February Net2 Think Tank Round-Up: Using Linkedin For Change

Claire Sale's picture

Earlier this month, we asked you to share ways that we can use Linkedin to mobilize social change. We wanted to learn which tools, tactics, and functions of Linkedin you're using to create a community around your cause area. Below, we've compiled all of the community responses for this month's Net2 Think Tank including information about using Linkedin fucntionality like Groups, Q&A, and Companies, as well as the benefits of networking and more!

Topic: How are you using Linkedin to support the efforts of your nonprofit or social enterprise? 

While this month's Net2 Think Tank is now closed, you're always welcome to add your feedback on the subject. Feel free to add your ideas in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Linkedin Groups

Here's how NetSquared community members are using Linkedin Groups. Learn more about Groups.

Megan Keane replied on the NetSquared blog:

Just wanted to weigh in here with my experience moderating the TechSoup LinkedIn group. LinkedIn recently changed their group options to allow for open groups. We opted to make our group open which is helpful as it lets people who are not group members see the discussions. With an open group, discussions are also indexed by Google which opens up the coversation to a wider audience. [...] And LinkedIn, could you get RSS feeds for groups already?!?


Susan Tenby replied on the NetSquared blog:

I have found that the groups functionality in LinkedIn is more powerful than most email lists I belong to. There are many nonprofit groups to choose from and you can find them in the groups directory.

The have a graphical email push, so you don't need to remember to visit them, and you don't need to click in and log in (unless you want to respond). The added benefit is that joining a LinkedIn group allows you to have access to the profiles of hundreds of thousands of other group members, via the groups directory, that share your interests.

The groups are member-generated, and the member directory will inform you of group members in your network, so you know, before you join, if some of your peeps are involved.

Your profile summary will appear next to your posts in groups and members will get an email alerting them of your post, so it's a great way to build a network, based on your knowledge.


Tobias Eigen replied on the Kabissa Blog:

I [...] created a Discussion Group on LinkedIn, which has remarkably powerful features for enabling people to connect and share information - it's like Yahoo Groups that has been beefed up with all the latest social media functionality and integrated with LinkedIn's other reputation building and networking features. Again, I have not been promoting it but it may be beneficial to Kabissa and our community because it will provide another channel for people to connect with Kabissa besides Facebook, Twitter and the groups we host ourselves at kabissa.org.

I replied on the NetSquared Blog:

- My favorite use of Linkedin Groups is to ask questions, and I especially love when community members do the asking!

- I really like the Manager's Choice function. By design, discussions on the platform are maintained by community involvement, with an emphasis on recent content. The Manager's Choice is a listing of up to 10 discussion posts that we can use to promote excellent or timely content. We often use this as an opportunity to highlight intelligent questions from community members or to highlight Net2 Think Tank questions. 

- Many NetSquared Local groups have started NetSquared sub-groups. These are a great way to have local community activity connected to the global cause.

- Linkedin offers a wide range of tools and features to moderate and manage the group. They offer opened (public) and closed (private) groups, as well as a wide rang of customization options for the ways that users can interact. I especially like that the tool sends me messages when the site needs moderating, so I don't need to set my own reminders!

- It's not really easy to search for groups without a brand name. I'd like to see the group search function search keywords within the existing content, rather than just keywords in the group title. For instance, if I search "nptech", nothing comes up - this isn't because nobody is talking about nptech, simply that there isn't a group with that name. 

- There is a lot of spam on Linkedin. But, there are also some excellent tools for moderators to combat irrelevant postings. This means that spam isn't a problem so long as you put the five minutes in a week to make sure you're getting rid of it. 



Here's how NetSquared Community members are using the Linkedin Q&A function. Learn more about Q&A.

Megan Keane replied on the NetSquared blog:

I [...] use the question and answers feature to cross-pollinate discussions from our group to the TechSoup forums. Our biggest obstacle to date is the lack of sharing--still looking for a better way to integrate different discussions from various platforms. 


I replied on the NetSquared Blog:

- So far, I've used Linkedin Answers exclusively for soliciting feedback to Net2 Think Tank questions. To my surprise, this has been an excellent way to get feedback on a topic. The tool is a bit like Quora, but what I like about it is that it's reaching people where they already are, rather than on an external site.

- I'd love to be able to publicly respond to or comment on people's Answers to my questions. As a question asker, the only way to reply to an answerer is via a private message - hardly in the spirit of collaboration.

