With more than 500 million members and over 2 million business pages, LinkedIn provides access to an existing Rolodex of industry thought leaders and a huge pool of potential attendees with whom you can easily communicate. As a result, a well-devised LinkedIn strategy can provide you with unparalleled targeted reach.
If you don’t already have a company LinkedIn account and a personal page, you should create one now. If you’ve already taken that first step, here are a few more to ensure you maximize the power of LinkedIn and your personal network to drive brand awareness and attendance at your event.
Plan Early, Start Early
LinkedIn is not the platform for a carnival barker event sales pitch. Several of the richest sources of potential attendees require a subtle, more organic approach, and the rules and protocol of LinkedIn and many of its associated groups preclude aggressive commercial messaging. As such, it’s important to begin your LinkedIn promotion campaign well in advance of your event.
As part of your early planning strategy, identify the LinkedIn groups that target audiences with a natural affinity for your event content. Then join them!
Naked promotion is likely against group rules, so seek to be a relevant contributor by participating in discussions that take place. Once you establish yourself as a well-regarded contributor, news of your event will be welcomed and respected.
Reach Out to Major Influencers
Within every industry on LinkedIn, there are identifiable thought leaders with thousands of followers. Seek out the thought leaders in your particular industry or area of concern, and establish relationships. Don’t start off on the wrong foot by asking them to spread the word of your event! Instead, respond thoughtfully to their posts, and perhaps send a note with your thoughts on their recent book or magazine article. Let them know that you recommended their work to your audience, and then mention your event and ask for their support.
Prepare relevant content well in advance of your event, and share it across your LinkedIn network. Among other resources, this could include:
• White papers
• Blog posts
Include your event and its relevance in the context of the content.
Employ Targeted LinkedIn Ads
Don’t hesitate to take advantage of LinkedIn’s paid promotion services. Like Google AdSense, you can define your target audience within the LinkedIn universe using parameters such as:
• Job function
Doing so will help market your event to pertinent individuals you have been otherwise unable to reach. By starting early and promoting your event using all of LinkedIn’s power, your promotional activity will multiply your list of contacts while exposing your brand to wider circles.
Continue the Conversation Directly
Now that you’ve grown your universe of contacts and demonstrated the relevance of your brand, it’s time to reach out directly. Conduct an advanced LinkedIn search based on the event parameters you have defined—geography, industry, segment, job level, etc.—and gather a list of potential attendees to whom you can reach out.
If your filtered list of potential attendees fails to provide a large enough prospects list, turn to your secondary connections, asking them to reach out with personal invitations to people with whom you’d like to connect.
Create a Compelling Email
Now you need is an effective promotional email. Make sure your subject line is compelling, and the body text delivers on your promise. With a LinkedIn target list, your recipients are pre-qualified and ready to hear your message. You need only give them a reason to listen!