Is LinkedIn just another place to broadcast your event in hopes of people seeing it, or is there more here?
If you’re like most meeting planners, you’re struggling to use LinkedIn in ways that get people to register and attend your events. Yes, LinkedIn provides an innovative event registration tool. But turning contacts and group members into registrants and attendees isn’t exactly like eating pie. Yet I’m here to tell you — getting it done is easier than you think.
After a year of interviewing today’s most successful business users of LinkedIn, this common-success principle seems universal: Give attendees a compelling reason to offer more than a “like” or merely consume content. This is the key to earning registrations and attendance.
The engagement myth
Many LinkedIn gurus claim that awareness, reach and influence leads to conversion. It’s called “engagement,” and you’ve got to “just do it.” Experts say that regular online participation in LinkedIn groups and with followers on other social platforms can convert them from followers into registrants and then to attendees.
Yes, it can, but this belief isn’t much different than the “reach and frequency” promise of advertising. Namely, if we beat the drum loud enough (reach) and often enough (frequency), it will cause people to perform an action — register, attend, buy, etc. But as Dr. Phil likes to say, “How’s that working for ya?” This is what I call passive engagement. This is what does not work. Sorry, gurus.
There is a better way: Designing engagement to produce actions (registrations and attendance) by solving your attendees’ problems in places where questions often get asked — like LinkedIn Groups.
Solve customers’ problems
You’ve probably heard that posting a certain number of times, on certain subjects, on certain days inside LinkedIn Groups where your target market congregates is the key that unlocks success with LinkedIn. Or maybe you’ve heard that frequent posting of blogs you’ve written, or promotions you’ve crafted, inside LinkedIn Groups will generate leads. How’s that working for ya? That’s right, these ideas don’t really work.
The key to success is solving customers’ problems in provocative, personalized ways — not just cutting-and-pasting your marketing messages into LinkedIn.
An example: What if you tried this for your next meeting or event. Use LinkedIn to generate questions among target attendees and make sure your event/meeting gives them answers. What do your attendees really, really need that your event will give them? Take that need and play on it, exploit it. Creatively bait people in your LinkedIn Group or directly via LinkedIn’s email system to communicate or complain about problems for which your event provides solutions.
Next, provoke actions — exploit those complaints, worries or concerns by enticing, “ethically bribing” prospects to take a step toward registration. Lead them toward a short, two- or three-minute YouTube video that scratches the itch you’ve uncovered. Make it easy on yourself by featuring your keynote speaker or another element of your event that dramatizes how well you can relieve that itch (solve that problem). It’s a snap. You might even have some fun!
Scratch customers’ itches in LinkedIn Groups
Forget about meetings for a moment. I love to grocery shop by myself when I need to zone out, so let’s visit Harris Teeter, an East Coast grocery and pharmacy chain. Harris Teeter pays customers to ask its dietician health-related questions on Facebook. Why would a grocer — or you —do that? Because helping customers put out a fire or scratch a bothersome itch is powerful. It can be done on any social platform where your target audience is engaging, like LinkedIn.
Answering your target audiences’ most commonly asked questions opens the door for them to discover what they’re looking for … and for you to lead them there through relevant suggestions (like watching a YouTube video of someone who’ll be at your event). You can offer attendees a friendly tip or useful trick or, if and when appropriate, outline the benefits of attending your event.
Giving people a reason to go beyond engaging with you on social media is vital to your success. Here’s the formula: Give them an incentive (cash, a getaway vacation, etc.) and show them how your event can solve their problem, help them avoid a risk or participate in a lucrative opportunity. Using a question-and-answer technique takes much of the work out of the process. It can even be fun. What do you think about giving this a try?