On the doomed day of November 26, 2012, LinkedIn shut down its Events application. I’m sure most of you might be having a reaction similar to this: “There was an Events application on LinkedIn? Where? What could you do with it? Am I supposed to be sad if it’s not there anymore?” My response to this would be: “Yes, there was an Events option inside the ‘More’ category in their navigation bar, where one could browse through posted events in their industry and by choosing to attend these, one could network with other professionals belonging to the same industry who are also a part of the same event. If you were organizing an event of your own, you could post and promote it in the same section.”
LinkedIn is synonymous to networking in professional spheres. You see how this Events feature was actually making it really easy for event presenters to build connections and promote their event through LinkedIn, but since it wasn’t advertised a lot, not a lot of people were aware of this feature which eventually led to its shutdown. Is there any other way to build connections with your potential attendees and promote your event amongst them on LinkedIn now?
If you really want to build a network, make sure you’re proactively adding existing contacts and connecting with people on LinkedIn after every meeting. Also, develop a habit of using the Status Update box at least twice or thrice a week. This will ensure that every time a user belonging to your network signs in, you will appear on their timeline.
RESEARCH & INSIGHT
While LinkedIn allows you to create a group solely for your event discussions, you could actually get some valuable insight and do good market research through existing groups that are relevant to your niche. There are numerous groups only targeted towards event planners, and by engaging in a few that might be significant for you, you could expand your database.
Suppose your upcoming event has event planners living in Texas as the target audience. If you’re an active presenter, you might be having your own email database, but if you wish to expand it, you could try out this approach: Join a few groups and turn on LinkedIn’s Advanced Search option to filter out members living in Texas. Once you’ve done this for quite a few groups, you can rank them based on number of members fitting your criteria. Also, carry out a parallel assessment of these groups – how active they are, what is the criteria to post something on it etc.
Now that you have a select list of groups that can serve as good platforms for your event, start participating in discussions and also start your own discussions. Don’t bluntly promote your event; instead, make people aware of your event through your subtle comments and discussions. Instead of a one-way promotion, interact with your audience.
Apart from refining groups, you can also use the Advanced Search tool to filter out individuals who fit your criteria. For example, you could look for people who’ve listed their profession as ‘Event Planner’ or ‘Event Organizer’, or their industry as ‘Event Planning’ or ‘Event Services’ in Texas. Browse through the profiles appearing in the search results and send personal invites using available contact details or LinkedIn’s InMail service, which is available for paid members.
We hope these tips help you to continue using LinkedIn for interacting with your potential audience and promoting your event. If you know of other ways to use LinkedIn’s features to help out event planners, do post them in the comments below!