The crucial platform that often gets overlooked in a non-profit’s social media mix is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is important not just because it’s the third largest social media site with 110 million users, it’s important for the type of user. Professionals who frequent LinkedIn might not play on Facebook and can be a higher caliber of donor than you’d find there. Typically they have more dollars to donate personally and can be the ones who control sponsorship dollars on behalf of their corporation. Though sometimes we don’t think this way—a non-profit is a corporation and really belongs on LinkedIn.
Here’s a list of LinkedIn best practices that can help your non-profit develop a presence quickly:
- Treat your non-profit LinkedIn space with the same seriousness as your web site. In essence a LinkedIn Company page is a web site specifically targeted at business people. Add your logo, include search terms in your description, post job listings, link to your web site, and connect to your cause’s Twitter and blog. A full and active page makes a really good impression. There’s more on setting this up in an article we did for Mashable about LinkedIn.
- Encourage constituents to follow your LinkedIn Company page. Link a “Follow us on LinkedIn” button to your Company page and place it in your email signature, on your web site, etc. A large number of followers will make your non-profit more relevant in search results on LinkedIn and easier to find.
- Encourage staff, volunteers and supporters to list your non-profit. LinkedIn has a Volunteer Experience and Causes section on each user’s profile. Here your constituents can list you as a cause they help and an organization they support. A non-profit organization associated with large numbers of business people always draws more interest.
- Personally connect to donors, sponsors and those who could be. LinkedIn is really designed for people, not companies. The more people you’re connected to, the more likely they are to become aware of an organization you work for or are affiliated with. Non-profits quickly find that LinkedIn is ideal for networking with those who can truly help your cause.
- Follow your sponsors and those you’d like to sponsor you. This shows your appreciation to current sponsors and can get you noticed by potential sponsors.
- Post updates on your Company page regularly. You can post updates on your LinkedIn Company page just like on your Profile page. Any news you normally include in a public-facing newsletter or write PR releases about should also be posted here. Regular, positive news updates on your LinkedIn Company page will get your non-profit in front of followers and contacts more often.
- Engage in LinkedIn Groups. There are thousands of groups on LinkedIn. Join groups in your area and cause-related groups, then become a productive member of these communities. Share useful links, ask questions, post about your cause (when appropriate) and comment when you have something to contribute. The larger your presence is on LinkedIn Groups, the more notice both you and your cause will get.
- Start a LinkedIn Group for your cause. This can be used like a forum and become a vital two-way communication channel for you and your supporters. Since it’s on LinkedIn, the conversation tends to be polite and businesslike. Make sure your group is an open group, allowing anyone to join. Open groups get indexed by search engines and allow readers to share your group posts in their social media channels.
- Track statistics. LinkedIn has built-in statistics for your Company page under the Follower Statistics, Page Statistics and Insight tabs. This data can be valuable in determining how well your LinkedIn presence is really being received and what you can do to improve it.
Today’s supporters are looking at giving in a very different way than in the past. Donations are no longer considered a handout: they’re an “investment in good.” Developing a strong presence on LinkedIn helps to legitimize your organization to these investors and makes it an attractive offering for those looking to invest in a worthwhile cause.