In 2013, LinkedIn broadened its feature set in order to help professionals better represent themselves, their business, and their accomplishments on the network. Not only has the company added more media options and endorsements, but it also launched a new volunteer and causes section where members can highlight the charities and organizations they support.
As a result, the social network has increased in popularity among brands, nonprofits, and thought leaders in addition to job seekers and recruiters. In order to continue that growth trend in 2014, the company this week launched the LinkedIn Volunteer Marketplace to connect professionals with nonprofit organizations in need of volunteers.
The new marketplace, which launched on Wednesday, is a separate part of LinkedIn where nonprofits can post volunteer opportunities just as they would a job. In addition to those posts, viewers will also be able to browse through aggregate postings from existing volunteer match websites, including Taproot Foundation, BoardSource, and VolunteerMatch.
According to a spokesperson for LinkedIn, more than 600,000 people have expressed interest in volunteer opportunities that require a particular skill set since August 2013. Additionally, more than three million members have added volunteer experience and causes to their LinkedIn Profiles since 2011. With stats like those, it’s surprising that more nonprofits haven’t taken advantage of all the customization options available to them on LinkedIn.
If you’re thinking about becoming active on LinkedIn, check out some of the nonprofits we highlighted below for tips and ideas on how to set up your Company Page.
First and foremost, it’s important that your Company Page create awareness for your organization. You can achieve this by using a compelling cover image and logos consistent with your identity on other social platforms. Not only will this convince visitors that your page is legitimate, but it will also help to make your content stand out within someone’s feed on the homepage.
Awareness goes beyond images, however. Something that PBS does well is focus attention on its various programs, initiatives, and services. As you can see, the nonprofit is currently focused on driving awareness for one of its most popular programs, Sherlock. This is smart because it’s a topic that has generated a lot of buzz among viewers as well as the media.
PBS doesn’t alienate fans of its other programming though. Sherlock mentions are mixed in well with other status updates that highlight various programs, news articles, and interactive content. It even has a dedicated tab where it features projects and services visitors might be interested in.
Educate the Viewer
While driving awareness for your cause and content, it’s also important that you educate your visitors. Not everyone who comes across your Company Page will know who you are or what your organization is about.
Although the National Wildlife Foundation is pretty self-explanatory, that doesn’t stop it from posting educational status updates. The NWF regularly shares links to educational articles and videos, inviting viewers to learn about a particular cause and how they can get involved.
The nonprofit also regularly shares links to general information about specific species and their environments that are sure to pique the interest of its visitors. The vibrant pictures of animals doesn’t hurt engagement either.
Last, but certainly not least, encourage your viewers to take action. Whether it’s a call for feedback, applications for a volunteer position, or signatures on a petition, use your platform wisely.
One thing that stood out about Ashoka’s Company Page is that the nonprofit regularly shares posts about how supporters can get involved. Even its cover image elicits a sense of involvement and action.
On LinkedIn, you have a unique opportunity to reach educated, professional, and interested individuals. If you want something, ask for it. Highlight your events, fundraisers, and volunteer opportunities.
LinkedIn might not be the most popular platform when compared to Facebook or Twitter for nonprofits, but if you’re going to create a Company Page, then you want to make sure that the space represents you, your cause, and your supporters. Don’t rely on the Volunteer Marketplace to send volunteers your way. Convert visitors on your own using these tips.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.