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social media reviewsAre you active on LinkedIn?

Wondering about the recent changes to groups?

LinkedIn groups have been redesigned to make interactions more seamless and valuable for members.

In this article you’ll discover how marketers can find, join and use the new LinkedIn groups.

What the Changes Mean

LinkedIn completely overhauled its groups interface, so the desktop and app versions are the same. The Groups app is available on iOS, and the Android version is coming soon.

what marketers need to know about new linkedin groups

Discover what marketers need to know about the changes to LinkedIn Groups.

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While both the website and app are user-friendly, the functionality on desktop has decreased.

One of the most noticeable changes is that there are no more open groups. The two new group choices are limited to standard and unlisted. Standard groups arerequest to join” or a member or admin can invite you to join, and are findable by group search. Unlisted groups areinvite to join” by the group admin only, and are not findable in search.

Another big change is the loss of member search. Individuals can no longer search a group’s membership by name or keyword, so it’s probably not worth it to join a group just to get access to prospects. And because member search (at this time) no longer functions, private-messaging other members is more difficult to do in a strategic way. (This is on the heels of LinkedIn limiting private messaging in groups to 15 messages a month.)

Although it will be more difficult to use groups for prospecting and lead generation, people can still use groups for content marketing.

linkedin group member search

Due to the changes, there is no longer a way to easily search group members by name or keyword.

LinkedIn has also removed the Promotions tab on groups, which means any promotional messages will likely just go into spam.

The upside is there will be a lot fewer pitches and less spam in groups. The downside is it may be difficult to discern what is and is not promotional content, so valuable information could get lost in people’s inbox. It also could mean a lot more work for group moderators.

The LinkedIn group changes will force marketers to step up their game. They will have to be more conscientious about the content they create and share, so it’s of higher value to group members.

posting to linkedin group

In spite of the changes, if you regularly post valuable content, you can get the most out of LinkedIn groups.

Let’s take a closer look at the changes to LinkedIn groups.

#1: All Groups Are Private

All LinkedIn groups are now standard or unlisted, and are both private. This means that conversations shared in a group are no longer public.

Standard Groups

Standard groups have similar functionality and purpose to the previous version of groups, in terms of posting and sharing information with fellow members. Group content is hidden, however, unless you’re a member of the group.

One change you’ll notice is a Highlights page, which lists the most engaging posts in your groups. Go to Interests and Groups to get to your group homepage.

linkedin group highlights

LinkedIn’s Highlights page emphasizes the most engaging content in your groups.

Any member of a standard group (not just an admin) can invite people to join, and any user can request to become a member of the group. To save time, ask a friend who is already a member to add you.

adding members to linkedin group

Anyone can add members to a standard LinkedIn group.

You’re able to use standard groups for marketing, but you have to be smarter about it. Engage more and share better content to meet fellow group members. These relationships could translate into new business down the line.

Unlisted Groups

You can’t find unlisted groups through a LinkedIn search, and only a group admin can invite new members. The good news is that extraneous groups that limit access will no longer bog down search results.

The unlisted category is ideal for internal groups within your company. Your content will be completely private, since there’s no chance for outsiders to gain access.

There are plenty of reasons to start an unlisted group. For example, you can create user groups to beta test new products and concepts, use groups as customer service support for clients or start internal groups for employees.

Remember that unlisted groups are strictly for content, not marketing, so they’re valuable for communicating with designated people.

#2: Standard Groups Show in Search

Standard groups show up in LinkedIn searches. Technically you can find them on Google, as well as by using the Groups directory. The best way to search for a group is on LinkedIn.

Search for standard groups by keyword from LinkedIn’s main or advanced search. LinkedIn will also make group suggestions, based on your interests. If you find a group you want to join, look for a group button and ask to join.

linkedin group discover

LinkedIn will make suggestions of groups you might want to join according to your group activity.

To expedite the process, see what groups your friends are in (which are listed on their LinkedIn profiles) and ask them to add you.

Another way to find groups is to post an update asking contacts, “What are your favorite groups? Will you send me an invite to join?”

