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LinkedIn events have been gone for a year but the platform continues to grow and remains a great source for finding an audience.
So, it’s almost a year since LinkedIn shut its events app – have you missed it?
The app allowed organisers to post details of an event, which could then be searched for. Delegates could highlight themselves as attending, and networking could begin.
Despite this, and many other changes, LinkedIn continues to grow. With one new member every two seconds – and user numbers in the UK now exceeding 10 million – its importance as a business tool is ever increasing.
So, apart from being present with a personal profile and a company page, how can event organisers make best use of this tool?
Connecting on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a social networking tool, so making connections is the first answer. Searching for and adding existing contacts, and getting into the habit of adding new connections after every meeting is a must.
Using the status update box is now the best way to stay front of mind. Just one or two updates a week will ensure you appear in the timeline every time a user in your network signs in.
As well as sharing information, LinkedIn can provide hugely valuable insight into your customers and prospects. There are useful things your LinkedIn homepage can tell you.
LinkedIn has over 1.5 million groups. I’ve identified 70 that are actively targeted at event planners and event organisers in the UK. As a LinkedIn user, you can participate in up to 52 groups.
It’s unlikely that you’ll want to engage in discussion solely with fellow event planners and organisers, but the following example can be applied to any industry sector.
Earlier this year I was involved in the marketing of a venue showcase event. The target audience was event planners and organisers within a 25 mile radius of the venues being showcased.
While an existing customer or prospect database was available for emails, and local press could be utilised for advertising, a key objective for the event marketing activity was to increase the database.
After thorough research, we compiled the aforementioned list of groups relevant to event planners and organisers.
There were too many groups to work with efficiently. We needed to refine much, much further.
By joining each group we could enable LinkedIn’s advanced search facility to identify how many group members lived within our selected 25 mile radius.
Group-by-group we researched and ranked to achieve a manageable list of groups where members had the best fit with our criteria.
We also assessed how active the groups were, and the rules for posting new discussions.
As the event drew nearer, we actively participated in the selected groups – in discussions started by others, and by initiating our own discussions. (Rather than blatantly promoting our own event, we asked questions to raise awareness of our presence.)
On this occasion we decided against creating a group specifically for the event, though many event organisers do this and manage it very successfully.
As well as using the Advanced Search tool to refine groups, the fields available also allow you to search for individuals against various criteria.
In the example above, we searched for individuals who listed their industry as ‘events services’ or ‘hospitality’ within a 25 mile radius.
We looked at the profiles of the individuals who appeared in the search results, and sent individual invitations to the event, using contact details if these were available, or LinkedIn’s InMail service (available with an upgraded account) if not.
Our journey didn’t end there – we still participate in relevant LinkedIn group discussions, and research individuals who fit the target audience criteria. I hope these tips will help you do the same.
This is a guest post written by Luan Wise, a Chartered Marketer with 12+ years experience both agency and client-side. Luan has worked for clients of all sizes, from household names such as Hilton and University of Cambridge to the kind of companies that are big in their field but unknown to the wider world. Luan specialises in business-to-business marketing, which includes supporting suppliers, facilities and organisers of conferences and events. Submit your guest post here.
Photo by The SeaFarer.