Can’t believe I’ve had an account at LinkedIn since April, 2006. Really. And I still wonder if I’m getting the most out of it. I’ve had a few issues with LinkedIn over the years, and still wonder about some of what they do. In this week’s TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, I ramble and rant a bit about my LinkedIn experience:
As part of my creation of an upcoming social media event marketing training site, I’m putting together a number of videos on how to use various social media platforms. Watch for the site to launch in early 2012. In the meantime, here’s one of those videos – this is a review of the types of LinkedIn accounts – which one is right for you?
Even if you’re not using LinkedIn to its full extent – and who of us really are? – no doubt you recognize the enormous potential that LinkedIn holds especially for those of us in the event industry.
A number of recent blog posts point out the benefits of using LinkedIn when you’re looking to bring more people to an event or conference, or draw visitors to your tradeshow booth.
Earlier this year, LinkedIn made it easy for web masters to integrate their LinkedIn groups into their websites. They did this by opening up its API to groups. What’s an API? Check Julius Solaris’ very informative post here. Basically, it allows you to make tons of connections to like-minded professionals through LinkedIn – but you do it by putting that outpost onto your website. At this point, I’m not seeing a lot of plug-in widgets, but I get the impression they will soon become plentiful. If you run a WordPress blog (like this one), there are a couple of LinkedIn plugins that allow you to display a LinkedIn badge or a share button. Check this article on WikiHow to find out more about connecting LinkedIn with your WordPress blog.
And then here’s a discussion on LinkedIn about what social media tools are best used to draw people to events. Lots of different answers as you might expect.
There are a lot of ways you can use LinkedIn to promote your business or event, as seen in this post from the Social Media Examiner, one of my favorite blogs on using social media.
You can sync your Twitter account with LinkedIn so any tweet lands on LinkedIn, or make it so that only those with the #LI hashtag are posted on LinkedIn. Messages don’t get lost as much on LinkedIn as they can on Twitter, which is important especially when you’re out promoting your event appearance. By syncing Twitter with LinkedIn, you’re getting more coverage for the same effort.
The LinkedIn Events App is seen as a powerful event promotions tool, allowing people to find your event and RSVP, too.
LinkedIn allows you to see if your connections are attending specific events (if you pay attention). Just by visiting the event RSVP page you can find people who might be worthwhile to connect with. Reach out to them, mention that you’ll be at the event and try to find a way to connect in person. If you have a first-level connection or are in the same group, you can reach out through LinkedIn email. If you’re a2nd or 3rd degree connection and have no group connection, use InMailTM.
Another great way to use LinkedIn for events is to find new connections and strengthen current connections. Again, here’s a terrific tutorial from the Social Media Examiner.
Making connections is what it’s all about: finding areas to connect on, reaching out, offering help, asking advice, be a resource – it’s all there on LinkedIn. If you’re not there, get there. If you’re already there, I suspect that you can really ramp up your connectivity efforts via LinkedIn if you just spend a little time on it.
Okay, this is gonna sound like an ad for Hootsuite. But it’s not. Well, it’s not intended that way!
But the more I play around with Hootsuite, the more I find it’s a terrific tool for managing your social media efforts at tradeshows and events.
First, everything is in one place. And I mean everything! You can load up several accounts from Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, LinkedIn, Ping.fm and others. You’re able to set up several members of your team with access to the dashboard, making it easy for them to schedule tweets or posts ahead of time. This is a great tool when you consider the chaos of the tradeshow floor, and you know that you’ll want to be able to take care of people in the booth as well as mix in the occasional live tweet or Facebook posting with your scheduled tweets or posts.
Let’s say you’re planning a tradeshow appearance. You can schedule various activities in your booth, such as guest appearances, product promos, demonstrations, etc., and set up tweets and posts ahead of time. It takes some time to put it all into place, but once you’re at the show, you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that all of those tweets and Facebook postings are going to show up at their scheduled time. And if something changes in mid-stream, such as guest getting caught in traffic and having to delay his appearance, it’s easy to log on to Hootsuite and make the changes in the scheduled posts.
