Charities have a new social media element to capitalise on following LinkedIn’s announcement that it is introducing video to its platform.
The new feature will allow users to upload a video to the site, via LinkedIn’s iOS or Android mobile app and follows a limited release and testing earlier this year. There is no live streaming capability but that will be rolled out shortly.
Primarily used as a business tool for networking or finding a job, the company hopes that video will attract more users and increase engagement. LinkedIn made the announcement in a blog post in which it also revealed that users will have audience insights such as companies, people’s job titles and locations of their video viewers, as well as well as how many views, likes, and comments the videos are receiving.
"With these insights you can begin to understand if you’re reaching the people and companies that matter to you," a statement from LinkedIn says. "You can find audience insights in the dashboard section of your LinkedIn profile on both mobile and desktop."
Video has become an increasingly important aspect of social media platforms with Facebook and Twitter in particular pushing the medium to drive content and engagement while Snapchat made video its primary driver from launch. LinkedIn, sometimes criticised for being behind the curve with such developments, might be late with user-generated video on its platform, but with more than 500 million registered members across the globe, including 23 million in the UK, the potential is huge.
In a move which perhaps shows it is not catering for the social media-savvy crowd, LinkedIn has also provided a guide advising users on how to share video, what sort of video to share and best practice for creating videos.
With more and more charities harnessing the potential of social media and video to a greater extent, there may well be opportunities on offer. But Kirsty Marrins, a digital communications consultant, believes charities will need to think carefully about how to use it and advises that what works on Facebook might not necessarily translate to LinkedIn.
"As with all social media content, charities will need a clear strategy for how they will use video on LinkedIn," she says. "Charities should consider video on LinkedIn as a way to engage with employees of a particular company where they are up for a charity of the year partnership and need to secure votes or if they want to showcase the impact that a corporate partnership has had.
"Other ideas could be to engage with high net worth individuals through a specific capital appeal campaign or the use of video to help recruit talent to the organisation. For those on LinkedIn who have had early access to this new feature, they are reporting an increase of 20x in engagement so it could be a very powerful feature for charities, if used strategically."
Marrins says that a logical next step for LinkedIn would be to add of live video streaming to the platform so that organisations can live stream events, talks and Q&As.
"LinkedIn has always been late to the party and trails behind other social platforms when it comes to introducing new features. If they want to be innovative - and be first for once - they could introduce video chat," she says.
Liz Sables, web marketing managing at The Brain Tumour Charity, says she could immediately see two areas of potential for the platform in the charity's work.
"We have effectively used video in our communications on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and there is great potential for this success to translate to LinkedIn," she says.
"The new social media element will allow our corporate partnerships team to put out more personalised and creative content, thanking our existing partners, generating support and canvassing staff votes for new partnerships.
Sables also identifies potential improvements to the charity’s recruitment process, saying: "It would be great to see an applicant showing their enthusiasm for their specialist subject in a video or a time lapse of a project they have done which is referenced in their CV.
By using new digital tools to market themselves, it gives applicants an added edge, helping them stand out and allowing us to recruit the best talent."
Athar Abidi, social media manager at the British Heart Foundation, acknowledges the advancements LinkedIn has made but is more circumspect about to move forward with the platform.
"LinkedIn has certainly learnt from other platforms in recent years, and updated their newsfeed with an improved ability to surface more interesting and relevant content for their users," he says.
"With this in mind, we intend to develop a revised LinkedIn content strategy for our professional audience this year. Video is becoming central to how we communicate our charitable activities to our varied audiences, so we look forward to trying out this new functionality when the time comes."