The Blue Dog Scientific Blog: Enhanced LinkedIn Groups via Google+ Collections.

Enhanced LinkedIn Groups via Google+ Collections.

Spam free LinkedIn Groups using a Google+ Collection.
This article describes a new solution for LinkedIn Groups which exploits the major advantages of Google+ to support and enhance LinkedIn Discussions.

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. 
  • brand your Group however you want to;
  • choose as many Manager's Choices as you want to;
  • categorize Discussions;
  • hide spam completely.
I have assumed your Group is a publicly visible one. "Members only" Groups can still use this concept, simply by creating a Google+ Collection which is "private" too. Here I was originally thinking about actual G+ Collections, but +Alan Stainer pointed out that this could be just  as effectively done with a G+ community. It could also be achieved via a G+ Page. So throughout, I will use the  word "Collection" rather loosely, to collectively describe Collection, Community or Pages.

How it Works.

Currently, LinkedIn Groups are subject to having only a couple of choices of view (recent and popular). Compared to visual discovery tools like Google+, which use a grid or "portfolio" based graphical listing, the linear listing of LinkedIn Groups does not make Discussions easy to browse, navigate or search. There is a lot of scrolling down involved! Furthermore, Group managers and moderators cannot rank order or otherwise easily recommend, archive or categorize articles.

The idea here is to exploit Google+ to create a graphical menu of hand-picked, recommended or archived Discussions. Each Google+ post is a then graphical link to a chosen Discussion: clicking on any such G+ post takes the viewer direct to the original Discussion in the LinkedIn Group.

Example of a how LinkedIn Discussions look on G+.
 By encouraging Group members to use the Group's associated Google+ Collection for browsing or searching the Discussions, rather than the LinkedIn main Group area, you can provide them with a more optimal experience. Instead of wasting your time going through the LinkedIn Group's posts,  deleting spam, you can go through choosing the good stuff and collating it in the Collection.  By using the Collection in this way, you are able to give members the quality Discussion forum everyone wants and they will never have to see any spam at all ever again.

Step 1: Create a Google+ Collection.

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

Step 2: Share Discussions to the Collection.

Now share hand-picked Discussion posts from your LinkedIn Group to this place. To share a LinkedIn Discussion to G+, you simply take the URL of that Discussion and paste the link into a new Google+ post. You are given a choice of the image for the G+ post at this stage, e.g. the author's photo or a thumbnail from a link in the original LinkedIn Discussion.

Step 3: Add the Discussion details.

For each of these posts, you can also add in any details into the text of the G+ post. You could give your own summary review and rating, for example. Remember that Google+ has nice and easy ways to format the text!

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

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 link to the Google+  Collection. Add a bit of text explaining how to use the Google+  Collection. Then make and keep this post as your Manager's Choice, so that anyone arriving at your Group knows to make their way immediately to the G+ Collection to get a much better overview of what the Group is all about.

Step 5. Encourage Your Members to Use the Board.

You are now using the full power of 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 can effectively choose the order of the pins as they appear in the Collection.

Members can also extract and archive their favorite Discussions from the Collection and create their own Collections, so that they can easily find and reference those Discussion posts they have personally found interesting, useful or want to refer back to later.

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

This is a powerful tool. Here's some reasons why.
  • The Collection keeps 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 into the Collection is now an aspirational goal.
  • You can also post Group rules, news, banners, branding, infographics, whos-who, special offers, promo's etc., etc. right there in the Collection along with the Discussion posts.
7. Embed or Share Your LinkedIn Discussion Group Everywhere.
You can also embed and share Google+ Collections. By using a G+ collection, therefore, this effectively means you have put your LinkedIn Group into a suitcase. It is now portable, shareable, postable. You could even have it in your email signature.


  1. This is a great article discussing the use of Google Collections to enhance your LinkedIn marketing efforts.

    I blog about #FUFISM based marketing on the 4ubrand blog with blogspot. I recently posted about the use of Google Collections from an SEO perspective and you can read that post here

    1. Thanks you Frank, I'm heading over to check out your article now.

  2. I wrote a blog post on the 4u brand blog that expands on this topic offereing the SEO value of collections to boost your personal or business brans see