LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network, with over 313 million members globally, and 16 million in the UK alone. Just over 10 years old, the platform is growing at an impressive rate, with two new members per second across the world. Will Scott, account manager in the LinkedIn marketing solutions team, shares his five top tips for charities to make the most of the platform.
1. Make the most of your company page
Company pages are a brand’s shop window on LinkedIn. They’re a destination for members to gain insight not only into what a brand stands for, but what they are actively doing as well. For charities, this opens up a host of opportunities to share content and news with a wide range of potential supporters.
There are over 165,000 non-profit pages on LinkedIn so make sure your cause is noticed by creating a page that stands out. Bring it to life by adding your logo, a striking image as your cover photo and a good description of the work that you do. Give people on LinkedIn a reason to follow you by sharing updates that are relevant and interesting ￚ this could be anything from telling the story of someone who has benefited from your work, to latest advances in research, volunteering opportunities and policy news. Use different formats too; images, infographics and videos all work brilliantly, and generate engagement rates up to 87% higher than just text alone. The more visually engaging the better!
Once your company page is in good shape, the next step is to help your page grow. Put a ‘follow’ button on your email signatures and add the LinkedIn icon to your website to make it easier for people to follow you.
2. Utilise your colleagues and volunteers
Employees are a brand’s biggest advocate, particularly when it comes to charities. Encourage your colleagues and volunteers – who will often have a very personal connection to your cause – to talk passionately about your charity when using their personal social networks. This will help extend the reach of your appeal, campaign or latest news.
Proactively ask your colleagues and volunteers to share your LinkedIn updates within their own networks, directly from the charity page. They’re likely to be connected to people who will be interested in supporting your charity, so make the most of the connections they can provide.
3. Post opportunities to get involved
Tell the world that you’re looking for volunteers, staff or pro bono work and post the opportunities (both paid and voluntary) on LinkedIn. Our members actively add upcoming vacancies and volunteering opportunities to their profiles, so post what you’re after and match up using LinkedIn for Volunteers. Lots of companies have corporate social responsibility programmes, so you may be pleasantly surprised to find that a company may offer their services for free if you ask.
Use both status updates and the careers section to ensure members can find the relevant opportunities with you, wherever they are on LinkedIn.
Don’t forget to take advantage of your company page cover photo to promote any current appeals or campaigns that you may have running at the time. Here’s a recent example from the British Red Cross:
4. Network, network, network
Your personal network is one of the your most valuable assets on LinkedIn, so why not use it? Connect with people who share similar interests and, once you’ve built up a network, look for individuals who have stated that they are interested in volunteering or getting involved with a charity.
LinkedIn Groups, of which there are over two million, are an incredibly effective way to network in your area of specialism (PR, social media, policy or marketing for example), to learn from others and to share best practice. There are lots of charity sector specific groups too.
Groups can also be used to talk to influencers about the work your charity is doing. Search for groups that you could join as an individual to discuss topics around your charity’s work; for example the UK Government Relations, Public Affairs and Policy Group.
5. Start a conversation
Social media is nothing without conversation, so make sure both you and your charity are a part of it. If you engage in conversations within groups, post regular updates and comment on other people’s updates or discussions, you’ll soon see LinkedIn come alive. While charities can’t use the publishing platform directly, you could still use your own profile to post longer form content and get your network to engage with your views and opinions.
As the old saying goes, you only get out what you put in, and that definitely applies for LinkedIn and social media. The more you engage, and the more your use it, the more you’ll continue to see the benefits.
Interested in more information about how LinkedIn can work for your charity?
Take a look at their dedicated non-profits page.