LinkedIn Groups are About to Change . . . Again


B2B revenue growth is near impossible without strong relationships. Good relationships lead to more introductions and referrals. The introduction often happens when networking at an event from which a LinkedIn invitation is made. LinkedIn provides a way to connect and communicate without a deep investment and offers professional details you would not have otherwise.

LinkedIn Groups are an excellent place to connect with people to hire, collaborate with or serve. Groups are a listening post to better understand wants and needs. Groups have also provided a way to prove your character and expertise without ‘selling’. Understanding Groups offers a very unique opportunity found few other places on the Internet.

Unfortunately, Group owners and administrators have a varying degree of expertise, character and intent. For one “follow the rules’ is most important, for another the option to send email blasts is the priority. This can taint the reputation of Groups… unless you understand your company, strategy and how the tools can support your relationships.

LinkedIn Groups Changes Coming Soon:

In the very near future LinkedIn will be both ‘upgrading’ and streamlining their social media service by cutting out several features, including:

  • The ability for Group administrators to pre-moderate comments.
    • Which allows the moderators to screen the posts of people who have been sending posts that violate group rules.
  • A way to email/send Group posts as emails to the whole group. This means no more ‘email blasts’ from the Group administrator.

Temporary? Mitali Pattnaik, the product manager for Groups, said that “Some of the discontinuations — such as the ability to approve posts before they are live — are temporary and will make their way back to the app in some form over time.”

With about 2 million groups on LinkedIn, there will be some gnashing of teeth as group administrators lose control. Since many administrators focus on strict rules and invest heavily into policing the rules, grumbling has already begun as an announcement detailing the changes was sent out to a selection of Groups power users.

But… Groups will be getting a number of new features:

  • Conversations taking place in Groups will now appear in-stream on the LinkedIn feed, rather than in a separate tab.
  • When group members are replying to posts, there will now be threaded replies, which will let people respond directly to comments within the thread.
  • Adding in new features like the ability to post video and other media, as well as, threaded replies.
  • LinkedIn will also be pushing a lot more Groups activity into your notifications tab.
  • More options for the Admins who will soon be able to pin important items to the top of a Groups’ individual feed.
  • The Admins will also be able to approve and remove members by way of the app, as well as send out messages when necessary.

 One thing that won’t be changing with the new version is that those users will still have to get permission from admins before they can join.

Unfortunately for business owners and managers, for the moment LinkedIn isn’t focused on developing a way to verify whether a person is actually an employee at a particular company. 

Recently we talked about the reality of social media and the availability of feel good sizzle without the meat. This change in LinkedIn is a reminder that the ‘free’ social media tool will continue to evolve and change, and we are not in control. Social media users are the content providers, not the customers. LinkedIn is looking for a win-win as are we, but their goals are most likely not in synch with yours.

What should you do because of this change?  There will be a scurry and flurry of opinions and I expect many outspoken administrators will criticize the company who provides the ‘free’ tool. There will also be LinkedIn gurus who will sell you the new eBook, workshop, or webinar so you too can ‘get more business from LinkedIn’.

With each new change, it is easy to go on the defense, do nothing or withdraw. I hope your team’s mindset is one of ‘how do we optimize?’

That said… focus on listening, understanding what people are interested in and invitations to connect. LinkedIn Groups help to identify specific people interested in a topic or industry. You have an opportunity to serve and gain their trust, regardless of how the widget changes. The public conversations on social media platforms and Groups are only a first step as the real conversations that have a real impact are done privately. There is much that goes on in private messages no one is aware of. (Which is more meat than the public feel good sizzle.)

Another option for you is to reach out to me personally with a question or thought. If you have a confidence about your B2B revenue strategy but find the social media tools more of a hindrance than helpful, I would be happy to offer suggestions. Contact me here.

Topics: News B2B Social Media