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It is that time of year: LinkedIn Q4 new feature rollouts. Oh wait, this happens every quarter, doesn’t it? My team and I work hard to stay on top of the constant evolution of LinkedIn, but even we sometimes are challenged to keep up. It was recently announced that LinkedIn will be changing and updating features on LinkedIn Groups. Here is what we know so far:

  1. Standard & Unlisted LinkedIn Groups (formerly known as “open” and “closed”)—Standard Groups can be found by searching on LinkedIn and members can request to join, while Unlisted Groups are not discoverable and membership requires an invitation from a manager; in both types of Groups, only Group members can see the conversations. This means that all Groups will be private since discussions will not be visible until you have joined the Group.

*Note: All LinkedIn Groups will soon be Unlisted until the designated Group administrator(s) selects the Group to be Standard or Unlisted.

  1. LinkedIn Groups mobile app—Launched October 14; LinkedIn has more apps on the market than we can count, but we are okay with it. Check out my colleague’s blog series: LinkedIn Apps Keep You Connected, Part II to hear our perspective on LinkedIn’s mobile apps. You may find new apps you didn’t know about that can help you be more productive and focused.

More than 47% of LinkedIn’s traffic comes from its mobile applications. This may come as no surprise to many of you since you primarily use LinkedIn on your mobile or tablet device. Remember all of your mobile apps are “lite” versions of the application’s full website. LinkedIn is no different.

  1. Instant discussion posts—Discussions will now instantly post without the need for Group administrator approval. However, Groups administrators can still remove discussions and flag members in moderation, while members can still flag inappropriate discussions and comments.

LinkedIn understands that timeliness and high engagement go hand-in-hand and are key to a successful Group.

  1. Controlled content—This algorithm will use Group Highlights for discussions that are most engaging to ensure you see content that is important to you; this will minimize the junk we may be accustomed to seeing.
  2. Find Groups that interest YOU—Search results for possible Groups you should join will be based on the Skills you list in your Profile, industry experience and past LinkedIn Group memberships.
  3. Mention someone in a LinkedIn Group—Finally, you can @mention someone to tag them in a Group discussion and/or comment to create quicker engagement with other Group members.

I love this feature because it notifies others to view and participate in the conversation, which ultimately drives more engagement around our conversations. Keep in mind that you cannot loop in non-Group members to mention them.

  1. Separating jobs—LinkedIn has removed job posts in the main/general discussion page, but they will have a designated tab within the Group to minimize distractions within larger Group conversations.

The previous Promotions tab within LinkedIn Groups will also be discontinued as the majority of member feedback indicated that the content within the Promotions tab was generally not valuable and quickly turned spammy.

  1. Make posts visual—LinkedIn Group posts can now have an image inserted to increase higher engagement. While images cannot be posted in comment replies yet, adding a thoughtful image to your discussion can elicit more interaction within your post.

If you have not read it yet, please check out my colleague, Alicia’s, Quick Tip blog post: Death to the Gummy People: 3 Ways to Improve [Blog] Images. This applies to adding images anywhere online. Trust me. It is worth the read or listen since we audio record our posts!

  1. Subgroups removed—Previously, larger LinkedIn Groups had subgroups, but many members found this experience confusing. So, previously existing subgroups will now be their own independent Groups.

A few final thoughts—If you have not been active on LinkedIn Groups in the past, now is your chance to jump into an exciting and valuable component of LinkedIn. If you are a Group administrator, you have been forewarned (if you missed LinkedIn’s email to you) about these upcoming changes and owe it to your members to be in the know.

I am anxious to see the new LinkedIn Groups roll out on my account. Do you have it yet? Let us know.

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