Using LinkedIn to Prepare for a Conference


So your startup is going to an important conference where you hope to attract attention and start conversations with partners, backers, and prospects. You all have LinkedIn profiles, so you’re ready to go, social media-wise, right?

Wrong.

 Conference booths

Buff Up Your LinkedIn Presence

Of course it’s important for you to be on LinkedIn. If they’re interested, people you meet at the conference will probably look you up to find out more information about you than what is contained on your business card or in your trifold. They’ll want to know how seriously to take you.

We see many, many profiles on LinkedIn that are really barebones. A weak summary statement and incomplete information about your background can be a real turnoff for the folks who are gauging whether you’re for real or not.

So to prepare for an important conference, follow our recommendations for beefing up your LinkedIn presence:

Improve Your Profile

  • If you’ve got a day job while starting your startup, be sure the startup company name is listed first in the Experience section. Your title and the name of the company, location, and industry are bits of information that follow you around on LinkedIn. For example, this info, along with your picture, is what shows up in search listings. So how are the people you meet at the conference going to find you? By searching. If I’m someone at this conference and want to know whom to talk to, I’m going to look on LinkedIn, not read everyone’s business cards.
  • Fill in all the experience sections of your profile.  Again, this speaks to credibility.  You all may be really smart, but on LinkedIn, you need to give evidence of industry or domain knowledge and experience to establish your bona fides.
  • Create a strong summary statement. It’s OK to have personal aspirations in this statement, but keep it fact-based and fairly short, no more than 200 words. Here’s an example of a weak summary statement: “I have brought success to numerous firms by taking a strategic and systematic approach to financial operations.” This is generic and vague. If you’re going to make a statement like this, back it up with details. Strive for statements that will set you apart from others.
  • Include a recent picture, of just you, not you and your spouse or dog or kid. Have it professionally done if possible. Dress in clothes appropriate to your business.
  • List the company Twitter account as your Twitter account and list other appropriate social media presence. Also list the company Website.
  • Get appropriate recommendations, both personal and skill. It’s OK to endorse one another, but keep that to a minimum. Seek out people who will give you a great recommendation that is pertinent to what you’re doing in your startup.

Pre-Conference LinkedIn Activities

  • Join relevant LinkedIn groups.  Use the Groups search to find them. Other LinkedIn members can’t tell when you’ve joined, just that you’re a member, so don’t worry that they’ll find out you’re a newbie. If there’s time, comment on posts and post one or two items of your own.
  • Definitely post in groups that you are attending the conference.  Ask if anyone else is going and if they want to meet for a drink, dinner, sightseeing, something fun.
  • Look up all conference keynote speakers on LinkedIn and visit their profiles.  The keynoters can see these visits to their profiles, and this could trigger conversations with those folks.  We’ve connected with lots of people just because we saw them checking out our profiles.
  • Create a Company Page. Seriously. If you don’t have a Company Page on LinkedIn, you don’t exist. (We may have overstated that just a bit.) It’s easy to do, and you can even list your products.
  • Post a PowerPoint describing your startup on SlideShare and link it to the individual profiles of company members. Having a PowerPoint on SlideShare conveys an air of professionalism and credibility, despite the fact that any jaboney can post there.

We recommend that all principals take these steps, but those who are attending must definitely address these issues.

There’s lots more about using social media for B2B sales in our book The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for B2B Sales Success – Sales Person Edition. Get a free chapter at  bit.ly/InfPipeCh1


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What Others Are Saying

Infinite Pipeline offers practical advice for using social media to extend relationship selling online. It’s a great way to get crazy-busy prospects to pay attention.”
—Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies

“Sales is all about relationships and trust. Infinite Pipeline is the ‘how to’ guide for maximizing social networks to find and build relationships, and generate trust in our digital age.”
—Sam Richter, best-selling author, Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling (2012 Sales book of the year)

Infinite Pipeline will be the authority on building lasting relationships through online social that result in bottom line business.”
—Lori Ruff, The LinkedIn Diva, Speaker/Author and CEO of Integrated Alliances

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About Social Media Performance Group

Social Media Performance Group is a premier enterprise social media consulting company that offers a unique approach to integrating social media into the enterprise — forget about the tools, it's all about the strategy! Rather than focusing on the tactics (do this or that on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube), first we work with you and your senior leadership to comprehend your corporate strategy. Once we understand your strategic objectives and goals, we show you how a comprehensive social media strategy can integrate with and support your corporate strategy. We take an enterprise-wide view based on our unique Enterprise Social Media Framework, which maps social media to all appropriate touchpoints in your enterprise. We go beyond the obvious quick hits — sales and marketing — and help you achieve social-media-driven results in areas such as product development, customer service, and employee engagement and retention. As a result, social media is not just bolted on; it is integrated with, and provides support for, your company's existing strategy and operations, yielding unprecedented results.
This entry was posted in B2B, Enterprise Social Media, LinkedIn How-to, Social Computing, Social Media, Social Media Strategy, Social Selling and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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