Are LinkedIn Groups Worth the Trouble Anymore?

Given all the recent changes at LinkedIn particularly those concerning Groups raise the inevitable question, “Are LinkedIn Groups worth the trouble anymore?”

Two exceptional articles have been written on the subject by two leading LinkedIn thought leaders, Viveka von Rosen and Bruce Johnston.  

(Full disclosure, I co-moderate Viveka’s weekly Twitter Chat, #linkedinchat.  Tuesdays at 8:00PM EST.)

Both do a very good job of explaining the changes to Groups and what they mean to users.

However, there is one question that one question i just raised still doesn’t have an answer.

This isn’t meant as a criticism of either Viveka or Bruce because it’s still early innings with all these changes and no one knows how this will all play out.

But, this is an important question because many people have invested considerable effort and time in their Groups or are thinking of establishing new ones.

The changes to Groups have not been without controversy.

The Group Moderator Community is up in arms.

Groups are discussing their options with Facebook and even Google+ seems to be having some life breathed into it!

(It would be ironic if LinkedIn gave its competitor a new lease on life!)

Some Groups have already begun to close and move to Facebook.

As Viveka points out, two important reasons for using Groups are probably dead.

(OK, she didn’t say dead but I’m known for an overly developed sense of the dramatic.)

These are lead generation and prospecting.

The one remaining possible use for Groups is content marketing according to Viveka.

I agree with her conclusion but I’m not sure it’s going to be as helpful as it once was.

Here’s why.

Who will see your content in the Groups?

In large Groups, members will only have a brief opportunity to see your content before it flies by.

There is no longer member or key word search in Groups.

What do you do?

If you know Viveka writes great content, and she does, then you either go to her profile or her blog.

But, if you don’t know Viveka, you’re living under a rock, then you’ll probably never know to go looking for it.

LinkedIn Groups will be like the Twitter activity feed without the benefit of hashtags, search, or tools like Hootsuite.

What about small groups you may say.

Fair point!

In a smaller group without a lot of activity and members, maybe people can find and read your content.

Will the numbers make it worthwhile?

I doubt it.

Is it even worthwhile to set up a new Group?

Probably not.

It’ll be difficult to grow and moderate.

The few who will join are already part of your network in all likelihood.

Other options like Facebook would give you a better return on your investment in time and effort.

My prediction is that the large Groups that don’t move away will atrophy and die off.

Small Groups may continue to be set up but only for very narrow, tactical purposes.

The debate about the continued usefulness of LinkedIn Groups is still in the very early stages.

LinkedIn may reconsider its position.

New ideas may come along on how to succeed with the changes to Groups.

(Although, I haven’t seen any yet.)

My best advice is to have a complete social media program in place and avoid any undue dependencies on any one social media channel.

Also, make sure to check out Viveka’s and Bruce’s blogs, they’ll keep you current on the latest thinking about LinkedIn!

That’s it for now!

In the meantime, thank you for following and reading my blog!

I look forward to any and all comments that you may have.  I will reply to any comments made to this blog post as promptly as I can.


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