When you are taking your team to an industry conference, are you making the most of your presence on LinkedIn?
During a recent workshop with an engineering firm who wanted to learn how to use LinkedIn for their business I discovered that one of the key reasons they wanted to understand how to use LinkedIn was because their sales team were going to some key European conferences to meeting potential customers and clients. There are plenty of factors to take into account for before, during and after attending a conference and this article aims to help with how you can use LinkedIn as a tool during this time.
When you go to a conference and meet business connections, do you say “let’s connect on LinkedIn”? Unlike five years ago, when you would be swapping business cards and email addresses, now, you’re much more likely to find someone saying, let’s connect on LinkedIn and possibly even connecting with you while you’re actually at the conference.
Here are key things to do when you or your team are planning to attend a conference
Before You Go
Have a fully optimised LinkedIn company page, and LinkedIn personal profiles for all of the members of your team. This includes not just the team members who are attending the conference, but also your senior management team, your CEO, your C suite level.
As your sales team are connecting with people, having conversations and meeting your ideal clients, those people will be checking out your whole organisation’s LinkedIn presence.
If an interested party visited your firm’s LinkedIn page, what would they see? Posts about your products and services? They can also see all the employees attached to the page.
They’re also going to check out who are your C suite. Who is your CEO and what do they post on their personal LinkedIn, if anything. In my experience, there’s often a very scant presence on LinkedIn.
Are you tired of trying to juggle running your business and managing your LinkedIn profile?
We understand the challenges of balancing all of the demands of a successful business, which is why we offer LinkedIn content management services to help alleviate some of the stress.
Our team of experts will create and curate content that is tailored to your brand’s messaging, target audience, and goals. By outsourcing your LinkedIn content management to us, you can focus on growing your business and leave the social media management to us.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help elevate your LinkedIn presence and drive more leads to your business.
2. Planning ahead
You’ve got your tickets booked. If you are taking a booth, you have reserved the space you’ve ordered your marketing materials, everything that you need that you’re going to take along to the conference. Maybe you have business cards, maybe you’re launching a new product. All of that is all set up and Ready to go.
A couple of questions to ask yourself:
- Who else is attending the conference?
- Who is going to be speaking?
- Are any of your existing network going to be attending?
- Are there any fringe events happening?
Start to connect with people on LinkedIn ahead of time. Send a message to say why you are looking forward to attending, or who you want to hear speaking.
Organise to meet people for a coffee if there aren’t meet-ups already organised.
3. For Conference Organisers
Have you created a LinkedIn event for the conference?
Have you shared social graphics for all your speakers to post on their LinkedIn profiles?
Are all of your sponsors showcasing your event on their own company pages? Write a short paragraph for them to post -make it easy for others to promote your event. Include an event hashtag.
Have you considered UGC (user generated content)? Create a graphic your attendees can use, to share on their own social media that they are attending your conference. If an attendee shares a post about your event, consider using it on your own Company page content, and comment on posts they write about your event.
4. Suggestions for messages to send ahead of time
Here are a few suggestions of messages to send to someone who is also attending the same event as you:
Hi **NAME**. I can see you are going to be speaking at **EVENT**. I’m coming too, and am really looking forward to your talk.
Hi **NAME**. Are you going to **EVENT**? I’d love to connect with you ahead of time.
Hey **NAME**. I see that you and the team are going to be at this event, I’d love to catch up with you if you have time for a coffee.
5. Create content your team can share about the Conference
In the run up to the conference, talk to your sales team and tell them about your marketing plan. You’re going to providing them with content on the company page.
Invite your team to share that with their network in an authentic way that starts conversations about your business.
Do not simply repost the company page content. By training your team and providing them with content, you are giving them tools that they can use to share and amplify the company message, and particularly with whatever is going to be happening at the conference.
6. Speaking at a Conference
If you want one of your team to be a speaker at a conference, the people who book those speakers are also on LinkedIn.
Suppose your CEO aims to establish themselves as a recognized authority in your industry. Begin by regularly posting content on their personal account, showcasing their expertise and thought leadership. Aim to share such content multiple times a week. Add a section on their personal profile listing them as a speaker.
7. At the Conference
Download your QR code from LinkedIn and save it to your phone. This way when you meet new connections you can easily connect with them on LinkedIn. Why not temporarily save the QR code image as your phone screensaver so it is easy to access.
Now you’re not scrambling to get on LinkedIn to find the person’s name that you’re speaking to, you literally just hold up your phone, the QR code is on the screen, and the person that you’re speaking to can scan that code and literally connect with you there.
Another top tip, take pictures of your team while you’re at the conference and post those on the company page, it shows that you are an active company.
If you meet people at the conference, take a photograph with them and post it on your company page or your personal profile, tag the person and say you know what you learned from them, or what you got out of the conference, keeping it all inside the realm of what you’re there for business to do for business.
8. After the Conference
Now, what I do recommend is that once you get back to your hotel room, or you get back to the office the following week, once a conference is over, all of those people that you connected with, send them a quick short message to remind them who you are.
Say it was great to meet you in Frankfurt at the conference last week. I hope you got home safe – I’d love to continue the conversation here. If you’re interested in having a chat, let me know.
9. Prepare your team
So all of this sounds really simple and easy. And it is. But why aren’t people doing it?
Maybe your sales team aren’t really comfortable with LinkedIn, maybe they need a little bit of upskilling or training and how to use LinkedIn effectively.
When your company or team or you yourself are planning to go to a conference, what should you be thinking about? What should you be doing ahead of the time when you’re there, and to follow up afterwards.
10. Ongoing LinkedIn Efforts
Continue being consistent with posting content on LinkedIn, so that those people that you do meet at the conference have actually got something that will remind them of you.
For example, if you connected with Bob, and you went to Frankfurt, and you’re back home now and you’re working away, if you’re still sharing content once a week, that talks about what it is that your business does, and Bob is posting stuff on LinkedIn, and comment on his stuff to keep you top of mind.
Because if you go back to the office, after the conference, all those lovely warm leads will fade away if you don’t follow up with them.
And being visible by sharing posts on LinkedIn is a really simple, simple, easy way to do that.
Come and connect with me on LinkedIn. And let’s have a conversation about it. And also, if you don’t have an in house marketing team devoted to creating content for your LinkedIn. That is exactly what we do here at Louise Brogan limited. We love writing content that helps your company get more visibility and leads and sales. So reach out.