Original here.
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I have moderated a LinkedIn group for the past several years and it has a couple thousand members. There was a time when I almost couldn’t keep up with the number of membership requests. These changes seem like a great direction and I’m excited.
Our team manages about 30 LinkedIn groups. The changes that LinkedIn has made to groups have brought nothing but outcry by Group Managers. This can be seen at the Group Moderators Group.
1. Spam is UP. Spam has increased tremendously as members can invite their friends. So Spammers invite other spammers. Group Managers can not stop this. Most group moderation tools have been removed by LI. Group Managers no longer can stop spam by conveniently placing members on moderation. You can only delete it after the fact. When you delete the spam there is no ability to Block the spammer by managing the post itself. You have to go to Manage Members and then try to find by name – a cumbersome process
2. Discussions have been shortened from 4,000 characters to 1,000 characters.
3. Engagement is Way Down. LinkedIN removed the ability to search Posts for what interests you.
4. Groups that were ALL about job posts only, do Not want a Jobs tab. Now they are forced to have it.
Good grief!!! How can anyone get this analysis soooo WRONG???
For those of us who have managed substantial LinkedIn groups for a while, the new formats are a travesty! Over the last year and especially with the new rollout, LinkedIn has removed over 40 tools, features, and functions from groups. There now is more spam, less engagement, and fewer and shorter discussions.
Searches have been limited or eliminated making it more difficult or often impossible to find folks that meet any given criteria.
The list of issues goes on and on and this author missed all of it.
Whoever wrote this article did poor research, just swallowing PR and regurgitating. They really damage the credibility of “higher visibility” by missing what is actually occurring.
I am sorry, but it appears that whoever wrote this drank deeply of LinkedIn’s special Kool Aid.
The points above cover some of the horrible changes to :LinkedIn’s groups, but they are just touching the tip of the iceberg. LinkedIn Groups are a combination of the RMS Titanic and the Costa Concordia, utter hubris created by self absorbed stone deaf Silicon Valley denizens.
I had two groups of over 20,000 members grown over the past 8 years. I shut both down two weeks ago when it was clear that LinkedIn has decided to kill off groups and refuses to listen to anyone who knows how to grow and engage members.
I will stick with the points you highlighted:
SPAM – It’s at an all time high. LI in their infinite wisdom allow group members to approve all Requests To Join (RTJs). They have not communicated that to anyone, yet the SPAMMERS know this and they have set up their SPAMbot scripts to have a fake account join, then approve RTJs from other fake SPAMbot profiles. Once they profiles join the group, another script changes the profile name, making it impossible for the group owner to quickly Block and Delete the SPAMbot.
Private Groups – LI always allowed these. So excuse me, but what the heck are you talking about?!?!? What HAS changed is that if a group wants to remain private for whatever reason – one being customers allowed only and they vetted first. Now LinkedIn doesn’t allow a company to list its Private group on its Company Page. LinkedIn clearly is anti-Small Business with this rule change.
New Tabs for Jobs – This has been part of groups since Day 1 – again, what the heck are you talking about here?!?? We are missing Promotions Tab now (really stinks having this pulled – after losing it, I was deleting more posts every day than I used to in a month. Also still miss the News tab that was a HUGE draw to my groups, I pulled in info from all over the globe.)
As mentioned in two of the other replies above, Engagement is nearly dead. LinkedIn’s algorithm is bouncing nearly every good post into moderation where it sits forever. Their algorithms are the worst in the social media world. I had a CEO pull his entire company from LinkedIn over this very issue. YOUR readers are going to discover that all of their posts will not be read by anyone. HOWEVER……here’s where LinkedIn get’s nasty – YOUR readers will not know this. LI is placing posts into moderation, and perhaps some of we Group Owners even delete the posts. But the originator sees the post as though it’s been posted, but not received any interaction. Reminds me of the NSA, how about you???
You can find candidates easier – Nothing has changed with the Jobs tab, so again, I have to ask, what are you talking about? HOWEVER…..LI is breaking the relationships down, so many people that you would see previously now are blocked from you as you don’t have a tight enough connection to them. I have no data on this, but offhand comments from long time LI members tell me that they have lost profile visibility of approximately 25% of those they could previously view.
Your lengthier discussions point made me heartily laugh! LI has reduced the character count to much below where Twitter is headed in weeks. Furthermore, the way discussions are forced upon users with no ability to sort with previously very much used sort capabilities has killed ALL discussions in groups. See my earlier mention of lack of engagement.
I polled my groups and the answer I resoundingly received that LI has killed their platform and it feels like Facebook to everyone. They were frustrated with the continuing lack of ability to interact, so they all agreed that I should kill off the groups. Many of us know each other outside of LinkedIn, so it’s highly likely that I will resurrect the groups on my own platform.
The next time Jim Jones, er….Jeff Weiner comes knocking with a fruity drink, my suggestion is to slam your door and don’t listen to him.
I would say that the author of this article has not paid attention to what is happening in groups at all.
Engagement is down, spam is up…essentially, everything is the opposite of what the author predicts. The changes to the groups platform and user interface have made groups a nightmare to manage and with few exceptions, fairly useless for networking and engaging in discussions of value.
I don’t know what planet the author inhabits, but it’s definitely a different one than that on which I live.
The author is not a Group Manager, since one would realize the entire article is so wrong . Your advice will get members blocked to the new filter system and possibly by banned as a Spammer.
Today most seriously manages groups have become ghost towns.
So it seems the author is drinking the LinkedIn Cool Aid. Some should ask about the removal of at least 40 tools that actually helped manage groups. Unless there is a major turnaround Groups are dead.
For a Group Manager who is not Happyy with the changes
If LinkedIn were so inclined, then the millions of fake accounts would have been removed by now, but alas they are still there. Spam is an ever-present threat to LinkedIn groups, which is why I closed a group on 24 December, and resigned as a manager of another group on the same day, because of what LinkedIn have done to “downgrade” the ability of group managers to really manage LinkedIn Groups!