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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Are LinkedIn groups dead?

Are LinkedIn groups dead?

LinkedIn groups
Are you — or were you — a fan of LinkedIn groups?
I have long been a big supporter of LinkedIn groups because I always learned so much from the discussions. Because of that, I invested a significant amount of my social media time in group discussions — until LinkedIn redesigned the site in early 2017.
That’s when the group chatter just stopped.

LinkedIn groups seemed to disappear

The first clue that groups were in trouble after the redesign was that I couldn’t find them. I had to use Google to locate the 20 or so groups where I am (or was . . .) the most active.
Since then, group discussions have practically disappeared. A group post that might have generated 48 comments two years ago might get three or four, now. I truly, truly miss those discussions.
Traffic from LinkedIn to this blog has dropped, too. In the first quarter of 2016, LinkedIn was a top traffic source for this site. That volume started declining in the first quarter of last year after the site redesign and today? It’s about half of what it used to be.

Authors have noticed a difference

I asked the Build Book Buzz Facebook group members if they had noticed the change (it’s no coincidence that the group is on Facebook, not LinkedIn). Those who used to be active in the groups did see a difference, of course. One group owner said she created a new group for her community on Facebook because of the dropoff in group member participation on LinkedIn.
With confirmation that others had noticed a disappointing drop in LinkedIn group activity, I did a quick online search to see what I could learn about the what and why behind this apparent effort to kill off the social network’s groups.
Search results were initially discouraging — most had reached the same conclusion that I did — until I came across “LinkedIn Set to Bring Back Groups from the Dead (But, Why?“) on Inc.com.
Notice that, “But, why?” in the title.
The “why” is that they were amazingly useful before LinkedIn messed things up.
I emailed a LinkedIn publicist twice to confirm the article’s report that there would be “a renewed focus on groups” but never got a response.
What I did get two weeks later, however, was an invitation to the “LinkedIn Groups Listening Tour” in one of the company’s three offices in San Francisco, Toronto, and New York. I’m interpreting that as a sign that the company actually is trying to breathe life into groups.

Ask the expert

LinkedIn groups 2
LinkedIn expert Wayne Breitbarth
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I contacted my friend Wayne Breitbarth, author of The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success, to get his opinion about the future of LinkedIn groups.
“I am hopeful, but there is a real lack of caring right now from the members so it will take some real emphasis and focus” he says, adding,”I haven’t seen enough from them since the big January announcement. I do hear of some smaller groups still operating efficiently, but that is the exception rather than the rule.”

To quote The Clash, “Should I stay or should I go?”

Should we abandon LinkedIn groups? Or should we wait a little longer while the company begins to implement changes promised in January before making a decision?
“If you find a group that is being managed well and the membership is still made up of the right folks for you, stick with it and post, share, and engage in what is going on and try to take those interactions on to connections and then to phone calls or email or meetings,” Breitbarth advises.
He notes that people in groups can message 15 group members per month even if they’re not connected to each other.
“That’s like getting 15 InMails free from LinkedIn each month,” he adds.

What are your other options?

That’s not to say you shouldn’t be looking at other options, though.
“If your audience is on Facebook, I would probably move in that direction because of a general lack of LinkedIn showing they truly care about this part of the platform,” Breitbarth says.
Are you still using LinkedIn groups, as I am? What are you seeing with them? Are they fading away, or surviving? 

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