Changes to LinkedIn Groups: What YOU Need to Know

LinkedIn Groups BIG Changes On the Way

What LinkedIn Group Changes mean to YOU (1)

The Low Down on the Changes Coming to LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn is making major changes to LinkedIn Groups. The notice arrived a few days ago.

LinkedIn makes massive changes to LinkedIn Groups

These changes mean different things to different people. In this post, I will detail how these changes affect regular Group members and current Open & Member’s Only Group administrators.

Regular Group Members

If you are a typical Group Member, the changes to Groups will affect you in a number of ways:

  1. It’s harder to find Groups to join since some Groups will be unlisted and won’t turn up in searches.
  2. You will most likely receive an avalanche of invitations to join unlisted groups
  3. Because group conversations won’t show up in search engine results AND conversations and comments are visible to group members only, you may feel more open to participating in this more intimate and close setting.
  4. People won’t post spammy links or try to obnoxiously sell their wares within Group discussions…. (or NOT! I know this is what LinkedIn is intending but it’s just so unlikely regardless of their safeguards)
  5. Groups will get much more visually pleasing now that you can post images to any new conversations.
  6. It will be easier to pull people into Group conversations since you can mention Group members by name within posts which will notify them so they can join the conversation.
  7. Subgroups are being spun into their own Group.  You may now join an additional 50 groups!
  8. LinkedIn Groups now has a mobile app.  You can now follow discussions from your iPhone.  Android user?  The Android version isn’t available yet.
  9. You won’t be besieged by Group emails anymore. LinkedIn has created a digest of the most popular and recent conversations so you can follow the most interesting threads.
  10. Rather than having to swim through all the discussions per Group, LinkedIn is providing a Groups Highlights section to show you a snapshot of the interesting and important conversations taking place in the Groups you follow.

Group Admin of a Standard (formerly Open) Group

As the admin of formerly Open Group, your Group discussions could be seen on the web and shared on other social networking platforms. You had quite a bit of control over who joined and what posts got published. Here’s what you can expect with the new changes:

  1. Because members can invite their first degree network to join your Group, you may get more people joining! YAY!
  2. Because Group members can approve requests to join, you may find yourself with a lot more time on your hands not having to do deal with this task OR having to constantly look over the Group membership to boot out people that either shouldn’t belong or are allowing riff raff in.
  3. Conversations won’t be public and are no longer searchable… which means more people may post and comment since they feel safer. On the other hand, you will get far less eyes on the discussions than before since only conversations and comments are visible to group members.
  4. Group conversations will be posted instantly to a group. This could mean that topics occur in a more timely fashion along with high engagement… or it may mean constantly checking your Group to make sure people are behaving and not posting inappropriate content.
  5. If your group had Subgroups… they are now no longer considered subgroups but regular, independent groups. You will most likely want to rename your subgroup and include links to your old subgroups in the About page of the old main group.

Group Admin of an Unlisted (formerly Member’s Only) Group

As the admin of a Member’s Only Group, group discussions were private and people could find your group within Group Search but you had control over who you let in. Here’s how the changes will affect your group:

  1. Your Group will not show up in search results and so you will only be able to grow your group by inviting people personally.
  2. Members of a group cannot display the group on their profile, to members who don’t belong to that group… so fewer people will be able to find out about it.
  3. You may find that by remaining unlisted, people may not realize your group exists and someone will create a new, standard group on your group’s topic, providing you with some healthy competition.
  4. Group conversations will be posted instantly to a group. This could mean that topics occur in a more timely fashion along with high engagement… or it may mean finding yourself constantly checking your Group to make sure people are behaving and not posting inappropriate content. (This is the same as a Standard Group)

My Thoughts on the New LinkedIn Groups

As an admin of a Member’s Only Group– I will admit, I am NOT looking forward to these changes. I want my Group to turn up in search results BUT I want control over who may join. I think it’s great that Standard Groups allow members to invite their first degree connections to join the Group. However, I don’t like that any member can approve membership. I also am absolutely fearful over the immediate posting of discussions. Does this mean I am going to constantly be on the look out for inappropriate conversations? Yes, members can take down discussions but will they take on a true administrative function like removing off topic posts? I doubt it.

There has been an issue with Groups for quite some time. Spam was rampant and discussions seemed more self serving than engaging. These changes are aimed at fixing these issues but will it produce other issues?  Only time will tell.

