LinkedIn is the largest professional social network with 347 million reported users – over half of the 600 million professionals in the world. Perhaps surprisingly it is also currently the third fastest growing social network. It is however overlooked by many #eventprofs in their marketing and social media strategy. This post considers how Event Professionals, content marketers and bloggers can get the most out of the platform.
How is the LinkedIn Audience Different to Other Networks?
There are 187 million monthly unique visits to LinkedIn and 40% of users check the site daily.
41% of millionaires use LinkedIn, however the site isn’t just used by CEOs and Senior Executives, 13% of Millennials (15-34 year olds) are on LinkedIn too.
LinkedIn is a great way to share your content with a wider audience you wouldn't reach any other way. And as you will probably be connected to past and current clients through your profile it is a great reminder to others that you are ready and willing to discuss their next project!
59% of LinkedIn users don’t visit Twitter, which is often the social media platform of choice for #eventprofs, content marketers and bloggers to share content. So by posting to LinkedIn you are potentially expanding your content to a brand new audience.
How Can You Share Via LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is the number one social referral source for driving traffic to corporate websites. A survey of LinkedIn members found that LinkedIn is considered the most effective social network for delivering B2B content.
B2C Marketers are also discovering LinkedIn though with 51% acquiring a customer through the platform in 2013.
There are a number of ways to share your content publicly on LinkedIn:
• via a personal status update (a single status update reaches 20% of your followers)
• on a company page
• by posting directly to Pulse (the integrated LinkedIn blogging platform) or
• by posting in a group.
Many bloggers have their blog configured to automatically publish their latest post to LinkedIn, alongside the other social networks. This pushes out a status update to their connections on the platform.
Some social media management platforms also now enable you to post to LinkedIn as a personal status update or to your company page.
This post is going to focus primarily on how Event Planners can get the most from sharing within LinkedIn groups, but the other options should also be explored.
However you choose to share your content on LinkedIn we recommend that you complete your profile fully first of all with relevant professional information, professional photo and links to your blog, etc to maximise your exposure.
There are over 2.1 million LinkedIn Groups and a staggering 8k new groups are created weekly. You can find a group for every professional niche and interest. It is a useful way to research the audience for your forthcoming events during the early planning stages. What are people most interested in? Who are the influencers in this field?
There are many fantastic LinkedIn Groups for Event Managers to join. The largest by far is the Event Planning and Event Management group with over 250k members and lots of fantastic discussion. There are also various subgroups under this umbrella including:
- Social Media and Event Technology for Event Planners and Meeting Planners
- Sales & Marketing Tips for Event Planners, Meeting Planners and Event Managers and
- Career Advice for Event Planning and Management.
The average member joins 7 groups. LinkedIn Members can join up to 50 groups at a time and subgroups do not count towards this limit.
200 conversations per minute occur in LinkedIn Groups and they can be a source of valuable and ground breaking content. However only 4% of US internet users have shared blog posts they have enjoyed to LinkedIn and there is definitely room for valued active contributors.
The first step is to identify which groups are most of interest and most valuable to you. It is better to focus on a couple of key groups initially to avoid spreading yourself too thinly.
The most important thing is to make sure you are posting to the right group and within the group rules and guidelines. The rules can be found by clicking the cog symbol in the top right of any group, which brings up the group information and settings. You can then select the Group Profile, Group Rules and Group Statistics.
If you post content in the wrong place or against the group rules you will probably not see it published at all, so it is important to get it right.
It is always worthwhile having a look around when you join a new group to get a feel for the conversations and content shared before jumping in and posting something.
Share Quality Content
LinkedIn members are career minded, often seeking to do their job better and hungry for professional input. 6 out of 10 users are interested in industry insights, which many Event Professionals are in a perfect position to give!
Some groups do not allow blog posts to be shared so don’t post links to blogs in these groups, otherwise you will be banned. Luckily not many of the event management LinkedIn Groups are that strict and bloggers and links to quality blog posts are mostly welcomed.
