LinkedIn Groups: Waste of Time or Tremendous Opportunity?

LinkedIn groupsThere are over two million LinkedIn groups. But are those networking groups now a waste of time? Or a tremendous career opportunity?

To be brutally honest with you, this LinkedIn feature has had its ups and downs over the years. But now LinkedIn has completely revamped this feature and even added a separate App. And today, we can also join 100 network groups as opposed to 50 in prior years.

So how much time should you realistically devote to groups?

In response to my recent LinkedIn user survey, let’s see what LinkedIn users are saying about groups.

  • Over 59% of the users are in ten or more LinkedIn network groups
  • Only 28% of the users consider the Groups feature to be helpful. (In 2010, 76% of the users rated Groups as a helpful feature)

So, let’s take a deeper dive into the numbers. And let’s see if there is a correlation between groups and LinkedIn success.

Do Successful Users Find Network Groups Helpful?

When asked, How important is LinkedIn in your efforts to grow your network and develop your business or help you find employment, respondents answered 1 to 5 (with 5 representing extremely important and 1 representing not important).

  • About one-tenth of those surveyed answered 1 or 2, and only 31% of them are in 10+ groups and only 14% consider Groups to be a helpful feature.
  • Two-thirds of the survey respondents answered 4 or 5, and 68% of them are in 10+ groups and 33% consider network Groups to be a helpful feature.

Conclusion: Most LinkedIn users are currently finding network groups to be significantly less helpful. But the users who consider LinkedIn to be very important to their career success are still joining lots of groups. And they attribute some of their success to group membership.

Simple Ways LinkedIn Network Groups Can Help You Be More Successful

While some of these suggestions may seem fairly obvious, others relate to more advanced concepts or features. And some may prove difficult for the average LinkedIn user to find. Keep at it, though; the results are worth the effort.

Network groups enable you to virtually network with people in your target audience without leaving your home or office. So engaging with people in the right groups can easily be your most productive LinkedIn activity.

  • You can share your industry expertise by commenting and sharing information on the latest trends, products and happenings. Positioning yourself can be easy if you concentrate on helping people rather than making a buck.
  • You can post job openings for free. Or announce that you’re looking for employment in the Jobs section of each group. This is especially helpful when the group relates specifically to your industry.
  • Each calendar month, you can direct message (for free) up to fifteen fellow group members. That includes those who are not part of your first-level network. Typically you’d have to use a $10 InMail to message a fellow group member to whom you’re not connected.
  • Your individual search ranking will improve when you and the searcher are members of the same group. Yes, LinkedIn’s search algorithm remains a highly kept secret. But some experts have speculated that fellow group members are equivalent to second-degree connections.
  • People are more likely to accept your invitation to connect on LinkedIn if you belong to the same group(s). With a free LinkedIn membership, you can do an advanced people search and filter for a specific LinkedIn network group. And if you have a premium membership, you can search for people who belong to multiple groups.
  • Based on LinkedIn research, you will increase your number of profile views by four times if you’re active in groups. And more profile views typically leads to good things. This is especially true when those viewers are members of a group related to your industry.

LinkedIn groups still have lots of potential. Most of the users I talk to hope the latest revisions will mean brighter days ahead for this once highly coveted LinkedIn feature. Why not join me in testing the waters by becoming active in a couple groups.

Hopefully the results will be a welcome surprise.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Power Formula.


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Wayne Breitbarth AuthorAbout the Author: Wayne Breitbarth is the CEO of Power Formula LLC. He is an experienced businessman, speaker, and author who has shared his passion for social media with 40,000+ business professionals. Through private business consulting and dynamic presentations to audiences including Inc. Magazine, the American Marketing Association, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Wayne makes LinkedIn simple. Wayne is the author of the best-selling book The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success. Connect with Wayne on Twitter.



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