With more than 1.1 million LinkedIn Groups, users are bound to find professionals that share similar interests and goals—LinkedIn has groups for CIOs, IT professionals, social media enthusiasts and more.
Now, LinkedIn is releasing a new Groups Statistics dashboard designed to give users more insight into the demographics, growth and activity for individual groups. By highlighting these, LinkedIn hopes it will be easier for users to find the most valuable groups for them.
This is the first major update to LinkedIn Groups in more than a year. In June 2010, LinkedIn redesigned the Groups interface to make it easier to use, while highlighting the discussions feature.
To try out the new dashboard, visit any of your groups (or find groups to join via LinkedIn's Groups Directory) and select "Group Statistics" from the drop-down menu under "More..." on the group's homepage.
Here's a rundown of the new Groups Statistics features and how to use them to your advantage.
[Want more LinkedIn tips, tricks and analysis? Check out CIO.com's LinkedIn Bible.]
Do you want a large group of professionals or a smaller group? Local, national or international? Are you looking to connect with more senior-level people or entry level?
The first set of information you'll see when you click open the Groups Statistics dashboard is the summary of that group. You'll see a snapshot of when the group was started, how many members it has, the location of the majority of its members, how many comments were posted in the last week, the seniority of the members, and more.
There's also a "Share These Stats" button that lets you post the "vital statistics" of the group to other groups, individuals, or your own LinkedIn Status. You can also share the statistics to Twitter and Facebook via the icons in the top right of the dashboard.
The next tab over is demographics, which shows you who is in the group. You'll see information about the seniority level (21 percent of the CIO Forum's members are managers), these members' function (39 percent are in IT), location (New York City) and industry (IT) of the professionals in the group.
Within in the demographics part of the dashboard, you can switch between members' seniority, function, location and industry for more detailed information.
Is the group growing at a rapid pace, or is it growing more slowly?
Under the growth tab you can gauge whether the group is thriving or stagnant. There's a bar chart showing new members that joined, a line graph of the overall membership trend of the group, how many new members joined in the last week and the week-over-week growth rate.
Use the last section, Activity, to gauge what the group can offer you. Are you looking for job posts? Keep up to date on promotions? Participate in discussions? The activity tab will summarize how the group is trending.
Statistics you'll find here include discussions in the last week, job posts, promotions, as well as a line graph of the activity in both comments and discussions.
Kristin Burnham covers consumer technology, social networking and Web 2.0 for CIO.com. Follow Kristin on Twitter @kmburnham. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Kristin at email@example.com