7 Changes to LinkedIn Groups You Need to Know Now

Posted by Margaret Muir in Uncategorized

Chances are, if you’re on LinkedIn often enough, you’ve heard something about the updates to LinkedIn Groups. There are many things about groups that have frustrated both members and moderators in the past. At long last, LinkedIn is working to change that. These changes are a step in the right direction. Hopefully these are just the beginning of what LinkedIn has in store for groups.

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Before diving into the big changes, you can see here that the overall look and feel of LinkedIn Groups has changed significantly.

groups new look

LinkedIn Groups Privacy Settings

The 1st big change has to do with who can see what within a group, and how groups can be found. Rather than the 4 different types of groups from before, groups now must fall into one of two categories: standard or unlisted. A standard group will show up in search results, while an unlisted group will not. The only way to join an unlisted group is to be invited.

Another change is that all groups will now be considered private. Only members can see the conversations that take place within. This could have some pros and some cons. The positive side is members can trust that this is a closed space for healthy discussion, and viewing of the conversation is limited. The downside is it will be harder to judge the quality of a group or it’s relevancy to you, when you are considering joining it.

Finally, there is no such thing as an open group anymore. These were notoriously filled with SPAM and lacking in productive conversation. In order to view group conversations, and to participate in them, you have to be a member. Ideally, this will facilitate more productive conversations and cut down on the SPAM.

Joining LinkedIn Groups

As I mentioned, the only way to join an unlisted group is by invitation. A standard group on the other hand, can be found by searching on LinkedIn for a specific name, industry, topic, etc. Once this group is found, you can request to join.

A really interesting policy LinkedIn has implemented, is that any member can now approve a request to join the group, if they are already connected to the applicant. If you go into the Members section, you can see and accept pending requests.

accept invites

I think this was done to facilitate the growth of groups, and speed up the process for joining. Now new members won’t have to wait around for less active moderators. As a moderator, this could potentially make your job easier, if you don’t have to review and approve requests to join.

Many are concerned though, because group owners and moderators won’t have control over who can and can’t join. This new policy could spiral out of control, if just one SPAMmer gets in and adds his connections.

LinkedIn Group Conversations

Automatic Posting of Comments

Another main change to groups is that conversations will automatically be posted to the wall. Moderators don’t have the option to automatically have all comments sent for moderation before being posted. However, a moderator can still remove inappropriate posts and mark specific people as requiring moderation.

This might be the most controversial change LinkedIn has made. Along with the lack of control over who joins the group, moderators now have less control over what is shared. If that one SPAMmer gets in and adds all his SPAMmy friends, the quality of the discussion feed could tank. Another negative is that competitors could get into the group and keep an eye on what you’re up to.

In active groups, this is going to require much more work on the part of the moderator. Instead of checking posts in your moderation cue a few times a day or week, moderators may feel the need to scope out recent conversations repeatedly day-after-day.

LinkedIn does claim to have beefed up their SPAM algorithm, which will pay attention to the past activity of members. If someone’s comments are regularly deleted or they’re marked as requiring moderation in multiple groups, it will automatically send their posts for moderation. We’ll have to wait and see how accurate this will be.

Removal of Promotions Tab

LinkedIn is officially removing the promotions tab from all groups. This is great, because although it was regularly filled with webinar invites and ebook downloads, no one….and I mean no one…ever looked at them. LinkedIn’s fancy algorithm will supposedly send all promotional posts to moderation as well. This too will be based at least partially on the member’s history.

[bctt tweet=”#LinkedIn has gotten rid of open groups and promotions tab. Can you say #SPAM central?”]

Pictures and Mentions

LinkedIn has FINALLY added the ability to insert pictures into a group conversation. This probably should have been a no brainer for LinkedIn, I mean, who doesn’t love quote graphics? All you have to do is click that little picture icon in the bottom and type an update to go with it.

posting a pic

Members can also @ mention other members when they want to respond to or address their comment to a specific person. Not only will this send an alert to the person within LinkedIn, but they will also get an email letting them know they’ve been called upon. This could make conversations more interactive, rather than the usual smattering of “great post” or “interesting read” you often see now.

Removal of LinkedIn Subgroups

In the past, subgroups were used to break down really large, and really active groups, into more specific niches. Some thought this structuring of groups was confusing though, so LinkedIn has eliminated it. For many, this change will have very little effect. If you don’t regularly participate in or own a subgroup, you probably won’t even notice.

All current subgroups are being elevated to the status of a regular group. Owners are encouraged to rename and include links in the “About” sections to show how they are related to other groups. This might be a little annoying, but shouldn’t be too big of a deal.

There was some initial concern that membership in these subgroups would start counting against your 50 group limit, since they didn’t before. It appears LinkedIn has raised this limit to 100 though.

LinkedIn Group Digests and Highlights Page

LinkedIn has removed the options for the number of emails you want to receive from your groups. They’ve made a commitment to cut down on the number of emails, by removing the “Recent Posts” email, and sending less frequent Group Digests.

This could encourage group members to continue receiving the limited emails, rather than totally opting-out. In the past, group emails could inundate a member’s inbox, causing them to opt-out of all future emails. Perhaps this new approach won’t cause such extreme reactions from members.

The Highlights section is definitely new and improved, as well. Rather than featuring the groups at the top of the page, a feed of the most popular discussions in your groups dominates. Your most popular groups are listed on the top right. This will make browsing the hot topics much easier.

You’ll also see the full list of your groups has been relegated to a dropdown in the top right corner.

Groups dropdown

Important Takeaways

[bctt tweet=”#LinkedInGroups have made some interesting changes. See how they affect you”]

LinkedIn Groups is heading in the right direction with a number of these changes. For some reason, LinkedIn groups just don’t seem to have the same real-time conversations that you find in Facebook groups, and other forums. It’s great that LinkedIn recognizes this, and is working to correct the issue.

We’ll have to see how these specific changes play out though. With more freedom to join and post in groups, membership and interaction could increase. It remains to be seen whether the growth will be in a positive or negative direction.

Luckily, this is just one step in an iterative process. You can be sure to see continued changes, as LinkedIn works to perfect their platform.

So what do you think? Is LinkedIn headed in the right direction? Is there a specific change you'd like to see?

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  • I have one concern. As LinkedIn rolled out new design for its groups, they also restricted mass membership invitation. Now it is required to invite people one by one. Do you have a solution for it? Or is there an option to mass invite I’m not aware of? Thanks, Matt

    • Matt, I believe you can still do mass invites, of up to 50 people at a time. Click Manage – Send Invitations. There is a bar to type in the name of your LinkedIn connections, with a little LinkedIn address book icon at the end. Click on the icon, and it will open up a form, that will allow you to select up to 50 LI connections.

      Hope that helps!

    • #1 – I absolutely HATE the teeny font used on the group page now.

      #2 – Why would LinkedIn take away the all-important SEARCH feature within a group? If I’m in a group of 50,000 people, I used to be able to do a search, for example, of those members in my state of New Jersey; or a particular profession. Now, it seems there’s no way to do that which, if I’m correct, is really outrageous. I’m paying a monthly Premium fee for, now, LESS?

      • Lori, I’m not seeing the search function within a group either. The best way to search for them now might be to use the Advanced Search Feature. You can type in your keywords, titles, geography, etc. and then also check the box for the group that you want to pull them from. The group fields should be on the top right corner.

        Here’s a blog of ours with more tips on how to make the most of this Advance Searched Feature: http://bit.ly/1PKp5dU