2018 LinkedIn Groups Changes — Worth It for B2B Marketers?

LinkedIn Groups Lowdown

“Are LinkedIn Groups dead?” A convo every B2B marketer is familiar with. Back in the day, LinkedIn Groups were hotspots where professionals in the same industry or with similar interests could share their insights, ask for guidance and build connections, but over the last few years Groups have become a ghost town. All that may be changing.

Earlier this year, LinkedIn announced they’re reintegrating Groups with the platform to make them more visible, encourage participation and build communities.

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The Lowdown on LinkedIn Groups

When first introduced to the platform, LinkedIn Groups were a thriving place to network, meet industry experts and exchange ideas. However, in an early 2017 redesign of the platform, LinkedIn turned its focus away from Groups and moved them to a less-visible section of the app and website. Users weren’t easily able to locate Groups and soon lost interest or took their groups to other platforms, such as Facebook.

In the middle of 2018, LinkedIn announced a renewed focus on Groups. Here are a few of the updates:

  • Groups will be accessible from the homepage on both desktop and mobile.
  • Content shared in Groups will begin appearing in the main news feed.
  • The new Groups will feature improved communication tools, including the ability to @mention other members in conversations.
  • Expanded content options in Groups will also become available, including video.

This extra effort to bring Groups back to the forefront of LinkedIn means that the company sees value in them and their networking power. For marketers, this means another opportunity to find an engaged and active audience, if LinkedIn users embrace the updated experience.

So, Are LinkedIn Groups Effective? TBD.

It’s still unclear if the new push on LinkedIn Groups is driving engagement like it used to. Starting and maintaining a LinkedIn Group can be a big investment of time and content. Before you jump in, consider surveying your target audience to determine if that’s something they would be interested in, or get your feet wet by engaging with existing Groups. If you find a well managed group with active members, stay engaged. Share content, comment on discussions and focus on building relationships with members.

    6 Best Practices to Kick Off Your LinkedIn Group

    Ready to give LinkedIn Groups a try? Here are a few tips and tricks to get you started. LinkedIn also offers a breakdown of best practices and a checklist for getting started with LinkedIn Groups.

  1. 1. Promote Your Group

    Once you’ve set up your Group, getting new members is key. Here are three quick ways to make your Group more visible:

    • Optimize and edit your Group’s information to include keywords that prospective members are likely to search for.
    • Encourage Group members to invite people.
    • Advertise your Group with LinkedIn Ads.
  2. 2. Say Hi and Set the Tone

    To get conversations going, publish a “Welcome post” as the Group’s first update. Here you can share what the Group is about and softly remind members to check the Group rules. Feature your post so that it stays at the top of the Group feed for all new members to read.

  3. 3. Encourage Conversations

    Now it’s time to start some meaningful discussions in the Group and encourage conversation. Start by engaging with posts through commenting and liking — it helps to ask open-ended questions that keep the conversation going and allow others to weigh in. Starting conversations this way also helps Group members understand what types of posts that are appropriate and encouraged.

    Once you have a group of engaged members, new members are likely to follow their actions. If they see only quality conversations and no self-promotional posts, they’ll be more likely to contribute to discussions than to promote their own content in the Group.

  4. 4. Appoint Moderators

    Designate one or several admins to act as a moderator, meaning they can start and facilitate discussions. HubSpot recommends posting between two and five times per week, and while best practice says you shouldn’t post on LinkedIn more than once a day, you should be responding to all incoming comments/posts. All those messages and comments can really add up. Having multiple moderators can help lighten the load of setting up and maintaining an active Group.

  5. 5. Avoid Spam

    Another important step in managing Groups is to monitor and remove spam. According to LinkedIn, “Spam is the top reason people leave groups.” Spam in LinkedIn Groups is commonly found in the form of links. Be aware of members sharing links in your LinkedIn Group, and delete those posts or remove the member.

  6. 6. Invest the Time

    Building an engaged community can take significant time and energy. This process will likely need to be repeated over a period of time before you start seeing real traction, but don’t get discouraged. If done right, LinkedIn Groups can be a great way to build an active audience for your brand.

Ready to get started with LinkedIn Groups but need more guidance? We know social — let us help.

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