LinkedIn is an often-underrated platform for creating and promoting events. This may be partially because more visual and social platforms like Instagram and Facebook have seemingly cornered the market on events. But because LinkedIn facilitates branding, recruiting, networking, and lead generation across industries, it connects users with more industry-specific professional niches. For this reason, it’s an ideal platform to promote a conference, networking event, or product launch.
That sounds great, but how does one actually go about promoting an event on LinkedIn? Thanks to today’s technology, creating a strategy that promotes LinkedIn events across multiple platforms is entirely possible. And we’ve got some of the best ways to do it.
1. Update Your Status
The first step is that simple. Like Facebook, LinkedIn lets users post brief status updates whenever they choose. Include a memorable infographic on the larger size and add a link to the event on your website, where more detailed information can be found. If your website also has videography from past events or behind-the-scenes, “making the event” clips, it adds even more interest. Recent studies show that users are more likely to engage with videos than ordinary status updates, and even more likely to interact with live content. So if you can include links to videography or even live stream BTS moments, people are more likely to engage with and remember your event as it approaches.
You can also include relevant industry news in your status update. This not only catches interest but can serve as a call to action. For example, if your event is a conference promotes a new technology or teaches professionals how to use it, linking it to industry news can remind people of its relevance to them.
Since users usually log in during work hours, posting on LinkedIn is better during work hours. According to Huffington post, the best time to post is from Tuesday through Thursday during work hours. On Tuesdays, the best time is specifically between 10 and 11 a.m. The worst time to post? Between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. But also consider the nature of your event. If it’s a business networking event, it makes sense to post during work hours. But if it’s a hobbyist or entertainment event, it may make more sense to post when people are on their way home from work or on the weekends.
As with other social media channels, it’s a good idea to post your event via a status update about once per day. For company pages, avoid posting more than once per day, and posting three times per week is probably enough. The same goes with LinkedIn groups. Obviously, repeating too much makes your event clogs feeds, can look like spam, and may turn off people who were originally interested.
But when you do post, make sure your content is visually memorable and thought-provoking. Remember, LinkedIn is not a highly visual platform, but you can use your creative license to create eye-catching content that brings your message to life. However, it’s not all about the visuals- especially on LinkedIn. One of the reasons Instagram is such a successful platform for networking despite its lack of business-oriented design is that it stimulates interaction. The visuals catch the eye, but the accompanying captions connect people around the world through shared interests and life experiences. People from similar and different niches, lifestyles, and cultures connect over personal and world issues. They share different perspectives, learn new ways of thinking, and build long-term relationships over the internet.
Although LinkedIn has more of a professional focus than a personal one, your content should spark thought-provoking industry discussions about relevant topics. That’s where longer articles come in. LinkedIn gives you the option to post articles directly to the site. This gives you the opportunity to further describe your event and share content and/or testimonials from previous events.
Think about it: What topics are most relevant to your industry right now? Choose one of those and write an engaging piece that asks questions and encourages interaction. Just don’t be too abstract- choose topics that are tangible and well-defined, ask clear questions, and pose problems that need solutions. Doing this broadens your network and gives your brand character, substance, and relevance.
2. Send or Sponsor a Company Status Update
If you’ve grown a moderate to large group of company followers, sending out a company status update about your event reaches a lot of people. To make it easier for followers to sign up, you can add a copy of your registration brochure to the update. Although LinkedIn is free, it does give you paid options to optimize its features. In this case, it may be smart to pay for sponsor the company update. This way, it reaches more targeted audiences.
Investing in ads is another way to ensure that your posts and statuses- including those related to your event- reach a variety of niche audiences. When you sponsor posts and statuses on LinkedIn, it shows up directly in the feeds of specific target audiences. You can also place an update at the top of company feed, and it will remain there.
If you have a company blog, include a shortened URL to a recent post in your company status update. This also works with relevant posts from other blogs that you really enjoyed. It doesn’t always have to be your content- you can share other related industry news, articles, and blogs as well. To really drive home your message, try prefacing the link with a word of advice. This should be the main message that you want to convey to your audience. You can also include a link to a YouTube or other interesting video in your company status update.
Sharing recent company accomplishments can also add interest and relevance to your event. For example, if you’ve recently generated several new leads, briefly list them. Then follow that up by saying something like, “Here’s how you can do the same”. You get the gist.
