LinkedIn – where not-for-profits can profit…

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Social Media Training

I often write about the beauties of social media for B2B businesses, most of whom are trying to make a profit, even though in the early years many are strictly unprofitable. S, of course, are most of the social media companies themselves, but note that this does not stop them from floating or from selling out for fancy prices.

But my London-based company Hannon Digital is often called upon to assist organisations that do not seek to make a profit. They feel the pressure of squeezed media budgets even more than start-ups and early-stage companies, because every penny they spend has to independently audited and justified.

So if you are a marketer or a Chief Executive who is trying to work out how get a return from social media with limited resources, where do you start? It does of course depend on your target market. If you want to reach out to individuals, especially young ones, then Facebook and Instagram are important, albeit very difficult to use as a conduit to achieve noticeable results.

But when it comes to soliciting funds from, or seeking to make strategic B2B alliances with corporate sponsors, then the network that stands head and shoulders above all others is LinkedIn – the place where businesspeople gather online to network, to hire and to get hired. As William Scott of LinkedIn has recently written, there are more than 165,000 not-for-profit pages on the network now.

LinkedIn Training

Free for All

The best part is that at a basic level it is free – and even the enhanced listings are not going to break any bank. All you need to get started is a personal LinkedIn account, and you will then be able to add a custom-made business page for every one of your products and services. All the while improving the SEO ranking of your linked website.

Do not overlook the personal aspect, either. You and all of your team should have pages on LinkedIn, which complement the business pages. They should not all be clones of each other, but they need to be appealing to the people that you want to impress.

It should not stop there. What video material do you have about your operation and what you do? Failing that, what could you make at reasonable cost to showcase your charity, industry body or public sector department?

Set up a LinkedIn Group to attract discussion and generate engagement about your core subject.

Year-round opportunities

Do you maintain a marketing calendar with every potential event and activity listed on it? (If not, shame on you…) Your LinkedIn presence must be updated in line with it, and must carry the articles you write for your website, the news you send out to your email subscribers, the offers that you may make to prospects or current members, and much more.

Consider the possibilities –

    • Offer to host meetings for companies
    • Bid for corporations CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) funds
    • Set up a corporate membership category, if you do not already have one
    • Showcase specific initiatives that you are launching for different target markets
    • Find excellent candidates for your operation

The options are many and various. Here is one UK example of best practice that William Scott highlighted – Make-a-Wish Foundation.

Social Media Training

Effective Targeting

Are you not a national, but a regionally-focused operation? Do not forget that LinkedIn has a powerful profiling capability and it can help you to zero in on exactly the right part of the country without wastage, as well as being able to profile potential demographically-suited contacts.

Whenever writing copy, you can and should use key words and phrases that you have identified as being of most relevance to your cause or operational areas. The long tail key phrases can be very powerful because of their relevance and their ability to target accurately – even though they may not generate large raw (largely irrelevant) numbers.

Take a look at the dedicated LinkedIn page for non-profit bodies. It will help to get you started. And for more in-depth assistance, contact me at Hannon Digital – we work closely with LinkedIn in London and we train people to use the network to the best effect.