Make Your LinkedIn Presence Yield Maximum Visibility
By Heather Mansfield

Heather Mansfield 90 x 90
Heather Mansfield
By digging deep into LinkedIn’s toolsets and functionality to enhance their company page, nonprofits can use this network of 100 million users to increase their visibility quickly and exponentially in exchange for a small investment of time.

Even if your organization did not set up a company page, odds are one exists on LinkedIn, and it may be replete with faulty information. If any of your past staff, interns, or volunteers added their position at your nonprofit to their work “Experience” on their LinkedIn profile, then LinkedIn automatically sets up a company page for your organization #147; but it contains none of your messaging and may contain erroneous or misleading information.

To claim your nonprofit’s company page or create a new one, follow either of these steps
  1. Go to “Add a Company” from the “Company Pages Home” and enter your nonprofit name. If your nonprofit already has a page, you will be prompted to claim it. (If not, you are then asked to create one.)
  2. Go to Personal Profile > Work Experience and click the Page icon next your nonprofit’s name.
When searching, remember that LinkedIn members often incorrectly spell employers’ names on their Personal Profile, which prompts LinkedIn to create an additional company page for your nonprofit. Because this new company page is named incorrectly, it’s difficult to find it in searches. Before you rush to create a new company page, search multiple possibilities of your nonprofit’s name, including your acronym.

Once your page is found (or not), complete the process to claim or create a page. When claiming or creating a company page, you must use an email address connected to your nonprofit’s name, such as Email addresses from Gmail, Yahoo!, Hotmail, and the like are inadmissable.

Over the last year, LinkedIn has added increased functionality to company pages. Initially, one could only upload a logo, add a company description and website, and insert a RSS/News Feed. Now you and others can follow your nonprofit, embed your Tweets, and post services.

When you’re claiming, creating, or correctly your company page, invest a little time into exploring these functions so that your messaging complements your nonprofit’s Facebook and web presence.

New Tools for Group Managers
By starting and managing a LinkedIn Group, your nonprofit can garner valuable visibility as long as your designated group manager is patient and willing to invest at least an hour a week promoting and monitoring the Group.

Whether posting interesting questions and resources or featuring someone else’s discussion (called a Manager’s Choice), the manager captures attention of other group members and prompts them to click on not only on the posting, but on the manager’s live links to his or her name, which can drive traffic to the organization’s company page, Facebook page, and website.

Unfortunately, in the past, nonprofits mistakenly assumed that their group’s membership would grow without much effort. When it didn’t, the manager (formerly called the admin) abandoned the group, and it became overrun with spam.

That’s particularly sad because LinkedIn generous toolset provides managers with many options for combating problems and for growing the group. One such group, Social Media for Nonprofit Organizations LinkedIn Group, began two years ago. The manager dug into the toolset to feature interesting discussions (the tool is now called Manager’s Choice) and invite more members. Each effort brought additional mentions of the manager’s organization.

Once the group hit 5,000 members it began to grow exponentially on its own. Today, it has 14,000 members.

If your nonprofit has a LinkedIn Group and participation has been low, make sure you’re not making these common mistakes:

1. Failing to moderate “Discussions” and “Promotions” for spam. On a Linkedin Group, spammers commonly discuss opportunities to “Work from home and earn $250 a day!” or want to clue you in on the “Top 10 Secrets to Success.” As a group manager, you need to delete and block these posts and members from your LinkedIn Group immediately. Spam is a clear indication that a LinkedIn Group has been abandoned by the group manager, and people do not want to be members of or participate in a Manager-less LinkedIn Group.

2. Not using the “Group Rules” function. This function allows you to clearly spell out your group’s mission and the kind of content that is acceptable. For example, most of the time it’s best not to allow social media content from the business sector in the Social Media for Nonprofit Organizations LinkedIn Group so that it won’t become cluttered by marketing experts.

If the experts get angry, refer them to the group rules, which usually prompts them to leave the group (which indicates that they intended only to promote themselves, not participate in the group).

3. Not using the “Templates” function. Few nonprofits utilize the “Templates” function, which allows the manager to customize the “Request-to-Join” and “Welcome” email templates. Besides making your group user-friendly, the templates can drive traffic to your site or blog.

Heather Mansfield is principal of DIOSA Communications specializing in social media and mobile technology trainings for nonprofit organizations. She can be reached at
April 2011