The Blue Dog Scientific Blog: How To Take Back Control of LinkedIn Groups.

How To Take Back Control of LinkedIn Groups.

How to Set Your LinkedIn Group Free.
Background.
 
Recently, LinkedIn released a number of edicts on changes to Group Management. In particular, they are now only allowing Group owners to pick a single discussion post as a Manager's Choice. They are also removing your ability to individualize your Group via a cover or "hero" image.

Solution. 

This post describes a solution which exploits the major advantages of Pinterest and/or Google+ Collections, using those media to support your LinkedIn Group.

I have found that Google+ Collection will work much better for this idea than Pinterest.

It will allow you to
  • achieve much higher visibility of your Group;
  • choose Discussion posts as you see fit;
  • rank order Discussion posts;
  • put your Group completely beyond the foibles of LinkedIn. 
Furthermore - and here is the best bit - it eliminates poor quality posts and spam entirely as far as your members are concerned, but...

...perhaps there is something better still. It will allow you to bring into play the full might of analytics. For the first time ever, you will have the view counts on individual Group Discussions. More than that you will have demographic data to interrogate.

I have assumed your Group is a publically visible one. "Members only" Groups can still use this concept, simply by creating a Pinterest board/Google+ Collection which is members only too.

Step 1: Create a Pinterest Board/Google+ Collection.

The first thing to do is create a Pinterest board or Google+ Collection specifically for your  Group.

Step 2: Pin Discussions to the Board/Share Posts to the Collection.

Now share hand-picked Discussion posts from your LinkedIn Group to this place. To sgare a Discussion, you just take the URL of that Discussion.

On Pinterest, then click to add a pin on the board, choose the "from the web" option and paste the URL. Pin the author's photo which comes up. On Google+, simply paste the link into a new post.

On Google+ you can also choose the thumbnail of any link in the original LinkedIn Discussion.


Step 3: Add Good  Descriptions on the Pin or Post.

Again, Google+ is much better for this, because of formatting, readability and control over how much text shows above the "read more" link.

The key here will be  good descriptions for each of these pins and this is where you will need to do just a little bit of work. I suggest pasting the Discussion's title, author, date etc. into the text part.

Step 4. Use the Manager's Choice in Your Group as the Link to the Board.

LinkedIn have stated that you will only be able to have a single Manager's Choice post for your Group, but your chosen post will always appear at the top of a member' view.

What you could do is post a Discussion in your Group yourself. In this Discussion, you paste the Pinterest board or Google+  Collection. Add a bit of text  explanation on how to use the Pinterest board/Google+  Collection. Then make and keep this post as your Manager's Choice.

Step 5. Encourage Your Members to Use the Board.

You are now using the full power of Pinterest and/or Google+ as a visual discovery tool for your Group. This is much better way to browse Group Discussions than searching from within LinkedIn: instead of scrolling through a list, viewers can browse very many Discussions at a time, and the priority order is now completely up to you, since you choose the order of the pins as they appear on the board.

Tell members they can use the board to archive or collect those Discussions which they find interesting or want to refer back to later. They can do this simply by re-pinning the ones they find of interest to their own boards/collections.

Step 6: Enjoy the Best of Both World and Make Quality Your Choice.

This is a very powerful tool indeed. Here's some reasons why.
  • The board/collection keeps all your [chosen] Group's Discussions alive very much longer than the here-today-gone-tommorow posts they are now
  • It is a great for increasing the awareness/marketing/reach of your Group
  • It gives your members a real incentive to post great contributions - getting on to the board is now an aspirational goal.
  • You can also pin Group rules, news, banners, branding, infographics, whos-who, special offers, promo's etc., etc. right there on the board along with the Discussion pins.
But here's the absolute clincher. In that Manager's Choice post which is permanently at the top of members views, you say something this:

"Please use the Group's Pinterest Board/Google+ Collectoin to browse Discussions, because this is where you will find only quality Discussions which we have moderated and hand picked for you. We want you to have the optimal experience of our Group. We therefore do not waste our time going through the LinkedIn Group posts,  deleting spam, we instead go through choosing the good stuff for you and collating it on the board. To re-iterate: the board is your graphical user interface to the good stuff. By using the board in this way, we are able to give you the quality Discussion forum we all want and you will never have to see any spam at all ever again."

7. Embed or Share Your LinkedIn Discussion Group Everywhere.
 
Did you know you can embed Pinterest Boards and share Google+ Collections? This effectively means your you have put you LinkedIn Group into a suitcase and it is now portable, shareable, postable. You could even have it in your email signature.

8. Demographics of Discussions.

Now. Pinterest has pretty good in built analytics and Google+ can be integerated with analytics too? Using this technique, you for the first time ever, get a good handle on the view count of each Discussion via the number of click thrus. But it's more than just clicks, because with analytics you get the Demographics of the Discussions.

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