What’s a Follower Worth?
This blog post was updated with new data on May 7, 2021.
You’ve created a Page for your nonprofit or association on LinkedIn and the follower count is starting to rise. Feels good, right? Well, it may be doing even more good for your organization than you realize—because growing your LinkedIn followers can dramatically extend your reach.
Here at LinkedIn, I lead a team that helps nonprofit and advocacy organizations tell their stories and connect with their target audiences, so I’ve seen firsthand just how valuable a follower can be. Every time you gain a new LinkedIn follower, you also gain access to their network—which can be several hundred people strong—helping you organically grow your presence on the platform and get more eyes on your content.
To help you optimize your marketing strategy on LinkedIn, let’s take a look at the data and explore some simple steps you can take to grow your follower count.
Follower growth leads to even bigger gains in engagement and exposure
Between 2018 and 2020, we saw nonprofits experience a 78% increase in followers, while associations’ follower counts grew 57%. This shows that LinkedIn members are interested in nonprofits and associations and are actively looking for ways to keep up to date with the content they’re sharing.
This follower growth is valuable in itself, but our data shows that it creates a domino effect of other benefits. For nonprofits, that 78% rise in follower growth corresponded with a 134% boost in engagement and 101% increase in unique members engaged. And for associations, the 57% lift in followers corresponded with a 126% boost in engagement and 84% increase in unique members engaged.
So, why is this happening? Every time a follower interacts with content your organization posts on LinkedIn, that piece of content will show up in their connections’ feeds. That means that someone who’s maybe never heard of your organization could be scrolling through LinkedIn and see that their coworker, client, or partner liked or commented on a video you’ve shared. They click the video out of curiosity and are inspired by your organization’s message and mission. Before you know it, you’ve gained a new follower—and, potentially, a future member, employee, volunteer, or donor.
If a follower reshares content from your organization, their connections will likely see it in their own feeds. And the more followers you have, the greater the reach each piece of content can achieve. This makes each and every follower a highly valuable asset for organically building awareness on LinkedIn, so if you don’t currently have a LinkedIn growth strategy, it’s time to develop one.
A complete and active LinkedIn Page attracts more followers
The first step to attracting followers on LinkedIn is to ensure your organization has a LinkedIn Page—and that it’s complete. Adding your logo, including a description of your organization, uploading a cover image, and sharing details like your website and location make your Page more credible and compelling, encouraging people to follow. Our research shows that complete and active LinkedIn Pages achieve a 5x lift in views and an 11x lift in clicks per follower, so spending a few extra minutes filling out all the fields really pays off. Think of it as your first impression.
Once your LinkedIn Page is built out, here are six steps you can take to grow your followers:
1. Ask everyone with admin access to your Page to invite their connections to follow. Since their networks likely include numerous people who already engage with and support the organization in one way or another, this is a surefire way to gain followers fast. You can also add the LinkedIn “Follow” button to your website by asking your web developer to implement the plugin. You only need to do this once, and it can attract followers for years to come.
2. Directly invite supporters and members to follow the Page. If you send out a newsletter, for example, you can let people know that you have a Page and encourage them to follow for more news and updates. You can also include a call to action to follow the Page in all marketing content, such as at the end of blog posts, and link to it in your email signature.
3. Encourage existing and former employees, volunteers, and board members to follow the Page and list your organization on their LinkedIn profile—either in the Experience or Volunteer Experience sections, depending on which is relevant for them. This allows them to present a well-rounded view of their experience, and means that your organization’s name and logo are visible whenever someone clicks on their profile—along with a link that leads people straight to your Page.
4. Share great content on a regular basis! The better your content is, the more likely people will be to engage with it. LinkedIn’s Grace Rochford Everitt recommends a healthy mix of informational posts, uplifting or emotional stories, and requests to ensure people don’t feel overwhelmed by constant calls to action. Even if they’re not taking a specific step like donating or joining, they’re still helping your organization just by engaging with your content.
5. Tag people at your organization in posts and encourage leaders to share content. Between 2018 and 2020, we saw a 78% increase in followers and a 128% increase in engagements for nonprofit content shared by leaders at the director level or above. Since leaders’ networks are often full of fellow leaders and decision-makers, this is a great way to reach a more senior audience—ideal for building new partnerships or attracting corporate donors.
6. Run a paid media campaign to attract followers with specific profile attributes and with whom your mission is likely to resonate. With Sponsored Content and Dynamic ads on LinkedIn, you can rapidly grow your follower count. Start by using Page Analytics tools to better understand the demographics of your current followers and determine who you are (and aren’t) reaching, then use LinkedIn’s targeting features to put your organization’s Page in front of the right audience.
For more ideas on how to grow your followers, including best-in-class examples and a handy timeline of actions you can take, download LinkedIn Pages: Action Plan for Nonprofits.
Grow your organization on LinkedIn
There are lots of ways to grow your organization’s followers on LinkedIn. It takes time and persistent effort, but the rewards can be huge. Your next leader or major donor may only be a connection away, and growing your followers can help you find them.
To learn more about how to use paid advertising to take things to the next level, get in touch with our team today.