Comments like “What a great conference!” or “I learned so much!” are great to hear after your big event, but what would really help is for your attendees to share their experiences — particularly on LinkedIn, the social media platform where fellow business colleagues, executives and thought leaders gather to network and share ideas and inspiration.
LinkedIn — more so than any other social media platform — is the perfect place to promote your next trade show, association meeting, convention or conference because it was created for users with a business mindset. And with 640 million users and counting, it’s blowing up with a 50% increase in engagement year over year. CNN Business reported that a metric that tracks how often users are coming to LinkedIn in 30 minute intervals is up about 27% from the year prior.
While Instagram seems like the natural choice for attendees to post about their conference experiences because of its photo-friendly format, your business connections are on LinkedIn. But rather than posting on your company LinkedIn page where only a portion of your followers will see it (and most of them tend to be current and former employees), leveraging individual connections is much more effective.
So how can you encourage your guests to share their wonderful experiences at your next event? By encouraging them to share their enthusiasm for it before, during and after your event.
Before your event
The first step in getting your attendees to promote your trade show, conference, convention or other event on LinkedIn is to get them talking about it weeks ahead of time. This is beneficial to you because it creates awareness for those who either don’t know about your event or encourages those who are still on the fence about attending.
But talking about your event on LinkedIn is also beneficial to the confirmed attendees because it builds anticipation and excitement and allows them to start planning how they will use their time for maximum efficiency while they are there. And for speakers, this online conversation gives them a chance to promote their panel or workshop.
Here are ways you can inspire your attendees to start talking about your event on LinkedIn:
● Connect with key conference organizers and speakers before the event by sending them personalized LinkedIn invitations.
● Include your conference hashtag along with a link to your LinkedIn page in the pre-conference communications to attendees.
● Encourage speakers to connect with other speakers on LinkedIn using a personalized connection request, which may lead to conversation about the event on LinkedIn among your speakers.
● Profile speakers in LinkedIn posts leading up to the conference by tagging them in the post and asking a question. Advise speakers to use their personal and company LinkedIn pages to ask genuine questions to their audience before their sessions. They can request suggestions on what the audience is interested in hearing about. This allows speakers to engage the crowd prior to his or her session and to tailor talking points accordingly.
● Suggest to your speakers that they prepare a draft of their talking points so they can easily turn it into long-form content for a LinkedIn article.
● Post a few times before your conference using your appointed conference hashtag. Use a variety of formats like graphics or GIFs to build excitement.
● Create an event page on Facebook promoting your next conference, and then publish a post about it on LinkedIn with a link to the event page, inviting your followers to attend. (While LinkedIn is working on a new event page function, its release date remains unknown.)
During your event
Now that you’ve promoted your upcoming event on LinkedIn and built excitement among your attendees, let’s look at what to do while the event is in progress.
As important as it is to create awareness of your trade show, convention, conference or event in advance, it’s just as important to keep up the momentum you’ve created online while the event is underway. That means continuing to inspire attendees and speakers to create engaging posts on LinkedIn while enjoying your event.
Try some of these tips to get your guests chatting online about all the great insights they’re learning, wonderful people they’re meeting, and good times they’re having:
● Go live on LinkedIn video during presentations and tag your speakers.
● Record horizontal videos and publish in real-time on your company page. Remember to follow LinkedIn best practices for publishing video and add your conference hashtags to your posts.
● Hire a photographer to get a variety of horizontal and vertical shots at the conference for you to post during the conference, tagging speakers and other attendees on LinkedIn. Take photos of guests with colleagues, speakers and workshop leaders and tag these folks in posts.
● Encourage speakers and thought leaders who are leading trainings, workshops, seminars and panels to offer a giveaway for those who leave a comment or post on LinkedIn during the conference.
● Use paid media to amplify posts during conferences from your company page on LinkedIn.
After your event
Finally, your event is over, it’s time to clean up, and all your guests are buzzing on their way home about what a great time they had. But before you celebrate your event success with a much-deserved cocktail and binge-watching your favorite show on Netflix in your PJs, you still have work to do.
The energy level after a conference can be through the roof. Attendees leave inspired to implement as many of the ideas they gathered in the last few days as quickly as possible. But that post-conference high lasts just a few days as your guests quickly descend back into their regular work and family routines.
To get the most out of this precious, limited amount of time, try the following:
● Publish a conference wrap-up video on LinkedIn with some highlights of general interest.
● Share a post asking speakers and attendees to send you links to any long-form articles, blog posts, and conference roundups detailing what they learned at your event. Then publish them on your personal LinkedIn page and your business page.
● Publish a short-form status update the day after the conference first thing in the morning. Put out a call to other key players to attendees to do the same. This is a great time to post a photo collage and thank other conference organizers.
● Ask presenters to share their presentation slides during or immediately after the conference, which is a great way to feed the post-conference buzz. They should load in clickable images and links to their websites.
● Promote your most popular organic post from the event using the LinkedIn ad function to ensure your business prospects see it and to attract future talent. Target this sponsored content to relevant LinkedIn groups, people with specific job titles, or those who work in specific companies of interest to your business. If you have an email list of conference attendees, you can upload it into LinkedIn and target messages directly to them with links they can share.
Promoting your next event doesn’t have to fall completely on your shoulders. Utilizing LinkedIn is a great way to work smarter, not harder. Center your efforts around the platform where the most important people for your business — decision makers — are going to see it.
Inevitably, many of your guests will post about it on their own because, well, that’s what social media is for. But encouraging them to do so by giving them tools and tips will only reinforce this practice and offer a more organized strategy to ensure you’re able to fully take advantage of all the potential marketing power LinkedIn has to offer.