In all groups you must ensure the item you are sharing isn't promotional otherwise it will not gain approval. On the whole a post needs to give quality content or advice, if it overtly promotes or references your product and services outright it will more than likely be viewed as spam.
A blog post that is topical or influences the way people think about something or educates to a higher level is ideal for posting in a LinkedIn Group and if you are lucky will attract lots of views and comments on the discussion thread.
You are also welcome to post questions and the LinkedIn community is often happy to help or to share their thoughts and experiences. LinkedIn Groups can be your professional support and mentoring network!
Another group that many Event Managers find really useful is the I am Looking For... Event Supplier & Venue Requests, Recommendations & Suggestions. This is a gold mine of questions and valuable advice within a member moderated environment.
Don’t Overdo It
It is best to post little and often; don’t flood the group with content. I would recommend one post per week per relevant group when sharing content from your own blog. You may also want to share other interesting content from other sites or bloggers to keep a balanced contribution and of course asking thought provoking questions and starting interesting discussions is very welcome.
The Perfect Post
So what does the ideal post look like when contributing to a LinkedIn group?
You should include a short but powerful title or question, which is written in the top box (where it says: start a discussion or share something with the group…). This must be no more than 200 characters and will appear in bold to introduce your post.
The title written in the top box should be different from the link title otherwise LinkedIn will not generate a heading for it.
In the box underneath you can then ‘Add more details…(optional)’ This box appears when the title box is completed and expands to accommodate your text.
When you post a link in either box it will automatically generate a brief overview of the picture and page it is linking to. If you don’t want to include this for any reason just cross the preview box which appears underneath.
You want to ensure that content you are posting gets read and hopefully commented on so that it keeps showing in the most popular tab. It is best practice to do one or more of the following to encourage this:
• Include a great title
• Introduce your post
• Ask a question
• Give a reason to read it
• Highlight a key fact
Avoid using capital letters or hashtags in a LinkedIn post as it looks spammy.
Success in terms of connections, clicks and sales happen on LinkedIn but this is done by developing longer term relationships and gaining credibility and trust, rather than a hard sell. Do not include promotional content such as company name, contact details or sales talk either as this will be deleted from the queue by Group Managers and/or flagged as spam by members and automatically removed.
How to Get Maximum Impact
LinkedIn is busiest morning to midday, Monday to Friday. Posting during business hours is definitely recommended. Some guidance suggests that the best time to post to LinkedIn for engagement is Tuesdays between 10 and 11 am Eastern Time.
When you post be ready to reply promptly to comments and to take responsibility for flagging any spam or inappropriate comments which appear on the thread.
Don’t just post your own content and run! Contribute to the group – comment on other discussions, share other interesting content from other sites/blogs and be seen as a thought leader.
Currently you can earn a ‘Top Contributor’ badge from LinkedIn if you are an active contributor to a group (posting and commenting). If you achieve this your profile views are likely to rocket as a result. I understand however that this perk will be removed as the next LinkedIn updates are rolled out so you may not have long left to benefit from this.
Consider posting to a relevant sub group rather than just been focused on the supergroup if your content fits better there. Don’t think that posting to a sub group or a group with a relatively small amount of members is not worthwhile. This is often a great way to get your content to the people that are most interested and as there is probably less traffic approved within the group it will stay on the top page for longer, rather than getting pushed down from the top spot quickly which can happen quickly in larger and really active groups.
LinkedIn provides a really valuable, hungry audience and source of traffic which event professionals, content marketers and event bloggers should take advantage of, however it is often overlooked.
As with any social network it needs time and effort but in terms of your personal connections and click throughs to your content if you follow the guidance in this post you should definitely see results.
I hope this post has encouraged you to actively participate in relevant LinkedIn Groups and we would love to know the outcome of your endeavours.
Are you an active user of LinkedIn? How does it compare to the other social networks? Have you seen good results from sharing content, questions and blog posts via the platform? We would love to hear your tips and strategy in the comments below.