New strategies for Linked-in

I have a growing Linked-in network — but I am clueless about what to do with it! (If you are not already on Linked-in, check it out here — it is an online business networking platform with over 30 million users).

I recently attended a presentation by Miles Jennings,, a Linked-in LION (Linked-In Open Networker) — he has hundreds of people in his network. Here’s some of his ideas for making Linked-In more effective:

Who should you link to?

  • Donors: Linked-in helps create a community of donors, and provides an additional communications channel for your organization. What’s more, it is a research and referral tool. You can find information on donors through their profiles, find out who they are connected with, and ask to be introduced to people in their network. Of course the older and wealthier your donors are, the less likely they are to be on Linked-in.
  • Peers: As we move through this recession, there will be more collaboration and sharing information among non profits and their staff — Linked-in facilitates this.
  • Businesses: Linked-in is designed to make businesses and organizations transparent. If you thinking of partnering with businesses, you can track changes in personnel and events, and gain insight into their culture.
  • Friends and family

Effective ways to exploit Linked-in features

  • Joining Groups: many of us join groups, but don’t utilize them effectively. Your key benefit as a group member is that you can communicate with everyone in a group. So if you want publicity, you have an audience of fellow group members that may pay attention. The best groups have over 10,000 members. Consider joining multiple groups. NOTE: email me here for a list of Linked-in non profit groups..
  • Starting Groups: Linked-in is getting saturated with new groups. So the time to start a group is now, before there are too many. Groups are easy to start and can be centered around anything — a common cause, sector, or interest. If you are the group founder and leader, you are positioned as an expert. Leading a group can take time: group leaders mediate discussions, and screen requests to join. For more information on starting a group click here.
  • Polls: a new Linked-in feature, it enables you to ask a question, get responses and then tabulate and publish results using Linked-in tools. You can then promote the poll results to your group. This feature is currently in beta, so there is no charge. Take a look here.
  • Content promotion: link your blog or e-news article to your Lnked-in home page, and promote to groups you belong to. This helps position you and your organization as a leader.
  • Q and A: another way to establish expertise. Early responders get ranked higher.
  • Researching organizations and companies: Most companies have a Linked-in page, with an impressive collection of data. It compiles employee profiles — and who employees are linked to. You can trace employee-vendor relationships, career paths and schools, and get a sense of the company culture. Note that Linked-in users skew young, so statistical data may not include senior management.

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FACT OF THE MONTH

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