With Facebook, Instagram and Twitter constantly stealing the spotlight of the nonprofit social media world, LinkedIn can often get overlooked. In fact, many organizations underestimate the powerful influence of LinkedIn.
As its slogan would suggest, “world’s largest professional network,” LinkedIn can be an extremely beneficial marketing and outreach tool for your nonprofit. Although the site began with a focus primarily on for-profit businesses, it has since grown to become a social networking platform for for-profit and nonprofits alike. Here is a screenshot from LinkedIn for Nonprofits, describing exactly how you can use this platform to power your nonprofit.
No matter your nonprofit’s size, cause, or location, LinkedIn can help drive your mission, expand your network, and grow your brand.
Overview of LinkedIn Landscape
As of April 2017, LinkedIn reports to have 500 million users, although it’s likely that only half of those are active users. In fact, the amount of hours that users are engaging on LinkedIn are shown below:
- 47.6% of users use LinkedIn 0-2 hours per week
- 26% use it from 3 to 4 hours a week
- 12.2 % use it for 5-6 hours per week (that is nearly 1,400 minutes per month)
Although user engagement is lower than that of Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, LinkedIn is a great resource to use for different kinds of tasks such as researching people and companies, reconnecting with past business associates, and building network relationships with individuals who may influence potential customers.
So how can you be best utilizing LinkedIn for your organization?
Establish your Digital Presence
First thing’s first: you must establish an identity by creating a company page or profile for your nonprofit. Be sure to upload a photo (your nonprofit logo works just fine) and include up-to-date information about the organization (address, social media links, website URL, etc.). The key is to complete your profile 100% so it is more likely to show up in related searches.
Similar to your nonprofit's other social media platforms, this is your digital storefront. As a nonprofit, you want to make sure your viewers experience the authentic, real, and cause- oriented voice of your organization. Your nonprofit’s LinkedIn page is a great place to post:
- Job/volunteer opportunities
- Noteworthy news
- Blog posts
Your company page helps your organization to gain visibility, formal credibility and highlight your mission within a professional network.
Get Your Staff on Board
Once your page is all set-up, it is time to start building relationships and networking with others on the LinkedIn platform. Start connecting with the people who are already the strongest advocates for your cause - your nonprofit's board members, volunteers, staff, donors, etc.
Make sure to ask those who are staff members or volunteers at your organization to list you as their employer or volunteer on their own personal Linkedin account. That way when anyone searches their individual profile your nonprofit gets some publicity as well!
A great way to engage and connect with influencers, leaders and those passionate about your cause is through the groups feature. Before starting your own group, make sure there isn’t one already created under the same topic. This prevents there from being numerous groups within the same focus. It is beneficial to participate in both local groups as well as international ones that relate directly to your nonprofit organization.
By contributing to (or creating a new) group you're generating a space for discussions related to your cause and connecting with other nonprofit professionals while at the same time encouraging your supporters to be online advocates for your organization and its services. This will ultimately expand your network, get your voice heard, and allow you to reach a variety of new connections.
Just as you would with any other social media platform, it is important to be consistent and active on your LinkedIn page. Your connections and followers are depending on you to regularly generate content that sparks interest and interaction.
One of the most effective ways to establish authority and reputation on LinkedIn is through producing high-quality content. You want your articles to be educational and professional, yet enjoyable to read. This way your connections will share, comment, and initiate dialogue about your cause.
Many professionals today use LinkedIn as a news aggregator, a way to keep up with what’s going on in the industry. By providing your public with your nonprofit's news, accomplishments and industry insights you are showcasing your leadership and adding value to others within the field.
To sum up
LinkedIn allows your nonprofit to expand its horizons. Different to other social media platforms, on LinkedIn, you have the opportunity to connect with more than just your friends or immediate acquaintances.
In case you missed it:
Mobile Messaging: Social Media Guide for Your Nonprofit Part 1
Facebook: Social Media Guide for Your Nonprofit Part 2
Twitter: Social Media Guide for Your Nonprofit Part 3
As always, if you would like to share your own personal experiences using LinkedIn for your nonprofit, please comment below or feel free to reach out to us at Elevation. If your nonprofit hasn’t jumped on the LinkedIn train, now is the time!