#3: Groups Have a Mobile App

The LinkedIn Groups app makes it easy to engage with group members on the go. Like on the desktop version, your homepage has highlights that tell you what’s popular in all of your groups.

linkedin group highlights app

Log into the LinkedIn Groups app and see highlights from your groups.

The group search in the app is user-friendly.

linkedin group discover app

Discover new groups to join on the app.

Click on any one of your groups to access the content. Then engage with others by posting, responding and liking content. You can now mention people in updates and comments with @mentions.

linkedin groups in app

All of your groups are at a glance.

Finally, you can use the Notifications tab to see who is commenting on your content, so it’s easy to respond.

linkedin group notifications in app

Visit the Notifications tab to easily respond to content in your groups.

While LinkedIn groups may no longer be good for lead generation and prospecting, the new interface makes it easy to post, respond and develop relationships. This could lead to getting new clients in the long run.

Benefits of Creating Your Own Group

You may want to create a standard group in your niche to position yourself as a thought leader. As a group owner, you can send out private announcements once a week, save templates and keep an eye on group moderation.

linkedin group owner tools

Create your own group to position yourself as a thought leader and take control of content.

Anyone, group owners and members, can post content to standard groups.

There are plenty of LinkedIn groups out there. Before creating one of your own, decide if the benefits are worth the time you’ll have to invest to manage it.

Final Thoughts

LinkedIn clearly wants to go back to what groups were in 2007 (high-quality content and engagement), before they were spam pools. The changes are designed to encourage marketers to get back to true engagement. It’s certainly better than machine-gun posting (sharing everything to see what sticks), and could ultimately increase your customer base and bottom line.

The new LinkedIn groups should be better for building relationships, which is what social media is all about.

What do you think? Have you explored the new LinkedIn groups? Have you tried the Groups app? How are you using LinkedIn groups now? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

what marketers need to know about new linkedin groups

Tips for using the new LinkedIn Groups.

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  • nice post !!

  • The new version look promising. As we used it regularly, it will be difficult to accept the new look but it seems like a more user friendly version. I am specially not happy with the new messaging look that was rolled out a month back.

  • KenL

    I am struggling to see how the new interface improves access for a member. With the old interface I could see all my groups and also see the number of new posts to each of them. I could easily pick the two or three that I am most interested in or that had the most activity. Now all I get is a drop down list of the groups by name, without the extra information that was of value to me before. And of course I get the selection of postings that LinkedIn thinks will be of most interest but probably is not. It has suddenly got much more difficult to do what I want to do.
    Or am I doing something wrong?

  • Terence Lee Keaser

    OHHHHH Awesome 🙂 I think it’s time I go in and clean house on my groups!

  • Jeff Quandt

    Very Good Recap on the changes on LinkedIn Groups. Kent points out one of the key features that has been lost. I used this as well and as a group manager and owner of several groups, the new interface has made my job much more difficult and time consuming. I used to be able to scroll over my groups one on page to see discussions in moderation in addition to new member requests. Now I need to enter the group, click manage, then to the moderation and new member requests.

    Since LI Groups are all “private” in some fashion, content is no longer indexable by search engines so the little Off-Page SEO value they once had is now gone.

    The Group Manager Community (Yes there is a LI group for Group managers and owners) has been voicing their displeasure with the changes to LinkedIn but it has fallen on deaf ears. Some group managers are taking their groups off of LinkedIn in favor of other platforms: Google, Facebook, etc.

  • Viveka, This is an awesome post, and provides an example for those like me that find great value in LinkedIn the contacts I have cultivated there. It is refreshing to know that being part of a group now means that I can interact with relevant and like-minded individuals and won’t need to deal with spammers and trolls as much! Thanks for the great perspective here!

  • Looking forward to seeing if this will change the ‘spammy’ ness of some of the groups I belong to although a bit frustrated to see the search feature dismissed. I used this feature to be able to find the relevant content (to me) within a group so for me this will mean I wont be able to engage as much however if most of the spam is gone hopefully the groups will be more relevant anyway. Will wait and see!

