Knight Foundation LinkedIn strategic plan synopsis

Current Status of Knight Foundation LinkedIn Presence:


Company Page:

Likes: 1,985 (as of July 17)

Employees: 99 (Listed on LinkedIn)


  • Arts not listed under specialities
  • No current job listings
  • posts seem to be links to blog posts and press releases with brief description
  • posts seem to be inconsistent with how links to stories physically appear on the page

Group Page:

Members: 17


  • “People also explored” section notes mainly Miami organizations
  • currently marked as a “private” group
  • Andrew Sherry is the current owner of the group.  Robertson Adams, Anusha Alikhan, Meredith Hector, and Elizabeth Tilis are listed as managers
  • Another group exists with the word “The” in the beginning, only 1 member

Search “People used to work at Knight” generates 159 hits

Options and Limitations for LinkedIn:

Company Page:

  • Follower list does not prioritize connection level (first, second, third).  This allows for  more serendipitous exposure to prominent members of the network where current connections might not exist.  Prominent members with large connections bubble up to the top, suggesting the biggest contributors and thought leaders are part of that network.  These people would be the ideal connections to make with people more interested in joining Knight’s press announcements and public conversations.  If Knight wants its own staff members to garner the reputation of being a thought leader, it is important their LinkedIn activity within the Knight company page is frequent enough to bubble them to the top of the member list.
  • All connections listed on right side widget.  This gives members a better sense of familiarity with their relationship to the group.  While the main member list shows the most prominent and engaged members, this widget shows members of the group who are connected with the user.  It allows the user to see both the most engaged users as well as the users with the closest personal ties.


  • LinkedIn self-proclaimed statistic: active group participants received 4x more profile views
  • A vast majority of groups are open and do not need people to verify membership
  • Group members can be listed as “top contributor”
  • Manager’s Choice posts bubble to the top in the form of a cycling banner
  • Difference between “promotion” and “job” are unclear
    • job might be with the the actual group/company
    • promotion might be a member promoting an opportunity to other group members
  • Order of member list prioritized by:
    • 1-direct connection (first, second third).  This gives precedence to proximity than prominence.
    • 2-prominent role in group/organization


  • A recommendation of news and posts of content relevant to the chosen interest of the particular user
  • Users can also follow particular InFluencers, or people who are considered industry experts
  • InFluencer content displayed as posts and activity
    • Posts appear as extended content much like a blog
    • activity appears more like status updates or photo posts
  • Pulse Content stems from three sources:
    • channels
    • InFluencers
    • Publishers
  • InFluencers can only be invited by LinkedIn
    • need to be engaging, prolific and thoughtful
  • Long-form publishing not available to everyone
    • tool will be available to everyone soon

Goal: to establish Knight staff as thought leaders in LinkedIn community


  • LinkedIn’s InFluencers contribute professional advice and insight to circulate throughout LinkedIn’s entire network.  Here lies one of the greatest opportunities for Knight, but many challenges accompany this possibility.  LinkedIn only allows for a certain amount (about 500) of industry leaders to serve as InFluencers.  These individuals, who have already been publishing on LinkedIn’s publishing platform, apply to become an InFluencer.  LinkedIn’s selection for InFluencers is conducted internally without much transparency as to the selection criteria.  The problem is that publishing through LinkedIn must also be approved.  These serve as a series of filters that mandate a very long, but very organic process for finding real industry leaders.
  • Active group participants receive 4x more highlighted exposure.  This is perhaps the best way for Knight to expand its collective influence by focusing on individual efforts.  There are thousands of open groups on LinkedIn, many of which are very relevant to Knight’s initiatives.  If Knight staff began joining both national and local groups pertaining to their particular area of interest/expertise and began beginning and contributing to discussions, those individuals will bubble up to the top of LinkedIn’s featured member listing.  The exposure might generate more referrals to Knight content and will begin generating significant metrics for LinkedIn’s user analytics.
  • More connections will lead to more exposure in group listings.  Group members are listed by relevance to the particular user.  All group members who share a direct connection with the user will appear before all users with a second connection and so forth.  If staff from Knight have expansive networks with many connections in LinkedIn, it is more likely they will appear towards the top of group lists.  Such results could garner a stronger perception of top contributor and thought leader for the group.
  • Publishing feature is relatively easy to access.  The publishing feature essentially functions like a simple blog formatting system while posts are limited to a text box and a place to copy and paste a hyperlink.  Publishing will allow Knight to create advice for grantees, people interested in the Knight initiatives or the general public.  The key is to partake is frequent group discussions to gain access to publishing.
  • Discussion involvement should start small then expand.  In order to keep the experiment genuine, it is recommended one person from each program be designated to begin conversations within ideal groups.  The person who first embraces this strategy should be someone who already has a strong base of connections, the time to commit to engaging and discussion and a preexisting interest in the platform and strategy.  If the strategy proves to be successful, more people can begin to join in the strategy.
  • Posts through publishing will give more flexibility and exclusive dialogue to LinkedIn branch.  Although Knight wants to keep consistent messaging throughout all social media platforms, the way each particular platform is designed generates unique audiences within each platform.  The Knight audience on Twitter, Facebook and the Knight Blog are interested in different things and need different strategies for engagement.  The same can be said for LinkedIn.  Publishing will allow Knight to create unique insights and advice provided by Knight staff members themselves.  It will give more personality to Knight and its respective staff members on LinkedIn, and it will allow Knight to produce very specific content pieces and discussion forums.

