Are LinkedIn Groups Worth Your Valuable Time?

It's been rumored for more than a year that LinkedIn Groups are going away.

Well, that rumor has been squashed, at least in the short term, by LinkedIn this week. Some people, including me, received a direct LinkedIn message from people in LinkedIn's Product Marketing Department that started out like this:

"We’re currently working on making some changes to the LinkedIn Groups experience, and because you are an expert user, we wanted to give you some advance details on what’s coming. Groups is at the heart of what makes LinkedIn a trusted place for professionals to help and support one another, and the changes we’re planning will make Groups a bigger part of the main LinkedIn experience."

*The entire message and also a subsequent message that includes additional details are printed at the bottom of this article.

I am cautiously optimistic about this announcement. But in typical LinkedIn fashion, these changes will be rolled out over the coming months. Therefore, it may take a while for all of us to see the impact of these changes.

That being said, I still think the idea of like-minded individuals virtually hanging out with each other (the premise of LinkedIn Groups) is a winning idea. Therefore, let's review some of the best practices relating to groups.
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How to find information about the groups you're currently in

Click the Work tab on your top LinkedIn toolbar and then select Groups. You will then be taken to what I refer to as your LinkedIn Groups home page, which includes loads of information about your current groups, including:
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  • Today's highlights
  • Your most active groups
  • Listing of your current groups (under My Groups tab)
  • Suggested groups you may want to join (under Discover tab)
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How to find additional groups that are right for you

LinkedIn currently has over three million groups, and you can join up to 100 at any one time. Here are some of the ways to uncover the best places to hang out.

1. In your top toolbar, use specific keywords in the search box. When the results are returned, click Groups in the sub-tab. Here are some ideas of the kinds of searches you may want to try:
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  • Schools you have attended
  • Associations and groups you belong to
  • Your city, state or region
  • Your industry
  • Your customers' industry (this is often an overlooked opportunity)
  • Your hobbies or outside interests
  • Certifications you have earned
  • Types of software or other tools you use in your job
  • Events you've attended or will be attending

2. Review the groups listed on the bottom of the profile of any person you're already hanging out with or would like to hang out with.


Do's and don'ts of LinkedIn groups

After you've found the best places to hang out, it's time to get involved.

Each group has a different feel or culture, and it will be pretty obvious what type of activity is appropriate. However, here are some general do’s and don'ts to help improve your effectiveness when hanging out in groups.

Do this in your groups
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  • Get involved in discussions where the right folks are talking about the right topics. Of course, you'll need to have expertise that will add value to the discussion. Also, consider sharing a link to a place where they can get more information on the topic being discussed.
  • Invite fellow group members to join your network. If they're a particularly good target, mention in your invitation that you're in the same LinkedIn group or refer to a comment they made in a group discussion.
  •  If you're looking for employment, check out the group's Jobs tab.
  • Start your own discussion, and be sure to follow the ongoing conversation. Before starting a discussion, however, check out the group's rules, because some group managers have specifically outlawed links to your website or other things they feel are too self-promotional.
  • Suggest taking the conversation offline when it’s appropriate.
  • Send direct messages to members and share helpful information and/or resources.

Don’t do this in your groups
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  • Spend most of your time in group discussions selling your products and services.
  • Share any confidential information.
  • Make hurtful, personal or overly negative comments in the discussions.
  • Think that you have to get the daily or weekly LinkedIn email notifications regarding all the activities in all 100 groups you are in. This will be overwhelming. Pick a few of your best groups, and follow those. Check the others out when you have some extra time.
  • Think less of group members who have decided they don’t want to receive direct messages from other group members.
  • Hesitate to end your membership in a group if you feel you're not getting any results. There are usually several groups in the same space. Find a new one that's a better fit for you.

Groups are a great way to start and grow new relationships that can lead to mutually beneficial business opportunities. I hope you'll use these ideas and the new optimism about LinkedIn groups to explore ways that groups can enhance your business and career.
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Complete messages from LinkedIn about the future of LinkedIn Groups

January 14, 2018

Integrating Groups into the main LinkedIn experience

Wayne,

We’re currently working on making some changes to the LinkedIn Groups experience, and because you are an expert user, we wanted to give you some advance details on what’s coming. Groups is at the heart of what makes LinkedIn a trusted place for professionals to help and support one another, and the changes we’re planning will make Groups a bigger part of the main LinkedIn experience.

Our focus on re-integrating Groups back into the core LinkedIn experience means that we will no longer be able to support a standalone iOS app for Groups; that app will stop working as of February 15, 2018. But please know that your existing group memberships and contributions will not be affected as part of that change.

As a preview, here are some of the improvements you can look forward to when we roll them out to the main LinkedIn Groups web and mobile experience:

- Easier access to Groups right from the homepage, with the ability to see the latest content through the homepage feed and notifications.

- Better conversation tools, including the ability to post videos, @mention the members you want to weigh in, and reply to comments to keep the conversation going.

Ultimately, our goal is to create an even better Groups experience within the primary LinkedIn applications, so we are putting our focus there over the coming weeks and months. We'll be sending you updates as these improvements and many others become available. Stay tuned!
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January 23, 2018

Rolling out new notifications for Groups

Following up on my prior note about the improvements to LinkedIn Groups. The notifications we mentioned have started rolling out!

You'll begin seeing notifications for social activities on your group posts, including likes, comments, and @mentions, and for membership activities, such as group invitations. These real-time alerts of groups' activities will be available directly on the LinkedIn website and LinkedIn mobile apps. To learn more about how to access your notifications and update your preferences, visit https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/76636/managing-your-linkedin-notification-updates?lang=en.

We'll be sure to keep you in the loop when the full set of notifications and other improvements become available!

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