Is LinkedIn about to kill Groups?

I’ve been seeing speculation for a while about whether or not LinkedIn are poised to kill off the Group functionality:

Are Groups Next on LinkedIn’s Chopping Block?

4 Reasons Why LinkedIn Groups Is Giving Online Communities a Bad Name

LinkedIn to Change Engagement in Groups?

Is This the Beginning of the End for LinkedIn Groups?

While nothing has been confirmed by LinkedIn, features previously supported in Groups – such as polls – have started to disappear, and the platform is also coming under pressure thanks to its content moderation strategy SWAM.

If your brand has a LinkedIn group, my current recommendation is to also set-up a Company Page and start migrating your community across from being group members to company page followers.

Personally, I much prefer Company Pages to Groups. They’re easier to manage and maintain, it’s not as easy for people to spam (helping you enhance your brand experience), and you can schedule updates through HootSuite.

LinkedIn recommends: “Posting daily company updates is the most effective way to start a conversation, drive word of mouth, and directly engage with your target audience. Share company news, industry articles, thought leadership pieces, or ask followers to weigh in on hot topics. Posts will appear on your Company Page and in the news feed on the homepage of each of your followers across all devices and platforms. Include rich content such as images, infographics, videos, and SlideShare presentations to keep things fresh and exciting for your community.” – the bold segment is important as this isn’t true of all groups, so the reach of your content is improved.

LinkedIn have also just announced Showcase Pages which act more like a microsite and give us better branding/sales opportunities within the platform.

Remember that the focus of your community engagement strategy should always be about how you’re driving customers back to your own site and capturing their data. While LinkedIn may or may not remove the group functionality, we must always be vigilant about how we protect the relationships and communities we’ve built up on external platforms in order to secure our data for the future.