Goal: create a space for JMI program to share thoughts and ideas

  • JMI group created under Knight Foundation company page.  This will allow for long-term consistency if the strategy expands to more programs.  It will also give room for an easier transition of account managers.  As communication team members come and go at Knight, it is important to have a clear policy about what team members are given access to the LinkedIn page.
  • JMI group should be open.  Knight is about new ideas and fostering engagement, so a LinkedIn group that is closed contradicts those values.  There are so many groups on LinkedIn that it would be a surprise if the JMI group is saturated with users who do not fit the group’s purpose.  If the group expands its user base to the point it might be getting too large, only then should exclusion or member verification be considered.
  • The JMI group will be a place for current, former, and prospective grantees.  Any LinkedIn user that finds personal and communal interest in the JMI initiative should be allowed to join.
  • LinkedIn participation should be written into the language of JMI grant requirements.  In order to foster a public discussion beyond account posts from Knight, there should be stipulation for JMI grantees that they join this group and generate at least one discussion feed.  It is not a burdensome request, it is easy for Knight to keep track of, and it gives grantees the chance to provide insight and learning points from their own experiences.

Other Insights and Suggestions


  • Posts on company page formatted differently.  Some posts appear as text and a larger picture beneath the text.  The short link for the story is located at the end of the text.  Other posts appear as text with the short link at the end, but the link is displayed again under the text as a thumbnail and story intro.  If the goal is to redirect people to further read about the release, perhaps formatting all posts as the former will open more clicking space, which might lead to a higher rate of visits.
  • Low usage of Groups page.  It looks like this serves more of an internal function considering its private.  Nonetheless, it looks like there are more people at Knight who have LinkedIn accounts that could be a part of the group.  If this acts as a private Knight alumni page, it might be helpful to check the “people who used to work at Knight Foundation” result that generates 159 results.
  • LinkedIn provides essentially three tiers of publishing.
  • The first tier is the level all users have access to.  At this level, the extent to publishing merely exists as posting updates and sharing links, much like Facebook’s posting interface.
  • The second tier is an actual blog-like publishing platform that operates directly through LinkedIn.  Users can write longer content and include images and links.  Users must qualify for access to this, however.  Users must send in a request for publishing access.  Once LinkedIn provides access (which is easy to get), users can now publish.
  • The third tier is the most difficult to reach, and this is the Influencer status.  Influences are capped at around 500 of LinkedIn’s entire network.  These users are industry leaders with hundreds of connections who have been publishing content through LinkedIn’s platform for awhile.  LinkedIn reaches out to individuals they want to become Influencers.  It will take a lot of time and effort devoted to publishing and partaking in organic conversations on LinkedIn.
  • LinkedIn currently in the works to provide publishing to everyone.  LinkedIn is in the process of possibly allowing access to publishing to everyone with a LinkedIn account.  While this would be great for all staff of Knight to gain access to publishing without any effort, it will also open the door for a very saturated platform where anyone can publish advice.  The question then becomes whether it would be more beneficial to act now and get a jump start on the journey to InFluencer status or wait until the publishing access is provided to everyone.  I would personally suggest the first option mainly because a stronger and more natural network will develop coincided with the efforts to move up into more established publishing rights.


Next Step:


  • Discover desirable groups to enter for JMI


    1. Grist
    2. Columbia Journalism School
    3. FOIA (Freedom of Information Specialists)
    4. Media Professionals Worldwide
    5. Digital Marketing
    6. Public Radio
    7. Future Trends
    8. Walter Cronkite ASU alumni
    9. MIT Media Lab alumni
    10. Harvard Business Review – reader’s forum
  1. Discover desirable groups to enter for CNI
    1. Project for Public Spaces
    2. New Cities Foundation
    3. Cities Alliance
    4. Urban Think Tank
    5. Tech Cocktail
    6. Code for America
  2. Discover desirable groups to enter for makers/prototypes
    1. Maker
    2. TechShop
    3. Amateur and Hobby Robot Builders
  3. Discover how other foundations leverage LinkedIn
  4. Coordinate with program directors to discover ideal groups to enter