LinkedIn for NonProfit Organizations in EdmontonOn September 15, I gave two workshops to twenty three non profit organizations in Edmonton on the topic of LinkedIn sponsored by the Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations. The purpose of the workshop was to demonstrate how feature rich LinkedIn is for nonprofit community organizations. The questions focused around such things as how to determine if LinkedIn, or any other social networking tool, is the best vehicle for them to engage their audiences, and whether the user should set up a profile for themselves or a company profile for their organization. We agreed that in order to select the best social networking tool amongst the many freely available, the organization needed to first develop a marketing and communications plan which would help them identify the demographic, psychographic and technographic profile of their ideal audiences, set the objectives and guide the activities.

Many of participants in the workshop, like many participants in my workshops, did not realize that every newspaper, magazine, radio station, television station and social media network have distinctively different demographics. The media outlets, Google and social media networks use their demographic and other profile information to sell advertising to companies seeking to reach their audiences. See the Edmonton Journal’s demographic profile in their media kit for example. And as you’ll read in this report,  LinkedIn, more than any other social network provides users with the most detailed demographic information on their users.

What is more difficult for the non profit community organizations or anyone else to find out is the psychological (i.e. interests) and  technological (i.e. online experience) of their ideal audiences which determines whether they even participate in social media networks and if so, with which ones.

The question about the personal or company profile was a question shared by many participants. The answer is, like all things when it comes to social media, it depends. It depends on your objective. If your objective is to have a strong company presence on LinkedIn, like United Way or the Stollery Foundation for example, it might be a good idea to have as many staff profiles on LinkedIn that can be aggregated to form a single company page to showcase the organization’s mission, products and services and create the impression of a large, capable and well managed organization. If your objective is to sell your books and promote your expertise, you’ll want to have a personal profile that showcases your skills and talents.

If you’re interested in networking with others, a personal profile is the way to go. As somone quite rightly pointed out in the workshop, people connect and engage with other people, not companies. So the choice of whether you use social media, a survey, a PSA, an annual report, newsletter, LinkedIn or a media release to get your news out on your organization depends on what you want to say or learn, who you want to say it to or learn it from and why it’s important for them or you to know it. And, it takes time, expertise and good planning to target the right audience with the right message using the right communications tool in a way that motivates them to take the action you want them to take.

How do you determine out the demographics, psychographics and now the technographics of your ideal audiences and match them to the right media outlet or social media network or communications tool? You take a strategic media communications  workshop or contact someone like me with an interest in such things, and they help you develop your strategic media communications plan/roadmap.

Here’s what a participate had to say about the LinkedIn for NonProfit Organizations workshop:

I really enjoyed the “Linked-In” workshop.  It was a great introduction to what the network is and how I might use it my own business.  Marilyn packed a lot of useful information into an hour and a half.  She’s a great speaker and really knows her stuff.  I’m looking forward to an advanced Linked-In workshop next time around so I can learn even more about the network.

Cheryl Croucher
Journalist, podcaster, blogger
Porcupine Stone Productions

This workshop and workshops on Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, content management systems like Joomla! and WordPress and other social media networks is available for in-house training. Call 780-695-5675 for more information.