Because it’s most advantageous to connect with audiences over multiple social media channels, you should also invite users to connect with you on Twitter, Facebook, or even Instagram. Which channels are most important? It depends on your content and where your audience spends the most time. For example, Twitter is primarily focused on news and media, so if you’re a webzine, press company, or very media-focused, it’s your most important channel.
This almost goes without saying, but it’s a useful reminder. Ask your sponsors, partners, speakers, or other key players to share your event with their LinkedIn network.
3. Send Direct Messages
LinkedIn get 50 connections per single direct message. This gives you the opportunity to connect directly with individuals- and personalize each message based on their shared interests. These days, personalization means sharing content that is specifically relevant to the recipient.
Generally speaking, the title should contain your purpose- which in this case, is your event. Make sure your message’s title conveys the kind of event you are hosting. Usually just the title of the event is enough to put in the title line. Then open with a brief, powerful statement about who you are and why you’re having this event. Right away, that gives recipients a clear idea of what your event is all about and if it will be beneficial to them.
Remember, people are time-crunched, so don’t launch into a lengthy monologue or abstract ideas about why you formed your event or what you hope to accomplish. Single out your top purpose or purposes, and convey their meaning powerfully with strong, memorable statements. If there’s something different and unique about the way you’re meeting attendees’ needs, make that part of your message. For example, let’s say you’re hosting a workshop on building networking skills for people in a specific industry. Most networking events focus on extroverted networking skills, but your event also offers strategies that draw from the strengths of introversion- and make introverts more comfortable in action. In this case, you’ll want to get that message out loud and clear. Your message title could be something like, “Finally: an event that teaches practical networking skills to everyone, including you”. Then in the first sentence, explain why your event will be benefit introverts, extroverts, and everyone in between.
That’s obviously just one example of how to compel people to read your direct messages instead of just treating them like spam. And direct messages are also a great way to build your network over time.
4. Talk About Your Event in LinkedIn Groups
Are you part of a LinkedIn group related to your industry or event? If so, you can likely share your event with everyone in that group at the same time. (The exception would be groups that don’t allow blatant promotion or ads. If this is the case, you can usually find that information under the group’s rules). Posting to a group is an easy way to get your message out to a target audience- or possibly even more than one target audience. Just make sure to personalize your message to that group. Ask yourself: Which aspects of my event would this group of people be most interested in/benefit the most from? Your goal is to cater to the niche you want to develop.
You can also create a group dedicated to your event or niche as a whole. You’ll want to invite all your key players to join, including sponsors, partners, speakers, and possibly even key vendors, such as entertainers. This way, attendees get the opportunity to interact with key players at your event before it happens. The more people connect with each other before the event, the more clear their goals are when they attend. Attendees may even make specific contacts prior to your event. When this happens, they don’t have to waste the time it would have taken to be introduced to each other- they can get straight to the point, having already established introductions in your group.
Of course, this doesn’t always happen so seamlessly, and the majority of your attendees probably won’t be in your LinkedIn group. But even when they don’t directly facilitate networking, groups are a great way to let attendees know who else will be at your event. Professionals in your niche could potentially learn about useful contacts, favorite vendors, and speakers they want to engage with or learn from. And LinkedIn groups are an easy way to spread that information quickly- and get people talking.
Unlike the registration process, conversations in groups flow naturally. People don’t feel as if they’re put in the spotlight- it’s a social setting, so they casually share their thoughts, opinions, and ideas with other group members.
The most useful benefit for you? You’re privy to who and what your attendees are discussing, and you can use that information to personalize the event for them. Tweaking your event to feature more of the topics your group expresses interest in can go a long way toward success. Moreover, the attendees in your group will feel listened to. They’ll know you took the time to interact with them and give them space to interact with each other in order to meet their needs to the best of your ability.
5. Headline Your Event
Usually, your headline contains keywords that maximize your visibility as a company or professional. But visibility is also key when it comes to your event, so don’t miss the opportunity to include a teaser for it in your headline. You should do this up to a month prior to your event, but usually no earlier than that.
Then go on to include the details of your event in the Summary section, where users learn more about you. Provide the registration website as well as your own. The Summary section is a great place to utilize storytelling to add interest to your event. Briefly describe who you are, what you do, and why you are hosting this event. Then you can make a few concise, powerful statements about what inspired you to create it, and how it meets attendees’ needs in a way that is better or unique. Storytelling is a skill that most people build over time, but this is the basic framework for it. If you tap into your passion and use your creativity to tell the story of your event, you’ll essentially bring it to life for users who visit your profile page.