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Sales Models, Metrics, and Motions Blog

Signal v. Noise In LinkedIn Groups

by Matt Bertuzzi on Thu, Jul 15, 2010

Note: this post is different than what we usually write about here. It is about the Inside Sales Community (the good, the bad & the ugly). I hope you’ll stick around to hear me out.

As many of you know, we founded and manage the Inside Sales Experts group on LinkedIn (5K+ members – thank you very much). Trish’s vision when starting the group was to create a space where:

  • Inside Sales practitioners could share ideas and information
    -and also to-
  • Allow professionals from a variety of industries to network with people with similar interests

We have worked hard over the last 2 years to make the group a success and remain true to those 2 objectives.

Recently LinkedIn rolled out a major change to how groups are operated. In short, I and quite a few others think this new look sucks. Well not the “look” but how Groups now handle “Discussion” and “News”.

What does this mean?

With this change comes a combining of "News" and "Discussions". This has had the effect of burying Discussions, in my opinion, the heart of LinkedIn Groups, among the “News” posts (see image at right)

By "Discussions" I mean: 
- Questions asked by group members to other group members in the hopes of gaining/sharing information 

"News" on the other hand includes: 
- Solicitations 
- Webinar invites 
- Blog links 
- Other self-promotional material 

What we are doing about it?

We launched a poll to our group members asking for their input.

As of this writing, 78% expressed the opinion that we should Keep "Discussions" 100% free of "News" (solicitations, webinar invites, blog links, etc.).

One commenter, Mark Wiertsema, wrote

Inside sales experts is the best group I'm subscribing to. By far. Single reason is the good moderation, discussions that provide actual value and active contributions. Just as important for the quality: absence of (covert) ads, job postings, etc.

There are hundreds of lists where we can advertise, post openings, scream about useless innovations. Let's do that there, and keep inside sales expert the best group on LI.

We are in the process of gathering more feedback and determining the best course of action to stay true to the spirit of our group’s founding.

Why should you care?

Well, for 2 reasons.

  • First, LinkedIn groups are a truly amazing way to learn, and more importantly, to help our peers.
  • LinkedIn’s really isn’t at fault here. We are. LinkedIn isn’t flooding our groups with webinar invites, self-promotional news & links to articles about/for/by us. We are.

Yes, we are all in Sales & Marketing. And yes, we are supposed to market & sell. But not at the expense of learning from and helping one another. So the next time you or I or anyone wants to post to a LinkedIn group, we should ask ourselves:

Is this signal? Or is this noise?

Am I trying to foster to a discussion here? Or am I shouting down someone else’s discussion in the spirit of self-promotion?

Thanks for listening and please, please let me know what you think about the Discussion/News topic.  Better yet, let LinkedIn know.

: Chris Herbert wrote a post called What was Linkedin Thinking? Check out his commentary and some excellent screenshots that prove the point.

Topics: technology

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