If you take a second to sit back and think about all of the different social networks out there, LinkedIn probably ranks pretty low on your list for “most enticing”. I think it’s safe to say that many people view the site as a glorified job search engine. And yet, a TechCrunch study reported it as the 3rd fastest growing social network.
Yep. You read that right.
If you’re like most people, you’re not quite sure what you should be doing on LinkedIn, let alone how your nonprofit should be using it. While, I can’t help you out much with your personal LinkedIn profile, I do have some ideas as to what your nonprofit could be doing to leverage its presence.
Create a Company Page
Basically, this is your landing page—your homepage within the LinkedIn world. Here, you can educate visitors on your mission, provide updates and announcements on your work and promote volunteer and employment opportunities.
There’s no right way to structure a company page. Some organizations see it as a means to increase engagement and outreach through frequent updates. Others use it as a landing page, including just enough information to entice visitors to click over to their website. It’s all about whatever makes the most sense for your nonprofit.
Establish a Solid Network
Your network should consist of all existing sponsors, donors, employees and volunteers. You’re probably already connected to these people on sites like Facebook and Twitter, so adding them on LinkedIn shouldn’t be too terribly awkward.
Wondering why building this network is so important?
LinkedIn offers users the option to promote volunteer experience and causes they support on their personal profiles. By connecting with your existing community on LinkedIn, you’re encouraging them to promote their involvement with your nonprofit on their profile for others to see. Ultimately, this is a great opportunity to leverage brand awareness.
I know. You’re already promoting blog posts and company news on a million different social networks, but this one is worth it. I promise.
LinkedIn is a professional networking site with around 300 million members. If you’ve built up your network of connections, any content you share could make its way into some social circles you’re not tapping into on other social networks.
There’s a good chance that your community members are “running with a different crowd” on LinkedIn. You might be connected with your boss or the VP of an organization you met at a networking event, but you’re probably not “friends” with either of them on Facebook. LinkedIn is all about making those important professional connections. This is what makes building up your nonprofit’s community (and sharing content) on yet another social network completely worth it.
Join Groups…and maybe even start one of your own
LinkedIn’s groups can be a pretty useful place to hang out, especially for nonprofits. They’re a great space for trading stories, advice and engaging in meaningful discussions with others in the nonprofit field.
By creating a group of your own, you can share content (yours and others) relevant to your cause that inspires conversation among your group members – and, ideally, increases support and involvement. Contributing to a group consistently and spurring further conversation can earn you the title of “top influencer” within that group – marking you and your as an authority on the topic.
Not sure where to get started? The folks over at Stay Classy compiled a great list of groups every nonprofit should join.
While it’s not everyone’s first thought when it comes to social media, LinkedIn can benefit your nonprofit in ways no other social network can. A little strategic planning and some thoughtful execution can go a long way in maximizing your nonprofit’s presence on LinkedIn.
What’s your nonprofit doing to create awareness on LinkedIn? Do you have any suggestions to add to our list? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.
Image courtesy of Nan Palmero