When Hootsuite first came out, I grabbed a free account, and bounced back and forth between that and Tweetdeck (I wouldn’t count Tweetdeck out yet – I hear Twitter purchased the software and is working to add more capabilities to it). Then I drifted away. But now I’m back, and as I mentioned, the more I use it the better it gets. The coders behind Hootsuite keep adding more bells and whistles, making it more useful all the time. In fact, there’s so much there that I probably won’t ever use all of its capabilities.
As an event manager, your biggest social media advantage is the ability to get ahead of the curve on being able to set up pre-scheduled tweets and posts. This software is the best at doing that, and it’s web-based so you don’t have to download and install anything.
And don’t forget the mobile platform. There’s a Hootsuite app (which I rarely use because I prefer the web approach) that is also available if you prefer to do it from your smartphone.
Have I said enough? I could go on, but you might think I’m trying to suck up to the dudes at Hootsuite. Naah, it’s just a cool tool.
Hootsuite is available in both a free and premium version. The premium version, for just a few bucks a month, offers ore detailed analytics and deeper tools – well worth the modest monthly cost.
While LinkedIn is a powerful research and business connectivity tool, lots of folks are still grasping for ways to use LinkedIn to benefit their tradeshow, event and conference appearances. Thanks to a recent HARO request, I spoke with JD Gershbein, CEO of Owlish Communications, considered one of the top LinkedIn strategists in the world, about leveraging your LinkedIn profile for just those appearances.
JD’s bio: J.D. GERSHBEIN, CEO of OWLISH COMMUNICATIONS, is a specialist in the Art and Science of LinkedIn. He is a trusted asset to top executives, managers, entrepreneurs, professional service providers, salespeople and their companies. Dubbed “LinkedIn’s #1 Brand Ambassador” and “The LinkedIn Black Belt,” J.D. is considered one of the top LinkedIn strategists in the world and a pioneer in the design and delivery of LinkedIn education. He has been featured on FOX News, in the Chicago Tribune, has guested on prominent coast-to-coast talk radio programs and contributed numerous articles to online publications. A nationally known A-list speaker and workshop facilitator, J.D.’s keynote message encompasses LinkedIn profile content, personal and corporate branding, cognitive marketing, communication etiquette, and business development on LinkedIn – at all levels of fluency, from novice to dedicated user.
When I connected with author Mike O’Neil a few weeks back he asked me to connect with him on LinkedIn. I soon learned that he does this with everybody.
“All right,” said Mike, “before you accept the inviation, go to your home page on LinkedIn. Now, click on ‘Contacts’ and then ‘Network Statistics.’ Look at what you’ve got in your connections list.”
I did. It looked like this:
“Now, go ahead and accept my invitation. Then wait a few moments and refresh your page.”
So I did. It looked like this:
Given that Mike has 27,000+ connections on LinkedIn, it was easy to see why my network statistics took a huge jump. Shortly after, I connected with Lori Ruff, Mike’s co-author on ‘Rock The World with Your Online Presence,’ a book dedicated solely to, uh, pimping out your LinkedIn profile.
Later that day I added a connection to Lori Ruff, co-author of the ‘Rock the World’ book:
I mean, really jazzing it up so that you can be FOUND and recognized for what you do and what you’re best at.
So now that I’ve read the book and am starting to implement a few of the ideas for the profile, I am seeing the network grow and seeing more people finding me. I get responses and e-mails to responses on questions posted at discussions, for instance.
In a sense, the book is too good. It has so much usable ideas in it geared directly toward improving your LinkedIn profile that it can be overwhelming. That was my first sense while reading the book. My second sense is that the amount of things I can do and people I can connect with just by making a knockout LinkedIn profile is amazing.
When you read the book, use it. Go over your profile with a fine-tooth comb and make the adjustments and revisions in your profile that Mike and Lori suggest. See what happens. My guess is you’ll start to see how LinkedIn can powerfully impact your online networking, whether for new business leads, job leads, or other networking connections.