We examine why engaging with LinkedIn’s audience of conscientious professionals should be part of all charities’ social media strategy
LinkedIn is an effective social media platform for the voluntary sector. But too often it is being ignored by charity marketers in favour of more familiar platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
Even when LinkedIn is used, it can be seen as an afterthought, with content for other, more personal style social platforms merely copy and pasted in.
But it is a mistake to ignore LinkedIn’s engaged and professional focused audience and the distinct social media marketing advantages it offers.
Here we will examine the benefits of using LinkedIn for charities and how it can help in their wider social media strategy.
According to research cited by LinkedIn, almost all (96 per cent) of UK business to business (B2B) marketers use the platform for content and six out of ten describe it as “highly effective”. Around eight out of ten of all their leads for new business come from LinkedIn.
Knowing more about LinkedIn, its audience and functions are key for charities in harnessing this marketing power.
The platform is primarily used for professional networking, which means its user base is highly engaged, keen to network and receptive to social media marketing campaigns. They are a B2B group of professionals who want to see relevant content for their job and are eager to learn from other professionals across a wide range of sectors.
Creating strong content that appeals to this professional user base is key. This includes recruitment announcements, such as board appointees and new hires. Promoting the work of your volunteers and firms that are volunteering or fundraising for your good causes is also effective.
Blog posts used on charity websites can also be repositioned for a LinkedIn audience.
Links to interesting, professional articles, that will assist a wide range of people in their job, are also of interest.
Be warned though. This audience is not interested in personal content. So, while a cute picture of your CEO’s dogs may work Instagram, it is less likely to appeal to LinkedIn’ users.
In addition, political news that is not relevant to people’s working life is not welcome by this audience. Such issues can also be divisive in the workplace. Treat them as such on LinkedIn.
Instead, LinkedIn users are looking for content that can help in their job and working life. This is why recruitment opportunities can be so appealing.
The quality of LinkedIn’s audience is clear, but the platform also has the quantity of audience to back up its use in marketing. As of May 2020, it boasted more than 690 million users, across 150 countries. Around half are regular, active users each month.
The key step for a charity looking to engage with LinkedIn’s users is to set up a page for the organisation. This should be eye-catching, with strong use of imagery.
Take homelessness charity Shelter’s LinkedIn presence as an example. Its page fits perfectly with LinkedIn’s recruitment focus with the clear message “Want to Work for Shelter?” It is also bold with its imagery and features an interesting video prominently explaining more about the charity.
LinkedIn also offers charities the chance to build networks among staff. This is a real strength. Practically it is useful as only individuals, not organisations, can join in conversations by messaging and commenting on posts.
This personal feel to posts on the platform is also important as “people respond way more to individuals than they will ever respond to organisations,” according to Tom De Fraine, Relationship Manager at Lightful, who joined Charity Digital recently for a webinar on using social media in fundraising.
Useful tips to coordinate a charity’s LinkedIn ‘army’ or staff marketers are to ensure there is consistency of message, that content is reaching their contacts and that it is not being spammed.
Among charities to successfully do this is education charity ASDAN. Staff are encouraged to post regularly on the platform and write articles. Monthly impressions went up by several thousand within months of it targeting the platform. New followers quadrupled each month and within six months the number of clicks on posts had more than doubled and the number of likes more than tripled.
By budgeting for paid advertising charities can reach new audiences across the platform.
LinkedIn advertising includes sponsored content, which appears in users’ newsfeeds. Charities can also create their own advertising to drive website traffic. There are also advertising options on a pay per click basis, which can be more cost-effective.
Buying advertising that appears as direct messages in targeted users inboxes is another option.
Another benefit of using LinkedIn as part of charities’ social media strategy is the analytics that are available. This gives charities a detailed evaluation of the success of content. Information includes total page views, followers, unique visitors, demographics and how its reach compares across devices, including desktop and mobile.
Distinct digital content and strategy are clearly needed for successfully using LinkedIn. For savvy charity marketers, the rewards of accessing this engaged, professional audience could be great.