I was recently asked to guest blog for Evvent on a topic of relevance for event professionals. This article (also available on the Evvnt website) explores how to leverage LinkedIn Groups for promoting an event.
The beauty and simplicity of using LinkedIn Groups means you can apply these principles for products outside of the events world, too.
With content marketing more important than ever and social media changing the way customers behave, events marketing today is about positioning yourself as the thought leaders in your space.
You can do this through good quality, fresh content and making sure you are found when your customers actively seek out the information you have to help them. In fact, 83% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute their content, making it the top channel for content distribution (Source: Top Rank Blog).
So much opportunty. Where on earth does one begin?
Think of it as taking yourself a few steps back before the sell. You’ll thank yourself later (if you’re a time traveller).
Promoting your event via a LinkedIn Group is a great way to start. With 259 million users in more than 200 countries and territories worth, how to do ensure you go about leveraging those networking opportunities the right way?
Here are 6 top tips to do just that.
1. Getting started
Weigh up whether it is worth utilising LinkedIn Groups for your event. It’s much easier to justify investing efforts if you can put values next to measurables. So consider whether it supports your overall strategy and set some objectives from the get-go.
2. Create the group
If you haven’t already, create a group for your event. This is particularly useful for new events to help build brand awareness and credibility.
Stepping away from an event mind frame when doing this will bring you closer to those you want to reach. How? By making sure the name is relevant you will improve your searchability in LinkedIn and relevance to your audience.
For example, if your event is called ‘PROMob’ and it is targeted towards mobile marketing professionals in e-commerce, it is better give the group and its description a name that reflect this and will attract your target audience. An example would be ‘Mobile Marketing e-Commerce Group’. SEO friendly keywords = bonus points!
2. Build your members
One of the best places to start building your members is inviting your current database contacts to join. Here is a useful tutorial on How to send invites to join a LinkedIn Group (thanks LinkedIn!).
Send your friendlies such as current and past delegates, media partners, speakers and sponsors the link to join your group, too. For the friendlies that are big influencers, encourage their participation in LinkedIn discussions.
Remember to list the benefits of joining the group and how it is relevant to your audience. One example could be using the ‘Richard Branson’ equivalent of your industry: “Participate in exclusive debates from industry leaders such as X, X and X“.
Promote your LinkedIn group as part of an integrated marketing campaign. Include the LinkedIn logo and group url on your website, press releases, brochures, e-mails, banners and e-mail signatures. Do the same for any external partners you work with.
Aim to post around 70% on content, and 30% on the event itself. By building credibility and demonstrating your knowledge about the industry, you’ll represent a brand that people can expect good quality information from, and therefore will be more likely to invest in your event.
Ideas for content include:
- Industry topics
- Debates and themes linked into your event agenda
- Who’s speaking / attending / discounts / link to agenda / link to registration
Include trackable URLs to your website and landing pages to drive traffic, generate leads and encourage registrations. Google Analytics is a great tool to help you spot what kind of posts create spikes in traffic – keep an eye on what works and drop what doesn’t so you can make the best use of your time with LinkedIn groups.
4. Share your content in relevant, related groups
You can share the discussions and announcements you start in your own event group with other relevant groups you are a member of. The quickest and simplest way to do this is to write this as a status update on your own profile – make sure you include a url to your event website otherwise this won’t work – and click ‘share’.
5. Make your Group an Open Group
This enables prospective members to take a peek at the conversations going on. It also helps with boost your SEO ranking with discussions picked up by Google. For more information-sensitive or exclusive groups, you may want to keep them ‘Members-Only’.
6. Direct e-mails
Sending e-mails to your group members is useful for bridging a gap in data or your promotional schedule during the weeks you are not e-mailing your internal database.
A particularly useful tactic is to reward people for being a member of your group by offering a free gift in the form of a link to a white paper (which in turn drives traffic to your website), or 10% discount on a delegate pass.
Be clear and specific with your copy. This is even more important for groups with a large membership. For example, if you are offering £100 discount on the price of a delegate pass for a Chief Procurement Officer to attend a Procurement event, you need to make these terms explicit to avoid any confusion and manage expectations from suppliers in the space who typically pay a premium to attend.
Be patient – it can take several days or weeks for you to start seeing tangible results so give yourself enough time out from the event to start your LinkedIn group activities.
Revisit point 1 by asking yourself if what you’re doing supports the overall objective. I look forward hearing how your LinkedIn Group marketing goes!
I love to receive feedback so please leave any questions or comments below.