LinkedIn Groups, one of the most popular features on LinkedIn, is getting a major redesign today. There are currently more than 2 million Groups created around a variety of topics, including entrepreneurship, careers, social marketing, and so on. Members of these communities exchange and share experiences, business knowledge, interests, and ideas — and now they’re doing it with a brand new look and feel.

Over the past year, LinkedIn has been working to make its platform easier to use. From its homepage and navigation to Company Pages and profiles, almost every area of its website is sporting changes. Today the company turns its focus to Groups, introducing a new streamlined look that will give Group managers and members a more inviting interface.

The new design puts much more emphasis on user content, making it easier to determine who has commented on a Group post or follow a conversation in the comments thread. Moderators will also be able to customize the Group’s image at the top of the page. Further down the page, you’ll also notice a Subgroups section that will help members find related groups.

This is a significant change for LinkedIn as the average user belongs to seven Groups, and those who engage receive four times as many profile views as those who don’t. Currently there are more than 200 conversations happening each minute, and today’s changes could increase that number. Whether you’re considered a thought leader in a Group or manage one of your own, today’s update is an important one.

As a manager, you’ll want to take advantage of the customization options and pay close attention to the top influencers in your Group. These are the people who have been active and likely received several likes and replies to their comments. As a member, you’ll want to take advantage of the new focus on content by sharing often and interacting more with other people’s’ posts.

At first, the redesign will be gradually rolled out to English-speaking members. A timeline for non-English-speaking members isn’t yet available. It’s also worth noting that today’s update won’t support Groups on mobile.

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[Image credit: Alexandre Dulaunoy]