LinkedIn Groups Updated to Fight Promotional Posts

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Have you been trying to share your blog posts or links to articles within LinkedIn Groups and finding that they aren’t showing up?

Recently LinkedIn eliminated RSS feeds from groups as a way to help group managers control the volume of posts coming in as discussions as well as to control spam. But the effort didn’t stop there. I’ve recently investigated what has changed regarding posting to LinkedIn Groups.

LinkedIn Groups Have a New “Discussion Posts” Algorithm

As a LinkedIn Group manager myself, I was puzzled about what was going on. All of a sudden there were numerous discussions showing up under the “Promotions” tab in my group of over 3000 financial advisor members. In the past, I had always been reviewing my group discussion posts manually before approving them, or marking them as “promotional”! Now, this work was being done for me?

Welcome to LinkedIn’s new algorithm to filter out promotional posts. LinkedIn has begun to filter group discussion posts to determine if they are promotional or not. LinkedIn has told me that they are filtering out posts by keywords that have any sort of promotional context, but they wouldn’t give me specifics other than telling me that words like “sale” and “promotion” were part of the algorithm. LinkedIn also told me that I can’t control which keywords to filter for.

When I reviewed the most recent posts to my group appearing under the Promotions tab, every single one of them contained a link, and most of them were clearly self-promotional. In other words, these folks weren’t interested in starting a true discussion with group members, they were interested in posting links to their own blog posts, products, and services.

Most of the posts under the Promotions tab contain the words “I”, “me” or “my”.

Are LinkedIn Groups that you Belong to Affected?

Unless LinkedIn Group Managers are paying attention to their settings, this is going to be a default setting. Group managers can update their settings to decide how to categorize posts to the group manually by checking the box under Group settings that says:  Allow only moderators and managers to move discussions to the Promotions area

Chances are that most the groups you belong to won’t choose to manually control the filtering of new posts to the group. Why? It’s just too much work, especially for larger groups! Frankly, I’m relieved to see this new feature as a group manager because it makes my job easier. The downside is I’m sure that some quality content that group members could benefit from will get missed. Algorithms aren’t perfect.

How to Share Links to LinkedIn Groups Now

Whether you are sharing your own helpful blog posts (notice I said helpful) or trying to point your fellow LinkedIn Group members to other reputable online content (notice I said reputable), you need to do so in a way that is not self-promotional! You’re going to need to share your content to LinkedIn Groups in a way that is thoughtful and strategic.

There are still tools available that allow you to share posts and links to LinkedIn Groups such as Hootsuite and Buffer (this is a referral link to Buffer). In my opinion Buffer does a much better job of this by pulling in an image with the link (see image below). Hootsuite needs to work on this.

LinkedIn Group Post Using Buffer

LinkedIn Group Post Using the Buffer App

You can also still share to LinkedIn Groups from a status update on your profile.

However, using any of these methods above will not guarantee that your posts that contain links are going to get visibility within LinkedIn Groups.

Your best bet is to post your update manually to each of your LinkedIn Groups, and include a question that will genuinely engage other members in a discussion. Doesn’t seem practical? Then focus on really making an impact in only a handful of groups rather than trying to be involved in up to 50 groups, which is the limit for how many LinkedIn will allow you to join.

Another best practice in posting links to LinkedIn Groups is to leave out the words “I”, “Me”, and “My”. These posts to LinkedIn Groups will most likely land you in the promotions category where no one will see your update.

Lastly, consider starting a LinkedIn Group discussion by asking a question or sharing a value message rather than posting a link. Leave the link out when initiating discussions and instead point group members to reputable content links as a part of ongoing discussions.

(Further reading on how to properly and effectively promote your blog content in LinkedIn Groups)

Chances are if you were getting any blog traffic or visibility from posting your links in multiple LinkedIn Groups without really intending to initiate discussions, it was not high quality traffic. You’re much better off posting to LinkedIn Groups in the way in which they were originally intended to be utilized…as discussion forums.

What are your thoughts? Will you continue to post links to content in LinkedIn Groups? If you manage a group, are you happy about these changes? Please share your thoughts with me in the comments!

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About Stephanie Sammons

I'm Stephanie Sammons. I teach professionals, business owners, and entrepreneurs how to build online influence for business success.

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  • Pingback: How to Properly Promote Your Blog in LinkedIn Groups | Build Online Influence

  • http://twitter.com/changeworldmktg Ellen Finkelstein

    The owner of one of the groups I belong to sent out a message saying that posts with just an article title and link were no longer acceptable. It caused a bit of a stir, but people are adapting. We can add a link to a response and add a link beneath our name when we post, however.