  • Thanks for the great overview of the changes to LinkedIn groups, Viveka. I don’t think the spam filled groups were a result of the groups function, but rather the poor management of group owners. I’m a bit disappointed that as a group owner I have to make the group private and unsearchable in order to moderate membership. I would like the group to be searchable, but want to continue to be able to approve membership. The changes make it much more difficult and more work for group owners to moderate discussions and membership. I also think it’s a loss for members to no longer be able to search group members within the group.
    Over the years my group has grown organically to 14,500 members by closely moderating membership and content. LinkedIn has essentially stripped group owners of that ability.

  • What do you think the outcome will be, Michael? Will we eventually get used to this stripped-down version or will groups just die out or get moved somewhere else? I have never understood why sites that are highly useful make changes that drive their most loyal users away from their platforms.

  • linkedinexpert

    Thanks for all the comments so far.. I will try to stay on top of the questions as I travel the next few days!

  • linkedinexpert

    Thanks!

  • linkedinexpert

    It doesn’t. I was trying to be positive. I’m not a fan of this new UI to be completely honest 🙂 I do love the new iPhone Groups app. If you have that, use the notifications tool. It actually helps me to engage more.

  • linkedinexpert

    Don’t clean out the barn too much… you have to request to connect to groups now BUT you can join up to 65!!!

  • linkedinexpert

    All I can say is I am 100% with you. I’m not a fan of most of the new changes (Messenger/InBox, loss of BCC, loss of Introductions) and this new UI. LinkedIn appears to be punishing the folks who use it the most! My hope is that these are just growing pains and Linkedin begins to listen to its users and what their needs are.. PS – I was a member of the Group Manager Community… feel your pain.

  • linkedinexpert

    I do like the new app and the notifications feature!!!

  • linkedinexpert

    I am really frustrated by the removal of search… I am certainly finding groups less spammy and am using Notifications (in the app) and @Mentions a lot more.

  • linkedinexpert

    Right? I pay my assistant to manage some of my groups and… well.. she is making out like a bandit since they are so much MORE work now.

  • linkedinexpert

    I think they will either get better… or die. LinkedIn still needs to make some more adjustment obviously. Like bringing Group Stats back..

  • Frederic Gonzalo

    I am really curious to see if the changes to group will reverse the deep trend for spam-like “conversations” that were just link sharing, basically. Yes, moderators have role to play, but my experience has been the same over the years in the vast majority of groups on Linkedin, just like communities on Google+. Very little true interaction. Really good groups are hard to find, I guess. Not sure how these changes will drive better behaviors for sharing and commenting, but time will tell, right?

  • I hope they don’t take too long with the Android app – I feel like I’m missing out!

  • linkedinexpert

    I agree Frederic… I almost think this is LinkedIn’s last ditch effort to make Groups worthy again or just cut bait…

  • ReganGeorge

    LinkedIn are doing their best to kill Groups (unwittingly) with the changes they have brought in over the last 6 months and articles trying to put a positive spin on recent changes is only adding to the propaganda . Anyone involved in managing LI Groups need to be telling the world how disastrous these changes are, not blow smoke……..

    Don’t take my word for it – join the LinkedIn Moderators Forums (LinkedIn Group – Ironic I know) and hear what the world’s LinkedIn Group experts are saying on the subject. Ironically this is the only LinkedIn Group I know that is seeing an increase in engagement. LinkedIn Groups are in a complete mess!

  • Frank

    I had not spotted the increased number of groups – thanks for pointing that out.

  • Nicholas Bodell

    Second that. Terrible UI + something most did not mention. You have to either set high screen resolution or have at least 19inch monitor to see at least first post. If you are on your lap top as I am most of my time, forget about it. i have to scroll most of my time.