This article was originally posted on LinkedIn’s Publishing Platform

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13 Comments

  1. Thank you for posting this. I think the changes are terrible. I kept my groups private to avoid having them be nothing but forums for people who want to promote. I don’t think I will open my groups to all … though looks like Linkedin gives you no other choice.

    Lousy move. No wonder the company is flailing.

  2. I DO NOT LIKE the new LinkedIn. Much good functionality has disappeared (once again). And the Group I facilitate/manage has had no new requests to join since the changes on October 13. The list usually has 2 or 3 requests per day. And promotions get thrown into discussions. Plain stupid design.

  3. My first impression is that this takes away almost all of the control of the owner (me) and let’s LInkedIn decide what is important for group members to see, how they are accepted into the group, etc. Whatever happened to market driven control? If members don’t like the group and the owner/manager(s) don’t do their job, the group disappears….problem solved.

    It’s almost a given that you will see a requirement to “buy” discussions on groups if you want anyone to ever see them, in the near future.

    1. I feel that it’s LinkedIn’s way of stripping salespeople of the functionality they used to bypass LinkedIn premium subscription. Many salespeople started Groups as a way to find prospects. It was important for them to have a level of control to keep competition out… and these changes remove that control. I am still keeping an open mind about it.

  4. I am the owner (I would say self-appointed trustee) of a group of current AND past employees of a company. I have a strong dislike for these changes, I wonder what Linkedin staff have in mind. I find totally unacceptable that the existence of the group is now hidden. I also cannot accept a totally open group with no control whatsoever over membership. I am starting to think the group, now with over 1,200 members, must move somewhere else.

  5. Hi Donna, I was a moderator for the above group on linkedin and build the membership to dovetail with our database of rugby alums, then on 10/30 it vanished. The other mod nor owner knows what happened and tech support has not helped. Then another site appeared (similar name) with only 30 members showed up and the members I connected on it don’t remember being invited. Any idea what happened or how to find out?

  6. Many people and companies are becoming each time more disappointed with Linkedin moves. It doesn´t make sense at all and regarding Groups, as a member I want to decide myself which conversations are relevant for me and as an administrator of a Group I want to have the control. Networking means people in touch because personal or professional common interests and this relationship has to be decided by individuals and not by Linkedin. I truly believe that Linkedin is losing its point and while there are more fora and social and professional networks they should take more care of the changes they do.

  7. I am disappointed that my State Bar of Michigan Paralegal Section Membership can no longer be viewed on my LinkedIn page. I am not interested in advertising or inviting others to join a group that I do not own. It is quite disappointing, because this designation is shown on the pages of other LinkedIn members, but my hard work goes unnoticed. I was granted membership to the SBM by the State Bar which delegated me, rightfully, to the Paralegal Section. I do not understand how a LinkedIn group promoting itself as the SBM Paralegal Section can decide that my membership in this section should be hidden. Please explain how a group that did not grant my membership can prevent this designation from showing on my professional page?

  8. Steven Pofcher says:

    Donna –
    This is a great overview of the changes and functions of the LinkedIn groups.
    I have been away from LinkedIn for a while and found your overview very helpful.

    My question:
    Since group conversations and comments are visible to group members only, how can I judge the value of a group. I joined one group, only to find that there not been any new posts for a year.

    TY
    Steven

  9. Steven Pofcher says:

    ^^ – Steven again – from previous question – ^^
    Plus, for the groups that I have not joined yet, I can only see the members that I have l ready connected with. Thais also makes the decision process to join a group difficult one.

  10. Donna,
    As an extensive LinkedIn user and Group Admin, this was extremely informative, so thank you!

    And I agree with the others, that these changes are going to be a pain to get new members to join. Especially because, for the past 10+ years, I have run a recruiting firm placing individuals who are most likely employed, and I’ve used LinkedIn to allow my clients and candidates to get a better understanding of who I am and what I do, so they feel comfortable discussing their career changes with me. And when I created my group, my focus was to give the people I spoke with another avenue to keep in touch, and remain confidential so they were not at risk of losing their current job.

    But now that these changes have occurred, I have a question for you: Because my group has been around for 5 years, I don’t know every member in the group, and because our only option for adding members is to personally invite people, I’d like to know if you know of a quick and easy way to invite my connections? And make sure I am not inviting someone that is already a member?

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