Intro to LinkedIn for NonprofitsTuesday, June 4, 2013
Welcome back to The Summer of Social Media for Nonprofits! As I mentioned in the conclusion of last week’s post, the next several weeks will be focused on LinkedIn.
If You're New To LinkedIn
Before I do a deep dive into the benefits of LinkedIn, I want to make sure everyone is familiar with this particular social network. If you’ve never used LinkedIn or consider yourself a beginner, I suggest you visit one of my earlier posts, LinkedIn: The Beginner’s Guide. (Please note: Although the “beginner’s guide” post is directed at chambers of commerce, the concepts still apply to all organizations.)
Now that we're in sync...
You might be wondering why I’m starting with LinkedIn rather than a more popular social networking site like Facebook. After all, compared to Facebook’s 1.11 billion users, the LinkedIn audience (consisting of 225 million users) might seem like less of a priority when it comes to marketing your organization.
But that’s just not the case.
While Facebook is extremely valuable for establishing your brand personality and increasing awareness, I view LinkedIn as the most important social network for accomplishing your organization’s business-to-business (B2B) goals. LinkedIn is the world’s top social platform for professional networking, developed purely for the purpose of fostering business connections among individuals. People are often displeased by companies’ marketing activities on Facebook, but your LinkedIn connections won’t be caught off guard by a sales pitch––in fact, they might even be expecting it!
LinkedIn enables nonprofits to accomplish those really important business-to-business (B2B) goals––identifying potential new board members and supporters, getting them interested in working with your organization, and developing long-lasting professional relationships.
Wondering how LinkedIn can be used for your organization specifically? Here are some examples of how different types of nonprofits can leverage LinkedIn to accomplish their B2B goals:
- Associations: Start a LinkedIn Group to establish yourself as a thought leader within your industry.
- Charitable Nonprofits: Recruit board members, volunteers and businesses willing to sponsor your next event
- JCCs: Recruit employees and promote facility rentals.
- Chambers of Commerce: Make connections with local business owners and promote monthly networking events.
- Economic Development Councils: Connect with site selectors and CEOs to draw their attention to your region.
Being successful on LinkedIn requires a certain mindset, according to Neal Schaffer, author of Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing.
Schaffer says LinkedIn is essentially a virtual trade show—people from all over the country have come to a single location for the purpose of engaging in business networking.
"Treat LinkedIn with the same amount of respect you would treat a professional association meeting or industry convention,” Shaffer explains, “and you will be on your way to building and enhancing your LinkedIn brand."
So, just as you would at a trade show, feel free to introduce yourself to people you may not personally know, but with whom you would be interested in doing business. Just remember the Golden Rule of Social Media: focus on connecting with people, rather than marketing to them. Approach potential new board members, donors and supporters just as you would in a face-to-face networking situation—ignite a conversation about how the two of you could benefit one another.
What you’ll learn in upcoming posts of my LinkedIn series:
- How to use your personal profile to make valuable connections
- How to optimize your LinkedIn Company Page for increased visibility
- How to build a LinkedIn Group for networking
- Best practices for advertising on LinkedIn
- And best practices in LinkedIn for your specific industry!
The Summer of Search for Nonprofits will be back next week with a post on creating and optimizing your personal LinkedIn profile!
Click here to learn how Accrisoft can help you leverage the power of social media.