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.
.

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:
.

  • 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)
    .

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:
.

  • 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
.

  • 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
.

  • 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.
.

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!
.

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!

The post Are LinkedIn Groups Worth Your Valuable Time? appeared first on Wayne Breitbarth.

Are LinkedIn Groups Worthless or a Tremendous Opportunity?

Thumbs up and downThere are over two million LinkedIn groups, and, to be brutally honest with you, this LinkedIn feature has had its ups and downs over the years.

But now that LinkedIn has completely revamped this feature and even added a separate App, as well as allowing users to now join 100 groups as opposed to 50 in prior years, how much time should you realistically devote to groups?

In response to my recent LinkedIn user survey, let's see what LinkedIn users are saying about groups.
.

  • Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 11.32.57 AMOver 59% of the users are in ten or more LinkedIn groups.
    .
  • Only 28% of the users consider the Groups feature to be helpful. (In 2010, 76% of the users rated Groups as a helpful feature)

So, let's take a deeper dive into the numbers to see if there is a correlation between groups and LinkedIn success.
.

Do successful users find groups to be helpful?

When asked, How important is LinkedIn in your efforts to grow your network and develop your business or help you find employment, respondents answered 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5, with 5 representing extremely important and 1 representing not important.Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 10.22.35 AM

About one-tenth of those surveyed answered 1 or 2, and only 31% of them are in 10+ groups and only 14% consider Groups to be a helpful feature.

Two-thirds of the survey respondents answered 4 or 5, and 68% of them are in 10+ groups and 33% consider Groups to be a helpful feature.

Conclusion: Even though most LinkedIn users are currently finding groups to be significantly less helpful, the users who consider LinkedIn to be very important to their business and career success are still joining lots of groups and attributing some of their success to group membership.
.

Simple ways LinkedIn groups can help you be more successful

Some of these suggestions may seem fairly obvious, but others relate to more advanced concepts or features that are difficult for the average LinkedIn user to find.
.

  • Groups enable you to virtually network with people in your target audience without leaving your home or office. Engaging with people in the right groups can easily be your most productive LinkedIn activity.
    .
  • You can share your industry expertise by commenting and sharing information on the latest trends, products and happenings. Positioning yourself and your company can be easy in industry-related groups if you concentrate on helping people rather than simply trying to get fellow members to visit your website or buy your products.
    .
    Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 10.32.41 AM
  • You can post job openings for free or announce that you're looking for employment in the Jobs section of each group. This is especially helpful when the group relates specifically to your industry.
    .
  • Each calendar month you can direct message (for free) up to fifteen fellow group members who are not part of your first-level network. Typically you'd have to use a $10 InMail to message a fellow group member to whom you're not connected.
    .
  • Your individual search ranking will improve when you and the searcher are members of the same group. LinkedIn's search algorithm is a highly kept secret, but some experts have speculated that fellow group members are equivalent to second-degree connections.
    .
  • People may be more likely to accept your invitation to connect on LinkedIn if you Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 10.30.00 AMbelong to the same group(s). If you have a free LinkedIn membership, you can do an advanced people search and filter for a specific LinkedIn group. If you have a premium membership, you can search for people who belong to multiple groups.
  • Based on LinkedIn research, you will increase your number of profile views by four times if you're active in groups. More profile views typically leads to good things, especially if those viewers are members of a group related to your industry.

LinkedIn groups have lots of potential, and most of the users I talk to hope the latest revisions will mean brighter days ahead for this once highly coveted LinkedIn feature. Why not join me in testing the waters by becoming active in a couple groups--and hopefully the results will be a welcome surprise.

To help you get started, download my free worksheet LinkedIn Groups: Ca$h in on This Powerful Tool.

Download (PDF, 345KB)


.

The post Are LinkedIn Groups Worthless or a Tremendous Opportunity? appeared first on Wayne Breitbarth.