  • for linked in group is their is any criteria to have same profile of work ex- suppose i have linkedin profile of executive in marketing so can i able to join finance group
    or it suppose to active by any other group member

  • linkedinexpert

    Hi Inet.. Each group is different. Some demand a certain criteria, others will accept almost anyone. You just have to request to join and see what happens (And even if you don’t get accepted, don’t take it personally. A lot of moderators haven’t been paying attention to the requests since they might have been open invite before…

  • I believe the LinkedIn development team have screwed up big time with the group platform redesign. As group manager of 10 groups, the functionality for maintaining well run groups has been destroyed. Yes there were poorly run groups but to change the entire platform, decreasing the ability to run a group well, is not an improvement in my opinion. I generally look for silver linings but I can’t seem to find much to pin hopes on, for a good outcome of their tinkering.

  • Michael, you hit it square on the head. I never had trouble with spam in my groups because I plainly told everyone that spammers would be taken out back, out of view of any cameras and recieve the beating of their lives. I would allow one mistake, two mistakes meant permanant banishment from the group. Spammers should be dealt with ruthlessly and without mercy.

  • Matthew Rinkerman

    I have major issue with the article that I would like to share with you.

    LinkedIn Group Changes: What Marketers Need to Know
    By Viveka von Rosen

    “Although it will be more difficult to use groups for prospecting and lead generation, people can still use groups for content marketing.”

    The October 14th update was designed to stop this type of activity with the introduction of a Filter system that is designed to catch spam and self promotional content. Yes it is new and it is also flagging legitimate posts which the group manager is to un flag but there is a significant chance that the post get deleted. I have had members post information on Agricultural Reports flagged and even NY Times article. The AI is still learning I guess. Yet some spam makes it through, Like Porn showing up in a group that took more then 24 hours to get removed since they could not identify who posted.

    So if a LinkedIn member posts content that does not receive any likes or comments and this done consistently and across multiple groups that member could end up in moderation jail. You should ask the author if they know what SWAM is. That also will end up landing the member in Moderation jail.

    The number one complaint to LI is spam. LinkedIn has never enforced its own rules to crack down on Spammers. Some assume it had to do with building up membership and its stock price. (That is beyond my scope) So instead of taking a knife to cut out the Spammers and poorly run groups they are driving a tank over groups to crush. This leads to a significant question what direction is LinkedIn going.

    Benefits of Creating Your Own Group

    You may want to create a standard group in your niche to position yourself as a thought leader. As a group owner, you can send out private announcements once a week, save templates and keep an eye on group moderation.

    In the past this was possible, but in September 2015, I reviewed either a new or just made more prominent line in User Agreement/Terms of Service . That Groups are not to be monetized. These means a Group Owner cannot not use a group to drive traffic to there website. This was always there but never so prominent. You may know that many sites are used this way.

    Over the past 9 months, LinkedIn has reduced the number of Comment Notifications, Daily/Weekly Digests and Group Announcements. This alone has reduced activity by as much as 99%. More recently group managers are seeing that a small percentage of members received the announcements and this is past on past performance of members opening emails. There is significant talk about how members preferences for receiving communications(which they requested) have been reset to default which explains the drops. I do not like to guess but is this a planned move to reduce group activity before these changes or is it related to a lawsuit LinkedIn lost about being overly ambitious emailing of its members with offers.

    Mike Thanks for let me post this. Happy Holidays to all

  • KenL

    … just don’t expect to find it easy to see the ones you are most interested in, as compared to the ones LinkedIn thinks you should be interested in

  • treb072410

    Great post Vive

  • Alex

    I wonder how this is going to impact group targeting on the LinkedIn ad platform. I would usually do extensive research (if public) on members in a certain group, discussions, posting frequency, etc. before advertising to them.

  • Bret Smith

    I can share with you that, as a group founder and moderator with some 6,000 members to look after, I appreciate the overall motives here. That said, forcing us to place nearly all members under moderation to ensure we keep spam “out of the pool” is an administrative hassle and an inconvenience for our members. I had no issues whatsoever moving spammy content to the Promos tab and see no genuine reason for removing it. Further, there are a number of valuable posts that I would like to share with my network of over 8,500 and yet can no longer do that from a member’s post. Most importantly, however, is the complete lack of group analytics in this so-called improvement.

