Recently, LinkedIn made some pretty big changes to their groups and as someone who has recommended that people consider creating their own LinkedIn groups I can no longer include that as a startup strategy component and here’s why:
Not so Searchable!
LinkedIn groups used to be fully searchable. This meant that you could find them in Google and see some of the conversations even if you weren’t a member. Now all groups are closed groups. Joining is now blind in that you won’t be able to see if the topics are of interest to you before becoming a member.
Permission Approved or Denied?
As closed groups simply joining is no longer an option. You must now apply to join as a member and in some groups people must be invited to join. The biggest issue here is for those looking to start LinkedIn groups. Now a new group will have trouble getting members unless they already have a huge fan base who uses LinkedIn. As you can imagine new businesses will then struggle to grow a LinkedIn platform.
Interestingly enough, not only the group owners and moderators hold the power to approve your membership request. So can your friends and connections. Better hope your competition doesn’t hold the key!
For those who are in groups already they will notice that the Promotions tab has been removed. Although LinkedIn has said that the Promotions tab was not very useful in the social media management groups people are not pleased with this change (or the other changes) saying they used this tab for topics they didn’t know how to categorize and to allow members to promote themselves. For members this makes it a little confusing as they may now think that sharing their business information in a group is no longer acceptable when that isn’t the case.
It’s Not All Bad!
Now LinkedIn has given us the ability to post pictures with our posts when we start a conversation. We can’t use images in replies but maybe that will come at another time.
Lastly they have now allowed us to use mentions. For those familiar with Twitter it will work similarly where you put an @ sign in front of their name. Another option will be to click the arrow beside their name and choose to mention them in your comment.
So What Does This All Mean for Me?
Really if you aren’t looking to have your own group on LinkedIn all of these changes may mean very little for you. Even then LinkedIn is primarily B2B (Business to Business) so if you are selling to individual consumers LinkedIn wouldn’t be a popular platform for your business anyways.
Sadly though, if you were considering creating your own business topic group it may prove harder to do as you likely don’t have a lot of people to send newsletters to announcing the group opening. If you do then you will find more success so long as your target market is interested.
For the full list and information on the new LinkedIn group changes here is their help center article: help.linkedin.com
Do you agree with the new changes or see them a different way? I would love to have your opinion on them and let us know if you like the changes or not.