    • http://www.wiredadvisor.com/about Stephanie Sammons

      Thanks for sharing Ellen!

  • http://twitter.com/CoachLee Leanne HoaglandSmith

    Interesting as this is one of my pet peeves. I am amazed that so many intelligent people do not understand the difference between a discussion, self promotion and even a job. Amazing! Thanks for sharing Marc.

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  • John Calia

    @stephsammons:disqus . Thanks for this post. I have become increasingly frustrated by this feature over the last few months and have had complaints from regular readers of my blog. I have been blaming it on Constant Contact, but they sent me a link to this post. Is there any way to overcome the block?

    • http://www.stephaniesammons.com/ Stephanie Sammons

      John, do you mean that you are frustrated with not being able to share your posts to your LinkedIn groups? I think the best way to overcome it is to build a relationship with the group manager and position your posts as discussions. In other words, start a discussion in the group with a question related to your post. As you get engagement going, you can link to your post in the comments as an outside point of reference. Group managers appreciate authentic discussions and engagement versus just the fly by dropping your blog post in as a discussion. Hope that helps!

      • John Calia

        @Stephanie. I distribute my blog to a couple of hundred people on my mailing list using Constant Contact. But, I get thousands of hits by posting to about a dozen groups on Linked In. CC provides a social share bar that you can embed in your email. A couple of months ago, it stopped working on Linked In. I would get the popup window from Linked In but the URL wouldn’t carry through. I have been in touch with CC and they finally put me on to your post about the problem. I can still post by copying and pasting the URL into a discussion for each group but it’s a pain in the neck. It used to take about 2 minutes. Now it takes much longer.

        • http://www.stephaniesammons.com/ Stephanie Sammons

          You could use http://dlvr.it to send your blog RSS feed to LinkedIn Groups automatically, but there is still no guarantee the posts will get through. It depends on how the manager has the settings configured for the group. Posts that have “I”, “me” or “my” in them typically get filtered out and moved into the promotions category automatically, for example. So you wouldn’t want to preface the post with “My latest blog post”. What I would do is within dlvr.it configure each post that goes to your groups with text that says “What are your thoughts on this topic? Please share!” Dlvr.it will also pull in the post title and link. That may work but I’m not sure. Bottom line is LinkedIn is trying to prevent link sharing in groups because too many people take advantage of it as a spamming opportunity. Those of us who do produce worthy content have to just work around this and get more creative.

          • John Calia

            Thanks, Stephanie. Invaluable advice. I’ll try it.

  • Raleigh Leslie

    Stephanie I think you nail it in this paragraph and the following link you provide “Lastly, consider starting a LinkedIn Group discussion by asking a
    question or sharing a value message rather than posting a link. Leave
    the link out when initiating discussions and instead point group members
    to reputable content links as a part of ongoing discussions.”

    I just finished a blog post on this very matter which highlights this issue is still very prevalent: http://raleighleslie.com/content-promotion-black-plague-spreading-through-linkedin-groups/

    • http://www.stephaniesammons.com/ Stephanie Sammons

      Thanks for stopping by Raleigh and I enjoyed your post as well. LinkedIn could easily kill the problem by disallowing links, but I don’t think that’s the answer. We ought to be able to share valuable, relevant, content with group members. In that case, you do need a leader or manager who cares and who will serve as the “editor” of that content, which is time intensive. Here’s another post I’ve written on how to manage an effective LinkedIn Group that you might want to check out as well: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/managing-linkedin-groups/

      • Raleigh Leslie

        Yep I hear you Stephanie. Not allowing links would be pretty disruptive to the flow of possible resources on a given discussion thread. Often times links are really handy just not when they are abused. After my research and writing that post I’ve kinda come to the conclusion that it really requires an active moderator who lays out and enforces the rules. Every group needs at least one.

        I’ll check out your other post. Thanks.

  • http://www.bettergraph.com/ Anoop Srivastava

    Stephanie, i have recently find that my most of the comment is deleted from LinkedIn group, Thanks for your post. Now i understand how to use linkedin group to promote the product/services.

  • http://chocolatecartoons.com/ Donna Barstow Draws

    I’ve been posting manually to groups because I didn’t know there was any way to share via rss. It really is a big pain. I share my cartoons, so I think I’m adding something that no one has, but it’s also self-promotion.
    However, I just learned from seeing someone else complain about groups (he said he was leaving LinkedIn – I find them unprofessional, myself) that only his first 5 posts to groups went into discussions, and all the ones after that went to the Promotions tab! Which no one at all reads!
    Have you heard of this, Stephanie?

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