Linkedin Guide for Nonprofits

It’s no secret, LinkedIn and I have not had a good relationship all of the time.

I once had a brief and rather upsetting encounter with a LinkedIn Contact that approached me and asked to become an Employee in my Agency. On LinkedIn, Mrs X’s Profile was at All-Star rating and had over 500 connections. From afar, Mrs X seemed reliable, accountable and full of the expertise my Agency needed. Her recommendations were a plenty too.

In the first few minutes of meeting Mrs X it became clear to me that her “LinkedIn Qualifications” were false. I felt embarrassed that I had trusted her profile enough to warrant a meeting and quickly ended the encounter with the attitude: “I’ll never trust LinkedIn again”. Around that time I had been receiving a large number of recommendations for my skills from people that I had never met or worked with before and it just added to my belief that the Platform itself was flawed.

After a few months of blatantly ignoring my LinkedIn profile, I decided to dig deeper into the Platform to try and understand what made it tick. I am happy to report that one year later I am hosting monthly LinkedIn Challenges with our Phambano Clients and have managed to turn my profile (and opinion) around in a few easy steps. Here’s how:

Use That Headline Wisely

Your LinkedIn Headline counts a lot! Think of it as your 30 second Business or Blog Pitch. You know the one that you use to introduce yourself at Networking Meetings and Functions? The one that perfectly sums up your Services and Expertise in a few sentences? Place that in the Headline Area (see my example below)

Linkedin Guide for Nonprofits


Top Tip: Your Headline will set your account apart from others in a simple name search. Use the first few words to describe your Service.

Become An All-Star

Spend a good afternoon answering all questions LinkedIn prompts you with to complete fields on your Profile. The more content you add to your Profile, the higher the ranking your Account will receive thus making it more discoverable on the Platform.

Top Tip: Click on “Contact Information” just beneath your Connections Count. Edit your Website Link and select “Other”. Use a Keyword from your Headline to describe your Website Link and click “Save”

Know Which Connections Are Which

1st-degree – People you’re directly connected to because you’ve accepted their invitation to connect, or they’ve accepted your invitation. You’ll see a 1st degree icon next to their name in search results and on their profile. You can contact them by sending a message on LinkedIn.

2nd-degree – People who are connected to your 1st-degree connections. You’ll see a 2nd degree icon next to their name in search results and on their profile. You can send them an invitation by clicking Connect or contact them through an InMail.

3rd-degree – People who are connected to your 2nd-degree connections. You’ll see a 3rd degree icon next to their name in search results and on their profile.

  • If their full first and last names are displayed, you can send them an invitation by clicking Connect.
  • If only the first letter of their last name is displayed, clicking Connect isn’t an option but you can contact them through an InMail.

Fellow members of your LinkedIn Groups – These people are considered part of your network because you’re members of the same group. You’ll see a Group icon next to their name in search results and on their profile. You can contact them by sending a message on LinkedIn or through the group.

Out of Network – LinkedIn members who fall outside the categories listed above. You can contact them through an InMail” – Source: LinkedIn

Know Who To Connect With First

The quickest and easiest way to make Connections on LinkedIn is to make use of your Current Email Database. By connecting with people that you already know on LinkedIn, your All-Star Account will now travel even further on the Platform with recommendations of more 2nd and 3rd Connection types. To import a .csv file of your Contacts:

  1. Click on “Add Contacts” under the Network Tab
  2. Click on “Upload a File” or “Import a File” option on your screen

The reason why I suggest importing your Contacts is to avoid the plethora of recommendations from people that you don’t know like I wrote of at the beginning of this post. At least your contacts will endorse you because they actually know you, right?

Join And Engage In Groups

Group Marketing is huge on Facebook and equally so on LinkedIn. To discover and join Groups, click on “Interests” under the Interests Tab.

Top Tip: Set aside 5 minutes each day to engage in two to three LinkedIn Groups. As there is no way to schedule Group Postings on LinkedIn (yet) you need to actively post in the Groups in realtime. Set a reminder on your Calander for different times each day for Group engagement

Become An InMail Pro

Now, as your LinkedIn Account grows, you will note that more and more spam will hit your InMail (inbox). Don’t be that person that sends spam, please. Rather, set aside one day of every week to send out 5 – 10 InMails to new 2nd and 3rd Connections that say something along the lines of:

“Hi there! I’d love to get to know you and your Service Offering better. Could you please send me a link to your latest project or Article so that I can get to know you more”

This method works, trust me.

Top Tip: Once you have established trust with your Connection in InMail, send them a message and ask if they would like to receive updates from you that detail your latest Posts i.e An email subscriber list. 

Schedule The Good Stuff

I schedule much of my content on LinkedIn with my go-to program, Buffer. But, I only schedule the really good stuff on LinkedIn [note: I’m not saying that some of my content is not good ;)] i.e the posts on my website that are performing the very best. I have learnt that posting all of your Content on LinkedIn simply doesn’t work. “Less” most definitely is more on this Platform and I have found that sharing at 6am yields higher engagement results.

Go On, Say Congrats!

Keeping in touch with your Connections is hard. We all have busy Nonprofits and Blogs to maintain and each morning I say congrats to those on LinkedIn that are celebrating a work anniversary. It is a quick and effective way to remind them that I am a Connection of theirs and it’s polite.

By following the above steps I have managed to turn my LinkedIn Account right around and have met the most amazing Collaborators and Leads on the platform!

Do you have a LinkedIn Top Tip? I’d love to hear it!

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