It’s been almost a year since I started the North Fulton Business Group on LinkedIn. When I first created the group I looked at the functionality available, and other than a member having the ability to view additional profiles with a common interest, there really wasn’t much else. You couldn’t even search groups. Most people found groups to join by seeing them on other members profiles.
In September of 2008 I was the only member of the NFBG. At that point I decided that If I wanted to create value for potential members then I would have to create an offline site. Thus the NorthFultonBG.com site was created. With it came the ability for members to:
- Post Articles
- Post Free Ads
- Post Events
- Add Contact Information
- Participate in Forum Discussions
- Add their business to the Business Directory
I even wrote a blog post saying in effect that these were the very things that LinkedIn should be providing with their Groups. Fast forward 6 months and much of this is now in place.
Within LinkedIn groups you can post discussion questions (goodbye NFBG forum), you can post news articles (NFBG Articles), You can add advertisements in the form of a question (NFBG Ads), you can view other members profiles and send them a LinkedIn message (almost as good as NFBG), you can post jobs under discussions (NFBG Jobs), I can now send a weekly newsletter, and you can search group members (sort of like looking at a directory).
So I’m left wondering if there is a purpose for the northfultonbg.com site and does it provide enough value to remain. It is a pain to have to register on the LinkedIn Group and the NFBG site. And posting articles and discussion questions is easier on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn could end the discussion by adding a few more features to Groups:
1. Allow all LinkedIn members to add their contact information to their profile. In conjuncture, allow LI members to segment their connections and choose who can access their full contact information – Part of this (the ability to classify connections) is in beta testing taking place. Hopefully once this is launched it will coincide with adding contact inf0…much like Plaxo does.
2. Add calendar and event scheduling to Groups. Currently this would be done through adding a discussion. But it would be nice to have a calendar of events within the Group. Currently LinkedIn has events, but when I look at upcoming events on my home profile it shows event in NY and CA, not my local events. Maybe you can set it up to only show local events but I have not stumbled on the “how to” yet.
I’m sure there are some additional things that would improve groups. For the time being I’m keeping the non-LinkedIn site active, but I am begining to wonder if the time spent on it would be better spent elsewhere.
How about you. What functionality do you think that LinkedIn should add to Groups?