LinkedIn Groups are one the network’s most popular features. There are more that 2 million Groups around every imaginable topic — from business groups, local groups, niche specific, to social media marketing. These groups have become a great place for members to exchange ideas and share knowledge and ideas.
Over the last year LinkedIn has been making major changes to the platform with the most recent changes to LinkedIn Groups. The recent changes to LinkedIn Groups align it closer in look and feel like the rest of the site, giving it a clean and fresh look.
While much of the layout and navigation has changed, some things have remained the same.
Below are five of the biggest changes to LinkedIn Groups.
1. LinkedIn Groups Header (Hero) Image
The first change you may notice in the groups is the addition of a header image, also called a Hero Image. This new space is an excellent chance for group owners to convey the purpose and tone of the group to both existing and prospective members at a quick glance. What is interesting about this image space is that it is actually rotates between your image and the Manager’s Choice Discussions. Members can manually rotate through the Manager’s Choice discussions and header image or let them rotate automatically over time.
You can add the 646 X 200 pixel Hero Image to your own group by clicking the Manage tab (only visible if you own the group) in the top navigation bar and then clicking on Group Information located in the menu on the left side of the page.
Pro Tip: If you own a group and are going to add a new Hero Image, make sure that you don’t use this image as just another place to paste your logo or pitch a promotion. Create an image that will provide visual interest, value and help attract new group members.
2. Group Profiles & Statistics
LinkedIn has removed the More tab that was located in the navigation bar and replaced it with an “i“ located in the top right side of the page. Clicking on the i will open a drop down box that has both the information on the group as well as links to familiar pages such as the Group Profile, Group Rules and Group Statistics pages. You can also access your personal settings for the group here.
Quick Tip: You will find the link to the Subgroups that belong within the Group on this page.
3. Search Tab
Quickly locate a particular Discussion or Discussions on a specific topic using the new improved search options on the Search tab that will allow you to narrow your search by:
- Latest Activity
- All Discussions
- All Polls
- Manager’s Choice
- Discussions You’ve Started
- Discussions You’ve Joined
- Discussions You’re Following
- Pending Submissions
If you are a group owner or manger, there is also the ability to select Set Manager’s Choice Order.
Quick Tip: Quickly find discussions you are following or participating in using the Discussion selection options located on the left side of the page below the search box.
4. Member List
One of the benefits of belonging to a group is the ability to send a message to fellow group members that you are not directly connected to as a 1st Level connection, without using an InMail.
Thankfully this is still a feature you can access by clicking on the number of group members located in the top right side of the page.
From the members page you can search for a specific member using the search box located on the left side of the page near the top or by scrolling through the list of members. From here you can view the group activity or send a message to a group member as well as send a connection request to any members you are not connected to.
Quick Tip: Below the Search Box on the left side is a list of new members to the group within the last week. Check this list regularly for new members of the group that you might want to connect and build a relationship with.
5. Sharing a LinkedIn Group
LinkedIn has made it very easy for members to share any of the groups that they belong. To share a group, click on the arrow located on the far right at the top of the page.
This will open a pop up window and you can choose to share the group as a personal update, a post to another group or as a message to individuals.
Quick Tip: When sharing a group, either as an update, post or message, make sure that you include a personal note that describes why you think that an individual, group or your entire network would find value from joining that group.
While these are just some of the changes to Groups, there are undoubtedly many more. What do you think of these changes? What other changes have you noticed? Leave your comments and opinions below.