- I'd also like to see Linkedin Answer functionality integrated into the Groups. I'd find this far more valuable that the little used "jobs" and "opportunities" tools. 


Company Pages

Here's how one NetSquared Community member is using a Linkedin Company Page. Learn more about Company Pages.


Tobias Eigen on the Kabissa Blog:

I created the Company page on LinkedIn in January and so far it has not generated any attention nor have I actively promoted it. This does not mean it is not beneficial to have it, since it will still turn up in search results, allow volunteers and current/former employees to link to it from their profiles, and provide yet another opportunity for people to show their support for Kabissa.


Networking for good

Here's how NetSquared Community members are using Linkedin for networking around their cause areas:

Jeffrey Murrah replied to our Question on Linkedin

By their nature, all social networking sites bring about social change. Even when sites like linkedin, which is primarily business oriented, are used they bring about social change. 

In terms of how I am using it for social change: 

- It allows me to connect with other people. Relationships are critical to any social change. The connections I make are the beginnings of relationships. 

- Linkedin allows me to discuss issues of importance. Even when those issues are not agreed upon, the dialogue keeps the issues in the front of their awareness. Each time you discuss an issue, you start the process of change. It adds legitimacy and credibility to your change. 

- Besides making connections, Linkedin allows those connections to intertwine and develop "a web of awareness". People become aware of you through secondary and tertiary connections. 

- By working through the answers, it allows for some education to occur. This increases people's awareness of issues they may not have been aware of. 
- By sharing links, the increased number of links creates a larger 'internet footprint' of one's cause. The larger footprint adds credibility to the social issue. 


Tobias Eigen on the Kabissa Blog:

- I find that my profile at http://linkedin.com/in/tobiaseigen is a great resource for me personally and I am very happy with how it reflects my influence and reputation in the field in which I am working. Over 500 colleagues have agreed to connect with me and many have used the platform to recommend my work.

- I was able to find and reconnect with a handful of people who used to work closely with Kabissa in the past and invite them to join our volunteering group. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Being able to do this has been immensely rewarding and of great benefit to Kabissa.

- LinkedIn's recommendation feature is an excellent tool that I intend to use to thank Kabissa volunteers and partners for contributions they have made to Kabissa, in the past and going forward.


Paul Nazareth replied on Linkedin:

LinkedIn is a great way to meet people to are connected to my non-profit work. 

I do use it to make social change in my sector. Non-profit is a powerful sector but frankly, it's drowning in internal management issues that can't be "discussed" in polite company at events or associations. 

Linked In has been a tremendous resource for me to seek out like-minded resources, leaders, survivors and thrivers. This where I keep and cultivate that network to solve problems, seek knowledge and discuss the undiscussable.

Submitted anonymously, over email:

I use LinkedIn to connect with fellow social change agents. In this way, I'm building my own little empire:) Sometimes I get requests from fellow social change agents to be my friend on Facebook, but I use Facebook for childhood friends and family. So I then add them on LinkedIn, instead. I suppose each person has their own preference for how to keep up with like-minded people/social change agents. My preference is LinkedIn. While this is not directly using LinkedIn to create change, it is laying the foundation for perhaps a bigger movement later:)


On the other hand...

There are quite a few people out there who don't think of Linkedin as a space for change. Here are a few of their reflections:

Bryan C Webb replied on Linkedin:

I'm using LI as a networking tool to build & maintain my professional network. As far as I can tell, using LI for social change is not what it was designed for not what I want to use it for.


David Mitchel replied on Linkedin:

I am using it to build and develop business relationships that lead to new clients (directly or indirectly) and to showcase knowledge.


Trevor Lobel replied on Linkedin:

Sorry Claire but like Bryan & David I'm also not using LinkedIn for social change. I am using it to open doors that will lead me to people and lead people to me..... 


Deep Dive

Interested in learning more about using Linkedin for change? Allison Fine recently interviewed NetSquared's very own Amy Sample Ward as well as Estrella Rosenberg, founder and executive director of Big Love Little Hearts in Chicago. Listen to the interview to dive even deeper into using Linkedin for change!  


About Net2 Think Tank:

Net2 Think Tank is a monthly blogging/social networking event open to anyone and is a great way to participate in an exchange of ideas.  We post a question or topic to the NetSquared community and participants submit responses either on their own blogs, the NetSquared Community Blog, or using social media.  Tag your post with "net2thinktank" and email a link to us to be included. At the end of the month, the entries get pulled together in the Net2 Think Tank Round-Up.