LinkedIn is a gold mine if you're looking for a job, but it's not always a land of milk and honey if you're searching for quality content. Henning Sanden's parody tweet perfectly encapsulates everything some of us hate about the social network: the fluffy "thought leadership," hustle culture, one-statement-per-line posts.
I'm a LinkedIn post.— Henning Sanden (@henningsanden) April 13, 2022
Every sentence; a paragraph.
I used to struggle with ngons.
Then I woke up at 4 AM, every morning.
This makes me better than you.
No more ngon struggle.
My goal in life is to work, to count beans.
4 AM.#beans #4am
And yet, LinkedIn has a massive number of groups dedicated to sharing advice. Maybe there's something happening in those groups? After lurking in Slack groups for marketers for a week, I wondered, "are there pockets of LinkedIn with valuable content for marketers?" And thus, my next experiment began: I would join some LinkedIn groups for marketers to see if I could find some hidden gems.
Spoiler alert: I could not.
Abandon all hope, ye who enter LinkedIn groups
I started my search by looking for LinkedIn groups related to "marketing." I expected a lot, but I did not expect 93,000 results, including four groups on the first page alone with a million or more members.
To make the experiment a bit more manageable, I chose seven groups to observe for a week:
It…didn't go well. Some groups were a bit better than others, but I saw recurring themes that led to a lackluster experience:
Lots of noise. The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Network had more than 100 new posts every day—not quite what I need from LinkedIn. There seem to be a lot of entirely unmoderated and enormous LinkedIn groups where anything goes, and the few-and-far-between quality posts are drowned out by wholly irrelevant ones.
Inactivity. On the other end of the content spectrum are strangely quiet groups. For example, the Social Media Marketing Group has millions of members, yet only a few posts a month. The Email Marketing Gurus group was a bit more active, but none of the groups I observed existed in the ideal between enough content worth visiting for and total spam.
Low engagement. The groups with a manageable number of new daily posts still fell short on engagement. Generally, I noticed that LinkedIn groups for marketers have a lot of people sharing their work without any substantial discussion or interaction in the comments. It's a bit like yelling into a void. I saw occasional posts with engagement, but again, not enough to make me want to go out of my way to check in on the group.
Cumbersome moderation. There's definitely a need for group moderators to curate what's allowed. One group I joined took it a bit too far, though, and deleted community posts until only admin content remained.
Potentially abandoned groups. Some LinkedIn groups require approval to join. That's not a bad idea, but it makes it hard to tell which are still up and running. I requested to join a few groups and went weeks without a response, so they may not be maintained.
My advice: don't waste your time
There may be some hidden gems if you're willing to slog through enough LinkedIn groups, but I don't think that's the best use of your time as a marketer. Instead, figure out why you wanted to try a LinkedIn group to begin with.
Promote your content
If you want to promote your own content, build a personal following. Rather than taking the easy (but ineffective) route of dumping your links in LinkedIn groups, take the time to build a following through consistent engagement. Marketers like Amanda Natividad show up consistently to share their experiences, ask questions, and cheer on their peers, which leads to a much more positive and productive experience.
If you're using groups as a distribution strategy, be sure to evaluate the quality of any traffic you get to determine if it's worth the time and effort. Here are some other suggestions for how to streamline your LinkedIn marketing.
Create meaningful connections
If you're looking to network, you're better off having many one-on-one connections with actual conversations via DM than joining a group of a million other marketers all going their own way. Even in the digital age, you can't hack your way to a connection.
Learn from other marketers
I had a better strike rate for finding active marketing communities on my investigation into Slack groups. They're not all great, but there are a few that I wholeheartedly recommend, which I can't say about the LinkedIn groups I saw. If you're looking to learn from a group of other folks in similar roles, LinkedIn groups aren't your best bet.
Use LinkedIn right
LinkedIn is like corporate TikTok. Organic reach is absurd and there's more demand than there is supply of content.— Amanda Natividad (@amandanat) April 13, 2022
LinkedIn can be a huge resource for you as a marketer—both personally and as a marketing tool. Take the time to create excellent content and build your network through engagement, and you'll get way more out of it than you will scrolling through thousands of LinkedIn groups.