Leveraging Linkedin to Connect Your Nonprofit

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This post was originally published on our sister site,  Third Sector Today

Feel at Home on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the nice aunt of social media–it’s more civil, professional, and informational. Its “house” is visited by influencers who bring advice, expertise, and resources like the flowers, candy, and wine you bring to your auntie’s place–all for the taking. This is a place of generosity, sharing, and (usually) professional demeanor. Job seekers and employers regard LinkedIn as a garden of leads (like your aunt’s “pick your own” kitchen garden)–in both job openings and potential employers.
Everyone’s on their better behavior here. Like your nice aunt’s house, you might not visit as often as you should, but when you do the takeaway is usually something you can actually use–a lead, contacts, information, and even inspiration.

So what role is played for nonprofits by this huge garden of colleagues, neighbors, former classmates, and acquaintances in virtually every profession, industry, sector, and educational background?

Network for Good’s article reminds us in Five Tips to Maximize Your Nonprofit’s Presence on LinkedIn that this social media channel is worth your time, particularly in development of awareness, promoting professionalism, sharing expertise, and, yes, raising money. Follow specifics that apply to most social media settings and use photos, videos, frequency, and targeting to get the best results for your time on LinkedIn.

The post specifically notes: “Organizations that post 20 times per month reach at least 60% of their audience. That works out to about one post per business day.” Note this statistic when planning how to schedule your LinkedIn content.

The Company Page

Starts with your company page. Create one if your organization hasn’t yet. Build it and…you will post. Then post regularly with your news, your experts’ activities, events, and more. You can pull basic information from your existing website and social media pages. Just set it up and have varied staff members take responsibility for contributing on behalf of their areas. LinkedIn should be monitored and curated like any social media platform. A calendar for regular posts can be helpful.

Then do these first steps:

  • Have your board, employees, top volunteers build your organization in their LinkedIn profiles then have them follow your page. When your organization is in a search, those contacts–your core network–will appear. This provides the basis for you new staff members, job seekers, donors, and others interested in your cause for connections and information.
  • Enhance all the featured in your page by adding video, photos, background, and success stories.
  • Have everyone in core community share your company page to build followers. The link to your page in ALL their profiles is essential to build more followers.
  • Be sure the LinkedIn icon is part of all your social media directories and buttons.

Share your company page by embedding the link to it in your posts. Now LinkedIn supports easily linking within text. There are still some awkward “can’t do” items at the company page level, but you can work around them. You can’t set up posts to tweet directly from here, as you can in your own status updates. You also can’t embedding links to individuals here. They may be your page followers, but that’s not the same as a connection to your individual profile.

However, everything online produces a hyperlink. So remember to use that advantage as you share your company page updates via LinkedIn messages, tweets, and more as you a great deal of direction you can provide so LinkedIn uses can find your page.

Individual Profiles

In addition to your community members being connected to your company page, each of them should regularly like, share and comment on your posts–just like other social media platforms. Here are some of the ways to engage:

  • Discuss events, projects, congratulate others, and share more experiences and observations.
  • Add event and volunteer task photos, for example, in updates–always, of course, linking to your company page.
  • Share news and information with their own contacts via posts, messages, and discussion boards. This will extend reach and connect more users to your page.

LinkedIn provides a professional setting for news, key messages, events, individual achievements, and much more. By investing a little time to gain facility in using LinkedIn, you more easily be selective in how to use this extensive community efficiently. Focus on targeting audiences you wish to reach. Increasing awareness is always a good thing. You can depend on Auntie LinkedIn for a higher level of courtesy and professional collaboration than most of the social media settings. You might even want to stay longer. And she’ll bound to share your information for you while you’re not around.

Other posts about LinkedIn on Third Sector Today:

LinkedIn’s Volunteer Marketplace

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Yvonne Hudson

Yvonne Hudson, principal of New Place Collaborations in Pittsburgh, loves creating mission-driven solutions for clients. Her extensive experience as a marketer in higher education, arts, and business informs strategies for TopNonprofits, The Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management of Robert Morris University, Pittsburgh Festival Opera, and other businesses and nonprofits. As a nonprofit staff member, board member, and volunteer, she has participated in aspects of capacity-building including programming, fundraising, and audience development for organizations in New York, Washington, DC, and Pittsburgh. A speaker, singer, and mentor, she enjoys presenting and acting, including her long-running solo show Mrs Shakespeare and is a board member of Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks and a past vice president of New York Women in Communications.