Working designers have very little time for finding new clients and keeping up to date on news in the design industry. This was the idea behind LinkedIn groups, and it’s a good one at that: provide a meeting place where like-minded professionals can communicate with each other, learn about their craft, solve problems, get feedback, find clients and promote their services.
LinkedIn provides a good place for self-promotion. As an employment forum, it is a place to find work and promote your services for free.
However, that’s also the reason why there is a lot of spam and marketing debris to wade through in most LinkedIn groups, and unfortunately, when it comes to finding excellent informative articles, feedback or in-depth discussions at design-dedicated websites, blogs and forums fare much, much better. In addition, like Facebook, the interface is purposely awkward and designed to keep users on the site for as long as possible.
Nonetheless, there is one major advantage of using LinkedIn. LinkedIn profiles can rank quite high in Google, especially if they are properly tagged with keywords, giving freelancers higher discoverability on the Web.
Types of Groups
There are three main types of groups for web designers on LinkedIn: Large open groups, medium to large groups which are closed (but in reality, open) and small closed groups where participation must be approved before they are able to join in with the discussions. There are also area-specific groups for instance, the Chicago Front-End Web Designers group. Some closed groups are completely private, in others, people can view some or all of the postings. All of these forums are plagued with spam which are flagged or removed by the members themselves.
The advantage of the larger groups is that despite the spam, they are filled with a mixture of new and old talent and a variety of fresh perspectives. In all of the groups there are both real and inappropriate job postings and leads. The weekly posting numbers below are within the past fortnight.
LinkedIn Groups Worth A Look
The site is regularly spammed by HR personnel as well as used as a resume-posting board but members often do share and discuss matters. This group taps into the Spanish-speaking market as well.
Members: 2800+Discussions: 100Job postings: 74 Location: NYC, Argentina, Canada,UK, LA
A subgroup of Creative Designers and Writers, this is a forum for interacting with other designers to exchange ideas and share first drafts, problems and issues.
Members: 17,000+ Discussions: 108Job postings: 36Location: NYC
There’s a mix of discussions and spammy job listings as well as real one. It’s a really large group but extremely active.
Members: 70,800+Discussions: 463Job postings: 120Location: US, UK & INDIA
This group deals with all aspects of WordPress design including hosting and SEO. The owner makes it clear that membership should be limited to professional designers. Technical help questions are all right as long as they are intermediate and advanced in nature. PHP and open source are also discussed.
Members: 3600+Discussions: 24Job postings: 1814Location: US/UK
There are some good discussions in this group with plenty of real world tips going around for making a designer’s life easier.
Members: 39,300+ Discussions: 21 Job postings: 27Location: NYC, London, SF
A closed group owned by Carrie Jeziorny, and established in 2008.
Members: 800+Discussions: 4 Job postings: 0Location: UK, India, Pakistan, Argentina
This forum is geared towards jobs: individuals looking for web developers, and web developers and designers seeking work.
Members: 17,600+Discussions: 34Job postings: 189Location: NYC, SF, India
New designers use this site as a place to get feedback, and to promote their sites and articles.
Members: 10,000+ Discussions: 72Job postings: 43Location: NYC, SF, Canada
This group has a mixture of job postings, continuing education and discussions. There are some good in-depth discussions and links to articles.
Members: 6,100+ Discussions: 40Job postings: 13Location: NYC, India, SF, Sao Paulo
There are discussions, surveys and some serious job postings in the job section.
Members: 108,000+Discussions: 93Job postings: 117Location: NYC, London/UK, LA, SF
Group discussions exist on all levels. Some members in the group are interested in marking and controlling LinkedIn spam.
Members: 8000+ Discussions: 2 Job postings: 19Location: NYC, Argentina, London/UK
Fairly large professional group to discuss about CSS3 and HTML5.
Members: 22,000+Discussions: 15Job postings: 36Location: SF
Owner Mike Kompar and managed by Jitendra Vyas.
Members: 12,800+Discussions: 6 Job postings: 7Location: London/UK, SF, NYC
A great place to get feedback from knowledgeable web developers.
Members: 36,200+Discussions: 39Job postings: 199Location: SF, NYC, India
Editor’s note: This post is written by Gareth Parkin for Hongkiat.com. Gareth is a Manager at GoPromotional.com, UK’s premiere source for online promotional items.