5 new LinkedIn group features and why they matter

Thu, Jul 15, 2010

Uncategorized

As a social networking business tool, LinkedIn is definitely growing on me. At the outset, I knew LinkedIn was a great way to research potential clients and PR and marketing managers within those organizations.

I also knew it was a fantastic way to grow my professional community. I’ve met a number of very smart people from my LinkedIn connections. And, it’s allowed me to start new relationships with people I’ve wanted to approach for some time.

Through the groups functionality, I’ve strengthened relationships with independent PR consultants from across the country, learned about new tools through professional organizations and reconnected with former colleagues through alumni groups.

But recently, LinkedIn rolled out some new updates to its Group functionality that have already changed the way I interact on the platform. Below are five of the newest changes and what they mean for you as a participant–and manager–of LinkedIn groups:

* Placing a premium on discussions. Probably the biggest, and most impactful, change in LinkedIn groups is the new look for the group home page. Besides the basic cosmetic changes LinkedIn made to the layout (which I love), participants now have the opportunity to “like” posts. This gives you more opportunities to help identify topics that are most important to the group. In the end, this will make it easier for participants and group managers to identify which topics are resonating with participants more quickly. Back to the layout. The new format makes it much easier (and more intuitive for beginners) to start a discussion (remember, the premium?). In fact, the whole top half of the page (above the digital “fold”) is now all about discussions and content. And, as we just discussed, thanks to adding the “like” functionality, the most popular and impactful conversations should bubble right to the top so you can find them more easily.

* Browse and review comments more easily. One of my favorite new features is the ability to review the last three comments for each discussion by easily mousing over the participants icon. Very easy and efficient way to read the latest without clicking through to every discussion. Again, Linked is clearly putting more emphasis on quality discussions. But, they also seem to be putting more time and energy into the “experience” of visiting LinkedIn. Clean, easy to navigate, scannable. Nice.

* More chances to follow. It’s certainly not obvious, but you can actually follow people on LinkedIn. I know, I really didn’t realize this either until last year. But, with these new updates, LinkedIn has expanded this feature, too. Now, it’s easier to follow people (shows up right under your photo when you start a discussion) and you can even follow individual discussions by clicking “follow” on each separate discussion page. What’s great about this new addition is not only will that discussion show up in your “activity” pane, it will also show up in your inbox.

* Ability to highlight fresh–or recycled–content. Formerly known as “Featured Discussion”, LinkedIn decided to change this feature to “Manager’s Choice” due to confusion over who was previously featuring these discussions. Group managers will now have the ability to highlight discussions in a box on the right-hand side of the home page–and these discussions will take on a more prominent role in the group digest email soon. Great way for group managers to highlight new content–or content that really struck a chord a couple weeks ago, but a topic not everyone in the group may have seen.

* Identify top group influencers. Want to find out who’s contributing to the group on a regular basis? That’s much easier now–thanks to the “top influencers this week” box in the lower-right-hand corner. This new feature will help participants get a better feeling for who’s really involved in the group. And, it will help managers, too, since there’s a great deal of value in knowing who’s most active in your particular communities.

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9 comments
stag night
stag night

This is the first step in a series of upgrades to the Groups functionality that you will be seeing in the months to come. In addition to discussions, given below are three more new feature enhancements to LinkedIn Groups

stag party
stag party

I like to see that they are trying to expand into group functionality. It should be simple and easy-to-use. Other bells and whistles just aren't that necessary.

davinabrewer
davinabrewer

I try to make the time for LinkedIn, and think the groups offer the best social networking. Sharing articles and blogs posts with groups has been great, it really works and I've gotten a lot from it. Will have to check out these new features, and Stephanie's post for sure.

dougshaw
dougshaw

...and I kinda liked the way you used to be able to split news ie links to blogs articles etc, from discussions, requests for help, debates. The future eh...it'll never catch on :)

Amy Dean
Amy Dean

But, you can no longer see the number of views on articles posted in the news section. Big bummer! Help us measure!

Arik Hanson
Arik Hanson

Damn, I like your post *much* better... ;)

Thanks for stopping by!

Arik Hanson
Arik Hanson

If you focus your time and energy, it's a wonderful platform, I've found.

roborr
roborr

Getting deeper in to LinkedIn is something that I've been trying to do for a while. All the more reason are these improvements

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