My official answer to this question should be “it depends on your target audience”, but if I am completely honest with myself I think that the days of active LinkedIn groups are over. I also believe that with the introduction of the new hashtag/community facility that this will be the nail in the coffin for LinkedIn groups. It will not surprise me if Microsoft pulls the plug on LinkedIn groups altogether by the end of 2018. There, I said it. That feels so much better now!
Facebook groups are going from strength to strength and if you manage your group well then it can be a fantastic marketing tool for your business.
If you are not yet convinced, then let me tell you about some very cool features of Facebook groups that you simply do not get in a LinkedIn Group.
#1 – Your business has a voice
Did you know that you can now link your Facebook group to your page? This means that all the posts can be delivered with the voice of your business, rather than you as an individual. In addition, your group is displayed on your page, so you can get additional exposure to your group from here.
#2 – Schedule posts
LinkedIn removed the feature to enable you to schedule posts into a LinkedIn group in June 2017. External software such as Hootsuite or eClincher, etc. will no longer work with a LinkedIn group. In my opinion, this was another sign to say that LinkedIn will be saying goodbye to groups in the future. You can schedule posts from within the group on Facebook, and you can schedule content using an external source as long as you are an administrator of the group.
#3 – Watch a video together
This is a fairly new feature but it is rather wicked! You can select a video (either upload your own video or search for a video) and then invite group members to watch the video together. Not only can you watch the video as a group, but you can also chat about the content in text format below the video. This is a great tool for education of a new product or service. By the way, keep an eye out for Facebook.com/watch (Facebook’s version of Netflix which is not yet here is the UK).
#4 – Uploading videos
LinkedIn has been very late to the video party, and although you can upload a video to a LinkedIn profile and a company page, you can still not upload a video to a group. We all know that video is an easy way to teach people a new skill so I am not sure why LinkedIn has not yet rolled this out to their groups feature? Perhaps it is because they are no longer investing development time into groups?
You can upload, and schedule videos into a Facebook group with the press of a button. All videos are given their own tab on the left-hand side for easy access.
As a bonus, you can also go live and broadcast webinars into a Facebook Group. We broadcast two webinars a month. After each webinar has ended, Facebook converts the broadcast into a video which is then accessible for future members to view.
#5 – You can embed your invite to your group in an email or website.
I have embedded our Facebook group below so you can see what it looks like. Don’t you think it is fabulous that Facebook gives you the full embed code so that you can send nice looking invites out to people on email? Another little feature that you will not get with LinkedIn. To access the embed code simply navigate to the right-hand side (where you can add members. Then click on embed invite to grab your code).
#6 – New members broadcast
Not only do new members have a little badge to say that they are new, but there is also a fabulous action button for the administrators to send a welcome message publically in the group for new members. This is a nice little touch and encourages people to chat and say hello.
#7 – Storing PDFs, MS Word documents, Spreadsheets and other files
We all have checklists, templates or other documents that are valuable for your members and these can easily be stored in your Facebook group.
The above are just a few select features of Facebook Groups. I have not mentioned events (which LinkedIn also deleted a few years ago), units, polls, recommendations, photo albums, and fantastic stats and insights.
And there is more... we have new features on the horizon that Facebook only announced this week. These features are not yet available in the UK but they will be with us in the next month or so.
So what are these super duper new Facebook Group features?
Group administrators on Facebook are getting some new tools to keep their groups safe and manage them more efficiently.
- Facebook are launching an admin support helpdesk for Group Admins.
- Online admin learning destination (a series of videos to help you learn how to use groups and keep your community safe)
- New features for groups rules
- Preapproved members – this is a very clever new feature.
In 2018 if I was considering setting up a group, I would certainly invest my time in building a community on Facebook Groups rather than LinkedIn groups. What about you? Do you use LinkedIn groups effectively? Do you see a future in LinkedIn groups?