LinkedIn is making some big changes to their groups which will be rolled out during November, simplifying several group features to ensure that groups will always be the most trustworthy place to gather with like-minded professionals. I thought it would be helpful to summarise the main changes. You can also read about them on LinkedIn here.
Standard and Unlisted Groups
All groups will either be Standard or Unlisted. Unlisted Groups don’t show up in search results and only the group’s owner and manager can invite members to the group. Standard Groups do show up in search results and any member can invite any of their 1st degree connections to join. If your group currently has public conversations or is free to join, it’ll become a Standard Group.
All Groups Are Now Private Groups
This change is to encourage more effective conversations, after LinkedIn research showed that professional conversations are most effective in a private trusted space. Conversations in groups will no longer be visible until you’ve joined the group.
All Groups Are Now Members-Only Groups
To encourage higher quality conversations, joining a LinkedIn group now requires either an invitation or approval of your request. Members-only groups have created significantly more participation and conversations than others (up to five times more), indicating that members feel more confident contributing in these types of groups.
To ensure groups are effective as timely conversation forums, conversations will now be posted instantly to a group without the need for manager approval. Group owners, managers, and moderators can still remove off-topic conversations and place members in moderation. Other group members can also flag inappropriate comments and conversations after they’ve been posted.
Better Content Filtering
LinkedIn has improved the filtering of spammy and low-quality content so that promotional conversations stay out of the conversation feed and conversations can happen around more relevant topics. Job listings and job conversations posted to the main conversation feed will automatically be moved to the Jobs tab.
Removal of Promotions Tab
LinkedIn’s member feedback has indicated that promotional content in LinkedIn Groups isn’t a valuable experience, as it can quickly lead to spam. In an effort to focus on quality conversations, the Promotions tab has been removed. Any new promotional posts will go to the moderation queue for the owners, managers, and moderators to approve.
Removal of Subgroups
Group owners will no longer be able to create subgroups since the experience was confusing for the majority of LinkedIn members. In order to surface these subgroups to members and to help these subgroups grow, they will now be treated as their own independent groups. Links to existing subgroups could be added to the About page of the parent group to maintain the hierarchical structure.
LinkedIn Groups iOS Mobile App
You can follow conversations on the go with the new Groups mobile app for iOS. You can receive push notifications for conversations in your groups so you stay updated on what’s happening in your community. The mobile app is currently only available on iOS, but an Android version will also be available soon.
Posting Images in Conversations
You can now make conversations as engaging as possible by posting images to any new conversations. When you start a conversation, you can click the Image icon in the lower left corner of the conversation window to upload your image. Currently, you can’t post images in comment replies to a conversation.
Member Approval in Standard Groups
When a member requests to join a Standard Group, their connections in the group can approve the request. Group owners and managers can also approve any request to join.
Mentions in Group Conversations
You can now reference other group members and bring them into a conversation by typing “@” followed by the group member’s name. This notifies others to view and participate, driving more engagement around your conversations. You can mention a group member when you start a conversation or when you comment on an existing conversation.
All in all these look like sensible changes to me, making groups simpler and easier to use and navigate and hopefully providing a better forum for quality conversations. The @mention feature is a useful one too – it’s good to see the various social networks borrowing from each other when a useful feature emerges. If you’re a group owner, manager, or moderator, and want to learn more about how to run a successful group, LinkedIn have created some guidelines on best practices for managing a group.