We offer some top tips to charities looking to make the most of LinkedIn’s highly engaged and professional audience
LinkedIn can be a highly effective way for charities to communicate with stakeholders, supporters, and partners. This is largely because of its professional audience. They are keen to explore partnership opportunities, corporate volunteering, and how charities and other sectors can support each other.
As of 2020, LinkedIn had recorded 690 million users, across 150 countries. Research by LinkedIn has found that almost all UK business-to-business marketers use the social media platform and well over half describe it as “highly effective”.
Among charities to see the benefit on is UK Youth, which became LinkedIn’s charity partner in 2019, aiming to help young people with their career prospects.
Here we look at seven hacks for charities using LinkedIn.
Think of LinkedIn as a shop front for your charity by making sure your profile page imagery is eye-catching. This involves a circular profile image as well as a cover photo. It would be beneficial to use simple branding for the profile picture, whereas the cover photo for charities can be more imaginative.
This helps to focus on simple messaging, such as the slogan for a latest campaign or fundraiser. Including a service user can add authenticity. But be aware of sizing, with the cover photo requiring a long landscape image. Ensure the position of the profile picture is to the left on desktop view, but centrally on mobile. Don’t pick a cover image where the focus is central and would therefore be obscured when viewed on mobile.
Children’s charity Become is a good example of effective use of imagery, with a service user placed just to the left in the cover image, starring direct at the LinkedIn user. The cover image contains the message ‘Care Not Crisis’ and the profile image contains Become’s simple but effective branding.
Video is a growth area of content across LinkedIn. Latest figures show that two-thirds of marketing professionals plan to use video content on the platform and the vast majority (87%) say it is an effective channel for video promotion.
Video is also rated highly on LinkedIn’s algorithim, which ranks content. This means a post with video has a better chance of featuring prominently on users’ feed.
A recent example is Friends of the Earth’s LinkedIn profile, which has posted a video explaining its stance on the expansion of Heathrow airport. This video has gained more than 1,000 views among engaged professionals since it was posted.
As well as having a highly visual profile page, Become has also successfully encouraged its staff to use LinkedIn. Staff and supporters are the best ambassadors for charities and can help to promote campaigns and messaging.
LinkedIn’s audience is different to those using Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. They are a professional audience, interested in issues that impact their work, new ideas, and job opportunities. Charity staffers’ holiday snaps and videos of cats are not of interest to LinkedIn’s audience.
Be bold in backing your ethics and messaging but avoid personal political opinion.
A charity worker’s personal opinion around Brexit, for example, can end up alienating an audience. Stick to promoting the work of the charity, its causes, staff, and volunteers, and suggest ways other sectors can support good causes.
On a profile page charities can pick and choose the sections they want to showcase or leave out. These include a short introduction, an ‘About’ section, and background. For example, charity employees can promote their career, work experience, training, and other relevant voluntary experience. Being selective can give clarity to charity’s messaging.
LinkedIn offers users a badge that can be placed on a charity’s website. This contains a link to the LinkedIn page, as well as the profile picture. It is a useful, eye-catching way to drive website visitors to a LinkedIn profile.
A handy guide has been produced by LinkedIn to create the badge and use its simple HTML code to embed on a website. This shows how to copy the code in the test areas of a WordPress page or send to a web developer in your team.
LinkedIn offers users the chance to see who they are most connected to by rating them, with first-degree connections for those most directly connected to a charity and their staff. A first-degree connection is where an invitation to connect has been accepted between two people. They can be contacted by sending a message through LinkedIn.
These connections are a great source of additional traffic for charity’s web messaging, social media content, and videos. They know and trust a charity and their staff, so are the most likely to share and interact. Nurture this group through sending messages.
LinkedIn allows users to message 50 connections at a time but these are not personalised, so each will know they are part of a group messaging. While more time-consuming, a personal message sent is far more effective in terms of engaging with contacts.
Second-degree connections are handed to those connected to first-degree connections, while third-degree connections are linked to second degree contacts.