  • I am looking for one possible benefit. Engagment by the group managers. There were plenty of groups that I wanted to participate in but I was unable to get any conversations started with the group mamngers until I discovered that many of these “managers” were not real. So with the changes, I hope it flushes out the fake managers and real people step in and take their place. I always found it of value to engage with the group managers and find out what content they like to see in discussions.

  • T Lynn

    It’s really hard to overlook the broken group search function, as a newbie on LinkedIN. The group changes seem to overcome about 90% of the reason I finally broke down and decided to invest valuable time on LinkedIN. I really hope these are growing pains and not a ham-handed way to end up with a really bad job-hunters rolodex plus sponsored thoughts from paid influencers. If you are a member of groups of interest to entrepreneurs, business managers who happen to be women, adult girl scouts, or even people open to building connections in this new system, feel free to connect with me. Tary — assetanswers@gmail.com

  • LinkedIn has messed up. Groups are at the heart of the LinkedIn experience, in my view. Why has LinkedIn made it so difficult to find groups and to search for members? Is that a sin? LinkedIn does me no favors when it decides what’s interesting to share from my groups. This morning I saw the same post four times from someone who had posted it to four groups. I have no objection to that if the content is of interest to members of all the groups. But do I need to see it four times in my “personalized” highlights?

  • Matthew Rinkerman

    Mike I do not think the issues of Fake Profiles and Groups were addressed. But those groups that are Unlisted might help but I find it interesting that LI could not lock these individuals and Groups down since they seem to have the technology to do it. I was in the Group Managers Community and many members were booted for being vocal but are still listed as a member but not able to participate

  • Matthew Rinkerman

    I have been wondering myself what does Li have to offer advertisers.

  • Matthew Rinkerman

    Bret I really miss the promotions tab as we used it as a archive for Discussions that helped to solved issues.

  • Some more inconsistancies. I have said many times – the LI changes revolve around what is going to make them money. Groups was not making them any money but causing a lot of grief and time for their progrmmers.

  • Matthew Rinkerman

    Agreed Mike Its surprising that LI did not use a ad tool like ad sense to match members and ads, now with declining site interactions what do they offer adertsiers.

  • Matthew Rinkerman

    Actually you can join 100 Groups

  • LisaDJenkins

    Hi Matt,
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and concerns here. We’ve reached out to the author to let her know there are new comments for her to respond to. We appreciate your patience.

  • linkedinexpert

    HI Matthew… Not sure that we are saying opposite things..
    Yes, I know what SWAM is (I actually mentioned it in the first draft, but we took it out since at the time of writing the post it was unclear as to whether LinkedIn would continue with its auto moderation or not.).

    As for Content Marketing = Spam. I don’t think the two are the same. I do agree that it is much more difficult to share content and for that content to get engagement now. As mentioned in an earlier comment, we were trying to be positive about these changes and what they could mean. As you said time will tell ,…

    As for monetizing groups… you can of course use groups to share content that might eventually drive people to your product or service. There is nothing about that. You can’t BUY or SELL groups. (I spoke to the folks at LinkedIn and that is what they told me.)

    Hope that clarifies.

    Viveka

  • linkedinexpert

    Agree Alex. Using Groups for research (other than maybe asking people to fill out a survey monkey poll) is probably a thing of the past!!!

  • linkedinexpert

    LinkedIn’s Self Service Ads are pretty good, if you know how to manipulate them. Are you a member of the SMMSociaety Matthew? I did a webinar on it for them. or there is one on Lynda.com that might help too.

  • linkedinexpert

    I agree Bret. In general… not thrilled with many of the changes Linkedin is making. Maybe they are reading these comments???? We can only hope!

  • linkedinexpert

    I do like the “Administrators” tab when you search on Members. Makes communicating with them easier (I don’t think they had that when we first wrote this article)/

  • linkedinexpert

    Right?????!!!! All I can say is I hope LinkedIn is reading THESE comments!

