By: Corbin Hartwick, Techboomers.com
What is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a social network designed for businesses and work professionals. It allows individual users to create an employment profile (basically a virtual resume), search for and apply for jobs, and read and discuss developments in the working world. They can also connect with other people they know and endorse each other's credentials. Businesses can also create pages to show off company information and recruit users online. For more on what LinkedIn is about, check out this LinkedIn article.
Why should I use LinkedIn for my nonprofit?
1. Make your brand visible to the right people
LinkedIn is a perfect place to increase your brand's online presence since it's a place where you know that other businesses and professionals will be watching. Add a description of what you do, company logos, a link to your website, and more! Pages on LinkedIn tend to rank highly on search engines, too, which can increase your online presence further.
2. Network and engage with your current supporters
Connect with other businesses and people that you're partnered with, and keep each other in the loop as to what you're up to. Post updates on what's happening or coming up, such as recent hirings or events such as fundraisers or training workshops.
3. Find fresh talent to keep your organization going strong
Based on who your partners know, you might be able to find new employees eager to join your team, volunteers looking to support your cause when they can, or even donors willing to increase your funding pool. Make sure to include information on LinkedIn that lets people know that these opportunities are available, and where they should go if they're interested!
4. Keep up with developments in the business world
What would a business-oriented social network be without business news? Read up on the latest trends, advice, and opinions from around the working world, and think about how they may influence what you do as a nonprofit. Or, better yet, start a discussion and ask your followers for feedback on what you do, if you're at a bit of a loss for direction.
For some other ideas on and reasons to use LinkedIn, have a look this article on Techboomers.com.
Tips on getting the most out of LinkedIn for your nonprofit
1. Connect with as many people as you can
Reach out to employees, donors, partner businesses, volunteers, and even school colleagues both present and past. Also, join groups of related businesses. The next key player in your organization may come from a place that you least expect.
2. Keep your followers engaged
A good way to attract and keep people's attention on LinkedIn is to post regular updates on what you do. Do a profile piece on a new employee, volunteer (group), or donor, or tell people about a milestone goal that you just achieved. Use pictures, videos, and Internet links (where appropriate) so that people can actually see what you're doing instead of simply reading about it. Ask questions about your work to your supporters, and respond promptly to their feedback. The more people see the good work you're doing, the more inclined they'll be to support you.
3. Remember, it's not just about your brand, but your audience too
Another good way to attract and keep supporters is to help them with what they need: information, advice, and other resources related to what you do in a general sense. This can come from a partner organization, an organization in a group that your non-profit is a part of, or anywhere else on the web. For example, if you're an anti-poverty non-profit, you might want to include something like guidelines on what items to donate to food drives, or where you can find food drive receptacles in the local area.
4. Attract new supporters with opportunities
Let users on LinkedIn know about your upcoming events and services (such as fundraisers or workshops), as well as any opportunities for employment or volunteering. Direct people to places where they can do things like apply for a job or volunteer position, or file a donation (NOTE: some of this you'll be able to do right on LinkedIn itself). This will help them get involved with your organization more quickly.
5. Use your contacts as walking advertisements
Ask your employees to include information about your work as a nonprofit on their personal profiles, and see if any of your volunteers would be willing to do this as well. That way, even if someone is just looking for one of your employees or volunteers on an individual basis, they may find your nonprofit by extension!
6. Connect LinkedIn with your other social circles
Be sure to at least have a link on your website that takes people to your LinkedIn page, and a link on your LinkedIn page that takes you to your website. It would also be a good idea to have links that connect LinkedIn with your other social media accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter. This will help broaden your outreach so that there's less of a chance that you'll miss potential supporters.
7. Use your analytics tools
LinkedIn has features that let you see stats not only about you as a nonprofit, but also who is following you. See how your nonprofit has grown and stacks up against the competition in terms of who works there and how qualified they are (among other things). You can also see what kinds of people are visiting or following you on LinkedIn, which of your updates have received the most attention from LinkedIn users (and when), and what other organizations have been visited by users who follow you (and how you stack up against them).
If you'd like to learn more about how to use LinkedIn in preparation for using it for your nonprofit, click here for LinkedIn tutorials from Techboomers.com.
About the Author:
Corbin Hartwick is the lead educational content writer at Techboomers.com, which is a free educational website that teaches older adults and others with limited computer skills how to use the most popular and trusted websites on the Internet.
Techboomers.com is a free educational website that teaches older adults and others with limited computer skills how to use popular and trusted websites on the internet.