If you’re confused about what your nonprofit should be doing on LinkedIn, you’re definitely not alone. Branded as a professional networking site, LinkedIn can be hard to figure out beyond job searching and recruiting.
However, LinkedIn is most definitely worth the effort. It is the third most popular social media site after Facebook and Twitter, and its numbers are fast growing. Soon-to-be and recent college graduates are joining the professional networking site in droves.
We’ve written about the ways your nonprofit can get more out of LinkedIn, and now we have some more tips on how to optimize your company page and start using LinkedIn like a pro.
Create Showcase Pages
Showcase pages work similarly to the company page. Each page has its own followers and status updates, however the showcase pages must be linked to a company page. Nonprofits can promote specific offerings or requests to a specific audience. This feature is particularly useful for nonprofits with sub-organizations or those who host a lot of events.
For instance, if your nonprofit hosts an annual 5k run, you can have a showcase page focusing only on this event. Runners can follow the showcase page for event updates without having to sift through all of the nonprofit’s general updates for this specific information.
You can add a showcase page to your nonprofit’s company page by hovering over the Edit menu and clicking “Create a Showcase Page.” Once created, showcase pages live in the right-hand column on your company page.
Drive More Followers to Join Your Network
It’s become common practice to include profile badges on your website to link to your LinkedIn profile (as well as any other social media profiles). This can help you get more followers and a wider audience for updates.
Be sure to connect with as many staff, volunteers, donors and supporters as possible. Members can list you as the place they volunteer or the cause they support on their personal profiles, sprinkling your name and message across LinkedIn and linking back to you. Don’t feel bad encouraging these folks to connect with you on LinkedIn. They’re obviously passionate about your cause since they’re devoting their time or money to furthering your mission. Many of them will likely be excited to show off the good work they’re a part of.
I know you hear this one all the time, but it is important to stay active on social media. Thought leadership pieces are in high demand on LinkedIn. They make it easy for you to share your expertise and become an authority in your field. Post articles as updates on your nonprofit’s company page or join a group related to your field and start a conversation within the group.
You can also share blog posts and job postings, ask for feedback and respond to comments. It’s a good idea to encourage employees, volunteers and supporters to contribute to the conversation. They can engage with your nonprofit’s company page through follows, likes and comments.
It’s much easier to keep to a regular schedule with a point person in charge of posting updates and responding to comments. LinkedIn says 20 posts per month allow you to reach 60% of your audience. This is roughly one post per weekday, and no more (you don’t want to annoy your followers.) If this is too much for you, start off a bit smaller. One post a week can be a great way to get started. Figure out what will be sustainable for you.
Find Board Members and Volunteers
You can use LinkedIn to recruit board members and volunteers. LinkedIn offers a 90% job posting discount to nonprofits, but the actual price of the posting depends on your location. To receive the discount and alert any potential applicants that the position is not paid, just include “Volunteer” in the job title and “LinkedIn for Good Volunteering” in the job description. Once posted, potential volunteers will be able to see your posting when searching LinkedIn for specific volunteer opportunities.
The advanced search tool (next to the search bar) lets you be as specific as you’d like when searching for potential volunteers. For example, say I’m looking for a volunteer to make my next brochure. In advanced search, I’d make sure “People” is selected in the top left corner of the search box (not “Jobs”). For “Keywords,” I’d type in brochure, and for “Title,” I’d type designer. Add your location and be sure to check the “Skilled Volunteering” box under “Nonprofit Interests” in the second column of the search box. (In personal profiles, LinkedIn allows you to indicate that you are open to skilled volunteering or board membership.) These search results will include all of the designers who specialize in brochures and are looking for skilled volunteer work in your area. After you find the right person in the search results, send them an InMail asking if they’d be interested volunteering.
Keep Up on Industry News in Pulse
Pulse is located under Interests or you can download the Pulse App. The news sourcing app integrated with LinkedIn in 2013 and provides professional insights and news catered to your LinkedIn profile. You can skip articles, save them to read later and follow authors you like. There is also an option to receive notifications for breaking news and for when your connections are in the news.
LinkedIn may not be at the forefront of most people’s minds when it comes to social media, but it should be. LinkedIn can be a great tool to gain awareness for your nonprofit. As with any social media tool, it’s worthwhile to spend a bit of time figuring out what you’d like to get out of the time you invest in it. But when you’re ready to dive in, hopefully these tips will be helpful.
How do you use LinkedIn? Do you have any other suggestions for getting the most out of LinkedIn? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.