Well, it needed to happen … and finally it did. The search function for the groups section on LinkedIn has just got an overhaul to bring it a little more in line with the rest of the site and not before time, it has to be said.
Groups on LinkedIn are an absolute treasure trove of information, debate, contacts and prospects – a key element of the site that really delivers value at all levels. There are currently some 1.2 million groups, all run by LinkedIn members like you and me, and they deliver a huge variety of content and focus areas, so being able to find the right ones and tap into them is invaluable.
From a sales and marketing perspective, they also provide a veritable goldmine of information and opportunity – though one which needs to be used with great care.
However, the challenge has always been finding the most appropriate ones to participate in. Using my own rule of thumb, with 1.2m groups on offer and our ability to join 50 of them (plus subgroups as well), I still believe we can only really participate properly in a maximum, of 4 – 5. This has been a bit of a “needle in a haystack” job, given the fact that groups which best answer our needs may take a variety of forms such as:
- Vertical Sector
- Trade Association
- Personal Interest
Well, hopefully, that process has just got a little easier.
New LinkedIn Groups Search
Previously on LinkedIn, the Groups search function focused solely on the title of the group and the summary / overview of it that appears in the search results – this has now been extended and made smarter so that it factors in the topics covered in the discussions as well. Even more reason for the Groups’ owners and managers to keep the discussions on topic and spam free I’d suggest, which is no bad thing.
In addition, there is more information displayed about the Group in the results page as you can see in the example below:
Again, more information and also some tools to let you get started more quickly, whether you are already member as in the example above or it’s one that you are thinking of joining. Couple this with the Group Stats page and you should get a fairly good indication of whether it has the profile of membership and activity that you are looking for.
In addition, we are given some additional filters, that allow us to hone down our search according to whether it contains people who are connected to us for example (doesn’t give indication of numbers of these connections, just that there is at least 1 person who is that level of connection), or by categories of groups such as open groups or not and also by language. I hope that these get extended further as time goes on but this is a good starting point.
Where is it?
Well, I have no doubt that this will be being rolled out with all due speed, but (as of today) in the meantime until it reaches you, access to the Group Search function can be found via https://www.linkedin.com/search-fe/group_search.
As a first opinion, I think that it is good that LinkedIn are starting to create more coherence between the different sections of the site and long may it continue. The Groups area is a hugely vibrant place but the group search had been left behind – let’s hope some other areas, such as the Events section for example, are also earmarked for similar treatment.