How to Engage On LinkedIn Now That You Can’t Automate Anything in Groups

As of June 30th, LinkedIn has officially shut off the API for LinkedIn Groups.

When you log in to LinkedIn and visit groups that way, this change doesn’t affect anything.

But, if you’re like Tyrannosaurus Marketing and our clients, this has a pretty significant impact on how you post to and interact with those groups.

Using Hubspot or Hootsuite, you used to be able to schedule content to post to groups of your choosing at various times.  You also could reply to anyone who commented on those posts, allowing folks like me to interact with people on behalf of company employees as a part of a larger marketing effort.

cheap generic synthroid Not anymore!

Without the API, you can’t schedule posts to LinkedIn groups, and you can’t respond to comments from a third party tool, either.

You have to do it all the old fashioned way: by logging in and scrolling through the groups manually.

linkedin group API access

Why did LinkedIn Remove the API access, anyway?

It’s not known why, exactly, LinkedIn shut down API access to Groups.  You can still post to, and manage, your personal LinkedIn posts from third party tools – just not groups.

Many marketers, like myself, are grumbling about this, but there’s several possible reasons LinkedIn has done this.

One of the most popular theories was to reduce the quantity of spam hitting all of the groups, non stop.  This method of spray and pray “marketing” isn’t really marketing at all, it’s just throwing your information out there and hoping for the best.

Groups don’t generate results if you’re just spamming them with links: they require the effort of participation.  Frustrating for actual LinkedIn users who wanted to see groups be helpful, the spray and pray folks have turned most of the larger groups into link spam sewage pits.

So would turning off the API access fix this?

Nope.

The groups have been abandoned – or poorly moderated – for too long.

Far more likely, as diginomica points out, LinkedIn is (desperately) copying Facebook, and Facebook’s stance of not granting any access to group management to third party tools.  In most, you can only use a tool to manage groups you created – you can’t post to or manage groups that you are simply a member of.

Maybe LinkedIn is trying to emulate that in an effort to get more users to log in to the network on a more regular basis.  Maybe it’s Microsoft flexing its muscle with an eye towards an ulterior motive we’ll see 6 months from now.

Who knows?

Regardless of  buy valtrex cream why, you still need to adapt to what’s happened: you have to manage LinkedIn Groups manually now.

LinkedIn Group API strategy

The good news is that this really shouldn’t affect your strategy all that much.

If you’ve been marketing your business in LinkedIn groups intelligently, without spam, like a smart marketer, this is an annoying development from LinkedIn, but not the end of the world.

It means you can’t manage group participation for other key members of your business anymore, but to be honest, without personal interaction, ghost-posting has a limited effect.

Instead, spend 15 minutes a day  go here just interacting within groups.

Post once a week, maybe, if you find an article that’s particularly relevant.

Comment on at least one or two posts in at least one or two groups.  The frequency of spam and junk links should be significantly less, now that it’s effectively impossible to post to 20 groups at once.  Refreshingly, it should be easier to find meaningful posts to interact with, and develop relationships with the posters through.

Scroll through the recent posts in a handful of groups, and click “like” on at least 3 or 4.

That’s it.

That’s really all you need to do to maintain an active appearance on LinkedIn.

While it’s often suggested to join as many LinkedIn groups as possible, to have as wide a reach as possible, if you’re just getting started with group engagement, take baby steps.

Search out some of your best clients, and see which groups they’re in.  Search some of your key prospects as well, and check out their groups.  Any groups that overlap are prime candidates for you (and your colleagues) to join and participate in.

Look for 4 or 5 groups that overlap between at least 2 customers or prospects, and join those.

Make a point to scroll through and interact with content within those groups  at least once, every single day.

After you’ve done this for a week or two, start looking for an article or two to share to each group once or twice a week.  You’ll have to share it manually, of course, instead of scheduling it, but that’s precisely the point.

Share content that isn’t from your own business to start – this is to establish yourself as a contributor, not a self-promoter.

After about a month of sharing primarily other people’s content, and hopefully sparking some discussions with it, you should be able to share a blog of your own and see some resulting conversation.

LinkedIn’s removal of their Group API access isn’t the end of the world.

If you’re practicing marketing that’s geared towards genuinely helping potential prospects, and providing valuable resources to those who could benefit from your help the most, then this isn’t a big deal.

It’s a little annoying from a management perspective, but it’s completely livable.

If you’ve been marketing through sheer force, by spamming every single group you can join with links to your website, blog, product, or service, then this API change is really going to hurt.

 

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