  • Matthew Rinkerman

    General Limits for LinkedIn Groups
    What are some of the general limits for LinkedIn Groups?
    Last Reviewed:
    10/13/2015
    Various limits for LinkedIn Groups are listed below. We believe
    these limits can accommodate those with a wide variety of interests and yet still encourage quality group management and ngagement.

    Group limits for members:
    How many groups can I own and/or manage at one time? 30.
    How many groups can I be a member of at one time? 100.

    Directly from LinkedIn

  • Matthew Rinkerman

    Viveka you say your a LinkedIn Expert but then you need to read the Updated User Agreement and Terms Of Use. I clearly states LinkedIn does not want groups Monetized. Actually that has been the rule since Groups were started but never enforced since the company was trying to grow membership.
    If manage a Group you would know that LI has removed at least 40 features which now many have realized were designed to degrade groups.

    I never said anything about buying and selling groups, I said that LI has now begun to crackdown on it since it costs them money to sustain groups and “Groups” are driving traffic off LinkedIn to a Group Owners Site.

    Now regarding Content Marketing-Spam and LinkedIn Filters.
    1) The number one complaint from Paying Members is Spam.
    2) Since most groups never followed LI guideline most groups are filled with both Self Promotional and Yes Spam selling a product or Service.
    3)Since LI seemed unable to control groups they have been eliminating features that allowed for proper management.
    4) Now LinkedIn Filters are screening all posting and flagging what it considers Spam.
    5) So if a member posts regularly across multiple groups and the posts do not receive any likes or comments that poster is deemed low quality and is either in SWAM or a new “way” to minimize that posters efforts.

    Besides the elimination of 40 features and that LI does not send group communications out, Comment Notifications, Weekly Digests or Announcements . Which they are under no obligation to send per revised rules. Most groups have become ghost towns as a result of these actions.

    This could be a result of a lost lawsuit related to LinkedIn Spamming its own members. As I said your information is correct in theory but not in practice.

  • Hey Matthew,

    Here are the LinkedIn links on groups terms of service:
    https://help.linkedin.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/22/~/terms-of-service—groups
    https://www.linkedin.com/static?key=pop_more_groups_terms

    Do you have other links?

    Many people who run groups are indirectly benefiting from the groups because perhaps they are consultants and end up picking up clients or something similar.

  • Matthew Rinkerman

    Hi Mike,
    Very True and that is one of the reasons behind the October 14th Update. Those groups are being minimized as we speak. The real culprit in this is LI since they allowed this to take place for the sake of growth. Going back to the theme of this article just this morning I learned of 5 people placed on LI Digital Black List. So those new LI filters are working hard to keep the Spammers out but at the same time quality information is also being blocked.

    If you factor in that LI has eliminated 40 features to help properly manage groups including cutting off group communications and these new filters has created ghost towns for most groups.

    If and now expected that LI will drop groups why would anyone think its a good idea to start a LinkedIn Group. Look at Facebook its more robust but not exactly like LI

  • Awesome Post Viveka, Stumbled upon it while doing research for my monster post on Social Media Marketing Changes 2015 and how they affect HBOs, would be glad to Link to this post @juleskalpauli.com. In fact I have referenced it as a resource. Let me know if that’s okay 🙂

  • آلاء المصري :)

    Thank you very much for the wonderful article … I have a question

    How many groups can participate it? Is it 50? Or change it

    Within the free plan

  • ncberns

    This is either a skit for Saturday Night Live or no one has bothered checking the groups or hearing the endless stream complaints by group moderators. LinkedIn’s “updates” have changed my role from moderator to spam filter. Everything I do is harder. Groups are much less useful than before and posts are much harder to follow. I would strongly advise any sane marketer to steer their clients as far from LI as possible.

    Odd that there’s no mention of the thousands of complaints in the Group Moderator Community. Or that anyone who had issues with these “updates” was kicked out for complaining. .

  • Viveka, as always, a great authority on all things LinkedIn. I have spent the better part of the morning on LinkedIn groups today and I don’t think the changes seem to be working as LinkedIn intended. Each group is filled with copy/paste blog posts and very little interaction.