Through the years, LinkedIn has become much more than a career prospecting tool. It has been reported as the most checked social media application among working professionals, and it has catapulted into a powerhouse platform for companies to connect with professional audiences. Along with access to a huge network of contacts, LinkedIn allows brands to create categorized communities, called Groups, to spark industry discussions and build brand awareness. Here’s how to make the most of the tool…
Create Your Group
LinkedIn Groups provide the perfect online space for linking up your event participants pre- and post-show to facilitate an ongoing dialogue. Creating a group is simple: Select a group name, add a relevant logo, use keywords and industry terms within the searchable summary and include any other information in the full description. Typically, we suggest starting the group with the auto-join function so that anyone can join, and switching to require approval on requests only if you feel you’re attracting an irrelevant audience.
Build Your Group
Include the LinkedIn button on your website and all other marketing collateral. Occasionally mention the group through your personal LinkedIn Updates and utilize LinkedIn Invitations to send your industry connections a personal invite. Or, upload an email list you’re already in touch with, inviting them directly through LinkedIn, to utilize multi-touch messaging.
Keep group members returning by posting regular updates and promoting an active conversation! Integrate your entire communications plan into your content calendar to create a sense of involvement and relevancy. Share newsworthy information, ask questions and link to industry articles and reports to provoke conversations. As often as possible, drive traffic back to your website with persuasive calls to action, press releases or information you’ve built into a news section or blog. Most importantly, build trust, interest and involvement with a balanced content calendar: Provide quality, educational information just as often (if not more often!) as promotional updates about your event.
Engage Group Members
Unlike other social platforms, when enabled in group settings, your members can start their own threads that are visible to everyone. Foster and encourage quality relationships by commenting, liking and responding to your members’ discussions. Keep the conversations alive, and members will begin to appreciate the connections and information they receive from your brand. This positive, first-hand experience will ensure them that your events will promise the same!
Every group update not only aggregates into the wall, but to each person’s personal network and newsfeeds. Utilize the power of decentralization and strategically leverage your entire team’s networks and linking power. As you work through your campaign and meet industry contacts, link up! Build co-content strategies into your media and sponsor partnerships. Invite speakers, media partners and exhibitors to join the discussions on LinkedIn – and build excitement for your event a year, a month or weeks ahead of the actual meeting time!
Leverage Your Audience Further
You also have the capability to reach out to your members with a LinkedIn Announcement – which gets pushed both to the group wall and sent directly to your recipients via e-mail. Use Announcements to remind your community of pertinent things they may miss through the discussion thread. For example, let them know that early-bird registration is ending, promote a membership offer or provide a unique savings code just for them. LinkedIn Announcements are also a noticeable way to invite your community to join your email list so that they remain regularly in-the-know!