Why consider LinkedIn marketing solutions when other platforms are more popular in NPO circles?
LinkedIn is a platform for business professionals.
According to LinkedIn research, their members are philanthropically minded; over half of their nearly 750 million members are charitable donors, and one-third are volunteers.
So how should you approach posting on your nonprofit LinkedIn page? Like most marketing efforts in the modern digital era, managing your LinkedIn engagement rate and presence is a work in progress. The good news is that you can continuously optimize your results. The bad news is that even if you’re pleased with the results, you must commit to being flexible. Successful organizations adjust their strategy over time, as the constantly changing algorithms that rewarded you yesterday may not be as friendly tomorrow. However, not all the news is daunting.
Like other social media platforms, LinkedIn rewards consistency and engagement. While 56% of NPOs worldwide have a LinkedIn page, less than 10% post at least once daily.
The more you engage with your followers and share content people want to read and respond to, the more likely you will get visibility. When you follow a sensible framework strategy, you need not worry about the peaks and valleys. Consistency that focuses on engagement is vital. And opportunities abound.
By staying attuned to LinkedIn trends, you can capitalize on platform opportunities that gain momentum, such as the current focus on the LinkedIn newsletter feature. The best time to start on LinkedIn was in the early 2000s. The second best time is today.
Making your nonprofit LinkedIn page look and feel consistent with your organization is an excellent place to start, whether you’re setting it up for the first time or are ready for a refresh. Why? Because when you pique someone’s interest with a post or paid ad, most people first visit the LinkedIn page to discover what you’re about before leaving LinkedIn to view your website. Use the resources that LinkedIn provides to optimize your viewing, including:
This photo should instantly represent the essence of your organization. It should also be visually consistent with your primary website, so the viewer immediately recognizes the connection.
LinkedIn gives you 2,000 characters to tell your story. Make it count! Draw inspiration from your primary website, mission, and values statements to tell an aspirational, compelling story that speaks to the LinkedIn audience of professionals you’re targeting. Tell your “why” to inspire your reader to act.
Explore hashtags that align with the interests and focus of your nonprofit organization. These tags will help you identify relevant trending topics and social media ideas for nonprofits.
Your page administrators (yes, you can have more than one) can and should invite their connections to follow the page. LinkedIn currently limits the total number of invites to 250 per month, so create a plan for outreach over time.
Include your biggest supporters in your initial page invitations to begin to build momentum.
LinkedIn offers step-by-step instructions to help guide you through best practices when setting up your page. Heed their advice during the setup process; their research shows that pages with complete information get 30% more weekly views.
LinkedIn features change over time. Make it a point to explore new features to find opportunities to strengthen your page.
LinkedIn delivers page analytics to administrators so you can see how your page performs over time. Use these metrics as guidelines for how the page is helping move your overall goals forward.
Start by determining who will manage the effort internally, how much time they will commit, and what specific metrics you will review to determine success. Even if you rely on an outside freelancer or agency to handle your social presence, you must have an internal resource overseeing your efforts. Don’t forget to get leadership buy-in for your efforts, as their support and engagement can be the difference between success and failure. Your content strategy will continuously evolve, but it must always focus on creating content that matters to your audience while also amplifying your brand message. As you build your LinkedIn nonprofit page presence consistently, take cues from your audience and your metrics on what’s working and what’s not. Never get caught up in “vanity metrics” without looking further into the value; engagement from high-value prospective donors, for instance, could mean much more to your organization than more views from a less targeted audience.
Start by choosing goals for your LinkedIn page that align with your organization’s broader goals. Then, build the LinkedIn content strategy you believe will give you the best chance to hit those targets. When you begin, expect surprises. Some targets will be too high, others too low. Give yourself and your team time to see what’s working and what’s not. Evaluate every quarter.
number of people that see posts
page followers and growth in newsletter signups (if you have one)
people who have expressed interest in donating, volunteering, or supporting your NPO
Page and Website visits:
number of people who view your LinkedIn nonprofits page and also visit the webpage. You cannot always directly track attribution (what compelled someone to visit your website), but you can make some assumptions if visits increase and you didn’t increase any other marketing efforts
New donors and donor revenue:
tracking how the LinkedIn leads convert (percent that become donors and resulting revenue) represents the advanced metrics that can justify continuing to support your LinkedIn initiative
The reality is that LinkedIn success, like all social media for nonprofits, comes from the long game of consistent quality over quantity. Since most NPO resources are stretched thin, the best approach is to select a cadence that aligns with your team’s capabilities. If you can only manage one post per week, start there. But don’t post in spurts, then go silent. Consistency is most important. With a content calendar, you can set the ideas in advance and execute on a schedule. Enlist help from your team for content contributions and ideas, ensuring that it aligns with the strategy.
