by Jessi Minneci | Northstar Meetings Group
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO MARKET YOURSELF, YOUR BRAND AND YOUR EVENTS ON LINKEDIN.
Since its official launch in 2003, LinkedIn has become the largest career-networking platform in the game, with more than 645 million members (165 million in the U.S.) spread over 200 countries. The site functions as an online directory of individual professionals and organizations, and assists in facilitating connections and networking.
LinkedIn provides event professionals with great opportunities for reaching large audiences, whether attendees, colleagues, meeting partners, suppliers, vendors, potential speakers/talent for events, hotel professionals and/or the general population -- each of which you can interact with via LinkedIn Connections.
Social sharing on the platform allows you to distribute content and establishing yourself as a thought leader. In fact, according to research by Buffer, a social media management platform, LinkedIn is the number one channel for distributing B2B content. In a survey of a variety of B2B marketers, 94 percent of respondents reported marketing through LinkedIn (followed by Twitter at 89 percent, then Facebook and YouTube at 77 percent each). More than 80 percent also designate LinkedIn as the most effective social platform for B2B lead generation.
We take a deep dive into LinkedIn, providing usage tips that will help meeting planners get the most out of this social forum.
OPTIMIZE YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE
To achieve status as an expert, thought leader, change maker or information provider on LinkedIn, you must first be discoverable. The social media platform reports that profiles with complete information get 30 percent more views. They provide a "best practices" guide to help ensure users create a robust, trustworthy and complete profile.
EXPAND YOUR HEADLINE:
The LinkedIn headline is a user's 120-character hook to help people reach you when conducting a search. The goal is to be descriptive, informative and enticing enough that the searcher will decide to click on your profile (and not their competitors').
ADD A SUMMARY:
LinkedIn imposes a 2,000-character limit for its summary section, and you should make the most of it. The company recommends writing three to five short paragraphs and leaving plenty of white space, so readers' eyes don't glaze over after landing on your page. The company also suggests using short and tight sentences, avoiding jargon, writing in the first person and using keywords. Don't be afraid to inject some personality into a profile summary but steer clear of anything unprofessional or controversial.
Also keep in mind that your profile summary should not be a regurgitation of your resume. According to LinkedIn Business, "Your summary is the one place to define yourself in your own words, free of start dates and titles. Whether you use it to put career choices in context, highlight your biggest achievements, or show off your personality, the summary is your chance to put your best self out there. It strengthens your first impression in a way no other profile section can." LinkedIn Business also provides a guide on what should be communicated in an effective profile summary.
Additional tips for optimizing your LinkedIn profile include the following:
- Add a professional picture to your page.
- Request recommendations from clients, colleagues and affiliates.
- Use skill endorsements to highlight your expertise.
- List past workplaces and experiences relevant to your current position.
- Customize your profile URL to reflect your professional, searchable name.
- Share content to increase professional credibility and thought leadership.
CONTENT ETIQUETTE 101
Post once per weekday on LinkedIn.
- Optimal post time is at the beginning or end of the workday.
- Post a variety of industry-related content (articles, videos, reposts, etc.)
- Keep the goal top of mind: to become a thought leader.
- Use hashtags to better reach a target audience.
There are two pathways for meeting planners to approach LinkedIn: to establish their brand, and to promote their events.
Instead of post-spamming, the optimal number of content posts sits at one per weekday and that planners should publish content on LinkedIn either at the beginning or end of the workday to garner the most visibility.
Much like on Twitter, hashtagging is a means for reaching your target audience on LinkedIn. Added to the platform in 2018, a LinkedIn hashtag is any combination of unbroken letters and numbers that follow the "#" symbol. However, it's important to keep hashtags professional and appropriate here. Though #EventProfs remains a relevant hashtag for the meetings industry, it is now too broad. The pool is deep with tagged content, often causing posts tagged only with #EventProfs to be swallowed by the massive conversation thread.
- Each post should have no more than five hashtags. Using too many could cause the LinkedIn Algorithm to mark your post as spam.
- Weave hashtags into your LinkedIn profile, especially the summary section, as they will help you become more discoverable.
- Add hashtags to your comments on other peoples' posts.
- Edit public profile settings to ensure your profile is visible to everyone. This will enable anyone who searches for a certain hashtag to find your profile and articles.
- has Follow hashtags relevant to your industry. Use LinkedIn's search mechanism to find the hashtag you're looking for, then follow the stream of that hashtag so that it populates on your feed.
- The Rule of Seven
Tagging connections and engaging them by posing a question further ensures that they will stumble upon the post directly and will be more likely to interact with it.
EVENT PROMOTION AND WORKING WITH INFLUENCERS:
If promoting an upcoming event, do your research to get familiar with the big leaguers in that event's industry, company, organization, etc. Understand your target audience and who they follow, and then emulate their interests. Leading up to the event, Start engaging with prospective attendees and influencers in that industry so that they can start to get to know you and learn more about the event.
WHAT NOT TO DO:
Keep personal ventures off LinkedIn. Refrain from sharing anything that doesn't read or resonate with your career or company. Do not use LinkedIn for sharing negativity or political opinions. Keep things professional and related to your overall purpose.
NAVIGATING LINKEDIN GROUPS
More than 30 million companies are using the platform, according to LinkedIn. With industries and professionals bound to overlap, like-minded people can create Groups, hubs that provide a "place for professionals in the same industry or with similar interests to share content, find answers, post and view jobs, make business contacts, and establish themselves as industry experts." There are more than 2.1 million LinkedIn Groups and 8,000 new groups are added weekly.
There are countless groups for meeting professionals. Here is a list of some of the most active, interesting and informative options.
Successful Meetings (a Northstar group)
International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE)
Meetings & Conventions (a Northstar group)
BizBash -- Event Planners Gather
Event Planning & Event Management
Certified Meeting Professionals
Events & Hospitality Industry Network by Cvent
Career Advice for Event Planning & Management Independent Meeting and Event Professionals Network
Sales & Marketing Tips & Strategies for Event Planners, Meeting Planners & Event Managers
PCMA Global Meetings Community
SISO -- Society of Independent Show Organizers
Event Marketing Pros
MPI -- World Education Congress
Corporate Event and Meeting Planners
USA Networking & Professional Development for Event Professionals & Meeting Planners
Social Media and Event Technology for Event Planners and Meeting Planners
Meeting Planner Professionals
USING LINKEDIN EVENTS
This past Oct. 15, the platform relaunched LinkedIn Events, a feature meeting planners can use to "seamlessly create and join professional events, invite connections, manage events, have conversations with attendees, and stay in touch online after the event ends," according to the LinkedIn blog. Yet it's not the first time LinkedIn has offered the section: First introduced in 2008, developers decided to do away with it in 2012.
LinkedIn says that it brought the tool back because, as the population continues to do more and more online, the Events hub might help boost attendance at face-to-face meetings. The core of the functionality is a thread, similar to using a hashtag, for a meeting. The event planner (the 'organizer') can plan their next gathering and manage attendees straight from the social platform. The organizer can also manage the details, posting the page:
- Event logos
- Background photos
- Name of the event
- Venue details
- Date and time
- Time zone
- Event description
- External URL
- Ticketing URL
Events can be made either public (meaning anyone can view the event and can also send the invitation to other prospective attendees), or private (only invitees or people with the event link can view). The downside to a public event, however, is that any competing entity would also be able to view the entirety of the event information, as well as the attendee list. The LinkedIn Events hub is too young to have any significant usage data to share.
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