How to be on LinkedIn for Individuals

How to be on LinkedIn for Individuals

By ginaschmeling   /     Jun 07, 2013  /     Nonprofits, Social Media Series  /  

LinkedIn “connects talent with opportunity.”  It is becoming the digital space for professionals to actively network and share.

I encourage EDs, non-profit leaders, board members and social media staff to be on LinkedIn.  Follow, join, and comment on conversations that are meaningful to you.  Non-profit culture is actively utilizing the power of networks to spread the word.  LinkedIn is ideal for this.

There is a virtuous connect with your non-profit on LinkedIn:  You lift your non-profit’s brand by connecting to them.  In turn, they highlight you as a staffer, board member, donor.  A double good.

Some Rules

The primary rule of LinkedIn is only connect with people you know well.  I shirk this when I go to conferences or meet new people in professional contexts.  If I exchange cards or emails with someone, I usually invite them to connect.  You can break connections any time.

If your organization has a LinkedIn policy, read it and make sure you understand it.  If you have questions or if the policy seems out of whack with your personality, discuss it with your organization.

You will find your LinkedIn presence a way to sculpt and develop your “brand.”  Which messages are important to you?  What causes do you support?  How can you bring your personal interests to a professional forum?

EDs and Lead Staff

Curate your profile.  Photo should be up to date.  Your job title and description should be accurate and resonant with your personality as well as your organization’s identity.

Maintain your network.  Reach out to your people, and accept invitations from those you know.  Connect with Board Members, key donors and community leaders. Break connections that are inactive or no longer make sense.

If your social media staffer maintains your profile, work with them.  Sit down together and keep information current.  Take initiative to share good news or information even if some one else is pushing the button to make the post.

If you blog or write often, try posting to Twitter and LinkedIn at the same time.

Board Members

Connect with your ED, and with each other.  See how your organization’s internal frame meshes with your personal network.  Introduce people you think would benefit from connecting.

Add your organization to the Volunteer Experience and Causes area of your profile.  This is where you can let your personal passion shine.  Share important moments in your non-profit’s story.  When you add non-profits here, it is like “a like” on Facebook.  Don’t underestimate the power of sharing this information.

How I am on LinkedIn

Currently, I use LinkedIn to:

  • Keep my resume active
  • Stay abreast with ideas, conferences and clients relating to my field
  • Find alumni connections
  • Stay in touch with former colleagues
  • Follow group discussions
  • Connect with professionals from conferences or offline meetings (when a Facebook “friendship” is not appropriate)

I’m using it more to:

  • Post Blog pieces
  • Find news and resources for non-profits
  • Add insight to and share articles or links
  • Send InMail to prospective clients or develop projects
  • Refer other professionals
  • Post in concert with Twitter
  • Follow Influencers
  • Check the health of my network with the InMap feature; I’m brokering holes among my people.  On or off LinkedIn, I try to get everyone into the tent.

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