First-party content refers to original content created specifically for your organization. While the content may serve your goals, it must also add value to the reader. Always ask yourself and your team if the content is informative, entertaining, engaging, or a combination. Mix up the delivery with a blend, such as thought-provoking content one day, followed by a provocative question in the next post.
Your content can include:
• Blog posts
• Tip lists
• Staff spotlights
• Project updates
• Event announcements
• Trade show attendance
• Fundraising campaigns
Don’t shy away from leveraging the emotional strategies that help drive donations. To get your posts noticed, spend time on the headline to make it compelling enough to stop the scroll. Magazine covers provide great inspiration for ways to write compelling headlines that get readers to want to know more.
|Tradeshow Example||Event Announcement Example|
|Blog Post Example||Blog Post Example|
Another critical way to get attention is by using an impactful visual. You can repurpose visuals from your website content library or create simple graphics with programs like Canva. Make sure you post images using the correct ratio to maximize the available space in a person’s feed.
Use the LinkedIn Post Inspector to optimize and refresh your visuals.
Add appropriate hashtags only if they are relevant. Unlike Instagram, LinkedIn does not favor hashtagheavy posts! Within your content, use the mention function to tag LinkedIn users, partners, and other pages where possible, as this helps get your post seen by others outside your existing network.
A current favorable trend is to create a LinkedIn newsletter. This newer feature allows you to publish articles on the platform and automatic notifications are sent to your subscriber base. Upon creation of your first newsletter, LinkedIn will automatically invite your current followers to subscribe. Just like your posting content calendar, an article calendar is an important part of the strategy. Quality and consistency are key.
LinkedIn is a great medium for highlighting your partnerships in a way that is beneficial to both your organization and your partners. Sharing co-branded content and tagging your partner in posts is a great way to increase exposure, engagement, and followers to both pages. You can leverage the audience and content of a larger brand or organization to boost your own page’s potential, or you can partner with well-known and well-loved community pages to strengthen your nonprofit’s ties to those organizations.
The benefits of third-party and curated content are that the creation is done, and all you have to do is share. The downside is that to be most effective, you must be timely and enter the conversation while it’s still buzzing. Plus, your team must confirm the source’s legitimacy and information before sharing it to protect your brand reputation. The best way to share this kind of content is to add your own commentary on the post. Mixing in these posts adds variety to your calendar and shows that your organization is engaged with current topics.
Unfortunately, LinkedIn is not a “set-it-and-forget-it” platform. Consistency and post engagement matter for growth, as the algorithm favors posts with more reactions, shares, and comments. Remember this as you weave in content that asks for opinions or shares strong points of view (that align with your NPO). Ensure your admins always respond to commenters and engage with other posts to drive conversations further. One great tool to use inside LinkedIn is Notify Employees. This feature allows you to send out daily alerts to staff when new posts are published so they can repost in their profile feeds. Doing so, especially with personal commentary from those individuals, helps boost engagement and increase followers. We recommend setting up a daily calendar reminder as you can only use this feature once every 24 hours.
By playing the long game with LinkedIn for nonprofits, you can give your page time to percolate. After setting goals, measure LinkedIn engagement by closely reviewing your analytics every 90 days to look for patterns in what content resonated the most, where you got the most significant engagement, and how you’re moving the needle forward in the bigger picture. To find your best-performing content, pay closer attention to engagement rate instead of reach, as this is the metric used by the LinkedIn algorithm. Also, review your audience growth rates. Over time, you should be able to estimate better how much you can grow moving forward.
It takes time to find your voice, so the sooner you start using these tips for LinkedIn, the sooner you will discover the cadence that works best for you, your team, and your audience. Sketch out a strategy. Start gathering assets. Commit resources to create your LinkedIn content marketing strategy. See what changes you can affect in the next 30, 60, 90 days.