By: Doug Ales (@DougAlesUSA)

After attending a recent conference, I asked a colleague, So, what did you think of the event? “Awesome!” was their reply. Then I asked: What are your follow-up action items? Who did you meet that can help you achieve your goals? Who do the people you met know that you need to know? These questions were returned with a blank expression and silence. Between travel expenses and lost time, the cost to attend a conference, convention or trade show is very high. You can maximize your return on investment and gain far more than inspiring your creative motivation by utilizing three simple techniques.

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The techniques I’m about to share with you are focused on your personal success at business events. These techniques are effective for all participants, from speakers to forum leaders, to exhibit representatives and especially event attendees. If you are hoping to get the most out of business trade-shows, conferences, conventions, seminars, and networking events, this article is for you.

When it comes to business trade-shows, conferences, conventions, and events, I have bad news and good news. First the bad news, tweeting event hashtags and Facebook posts will get noticed by few people beyond the event’s marketing team. Now the good news, so few people do it right that if you do it right you will get greater returns on your investment of time and resources. Read this article carefully to learn how to get results.

Once you know how to combine LinkedIn and the business event, you have unleashed powerful networking potential. – Doug Ales

Business is LinkedIn’s focus and LinkedIn’s strength is professional networking. That’s why when I teach people how to succeed with LinkedIn; I tell them “If your business comes from relationships, relationships should be your business.

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How easy is it to miss the modern steps of event success? Very easy!Before you read any further, please take a moment to view this video. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

So, how did you do? You don’t need to tell me, but be honest with yourself. I missed what was right in front of me in the above video, just like I missed the way LinkedIn caused a change in the way to get the greatest return from business trade-shows, conventions, and other events.

Trade-shows and conventions continue to feature exhibit floors, product reveals, keynote speakers, breakout meetings, networking events and panel discussions. However, LinkedIn has had a tremendous effect on many aspects of marketing and sales, perhaps none more than the business to business staple, the business event. LinkedIn is the champion of business relationship building. Once you know how to combine LinkedIn and the business event, you have unleashed powerful potential. Not using LinkedIn as part of your event strategy is like missing the giant gorilla in the above video.

The 3 LinkedIn techniques to improve your event results:

Step 1) Before you go: Review the event agenda, then search LinkedIn for event speakers, panel members, planners, booth representatives, and other participants. Send them personalized LinkedIn connection invitations, specifically mentioning your plan to attend their seminar, discussion panel, or exhibit booth.

Once you have connected on LinkedIn, after you have sent them a non-selling welcome message, include their tagged, hot-linked name in LinkedIn status updates as you mention the show. Using this technique will have your new connection remembering, recognizing, and welcoming you when you see them at the event.

Example of a LinkedIn connection tagged, hot-linked status update

To tag hot-link a 1st degree LinkedIn connection in a status update, start typing a connections name until you see their name listed on the drop-down box below your status update then click on their name. By tag hot-linking their name in your status update, your connection will receive a notification flag. Using this technique, I often see the person commenting or liking the status update, which spreads your update to their connections home page feed. Your connection sees your support and their network sees your update. Its a double win.

Step 2) When you are at the event:Use your phone to gather photos & demonstration videos. Just a few tips: Take a photo of the person’s business card after you take a photo of them to help you later identify who is who. Consider bringing additional phone batteries or a external USB power-pack, external microphone, or smart phone mini-tripod and photo release agreements depending upon your companies policies. When taking video with a Smartphone, hold the camera horizontal, not vertical, put the phone in airplane mode to avoid interruptions, lock in the focus by double tapping the person or item on your Smartphone screen. Be sure to get photos that include outside the venue, high above the exhibit floor, demonstrations, speakers, busy walkways, and personal interviews.

Network, network, & network. When people ask me how to network, I tell them my three tips to networking are;

  • Be interested not interesting
  • Don’t ask what they do, ask why they do what they do
  • Ask them to describe their ideal business lead

Special thanks to Cody Muenster for teaching me these three tips. Did you notice how Cody’s name is a tagged hot-link?

Bonus idea; if you have the technical ability, post a LinkedIn status update with photo and related connection as a tag hot-link wile you are at the event.

Step 3) After you return home: In addition to sending personalized connection requests to people you met at the event, write a LinkedIn profile recommendation for the event members you enjoyed meeting the most. I know it can be hard to write recommendations. If you are having writers block, simply enter their name into endorser.org and let their software write a recommendation for you. Start with this auto-generated recommendation, and then personalize it by mentioning the event, topic, and personal details. Use skill endorsing, messaging, and home page status updates to stay in contact with new strategic connections. Now start sharing your stories, photos, videos and show experience, as you tag hot-link the people that are now in your expanded LinkedIn network.

Conclusion: To increase your results at trade-shows, conventions, and other business events, use LinkedIn. Connect to event participants before the event, then promote their event involvement through LinkedIn status updates with your new connection tag hot-linked in your update. At the event, gather photos, videos, interviews, and network. After the event, expand your LinkedIn network, write recommendations and share event content through status updates, and make sure you once again tag hot-link your new connections in these updates. Using these three techniques, your network will grow in size and strength.

By following these three simple steps at your next event, your LinkedIn network will grow as will your connection to your network.

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Now it’s your turn. How do you use LinkedIn to maximize your business event success?

– Doug Ales

Posted January 20, 2015

All text Copyright © 2015 by Doug Ales – All Rights Reserved.  Photo credit –ABB APW

About the author: With 25 years of application, and management experience, Doug Ales enjoys helping people achieve dependable, justifiable, and safe electrical systems. Recognized as an expert in his field, Doug offers educational, insightful, interactive presentations, evaluates applications and advises companies how to create demand. During his vertical market demand creation program, Doug explains how to connect higher and deeper at targeted end user accounts by finding the correct contacts via LinkedIn advanced search, sending a custom invitation, welcome message, and developing a search result into a real world client. The program shows that, when used properly, LinkedIn accelerates networking, builds relationships and grows sales. Doug Ales is a 25 year veteran with Thomas & Betts, A Member of the ABB Group. ABB is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while lowering environmental impact. Thomas & Betts is a manufacturer of electrical, electronic, mechanical and utility products. All opinions are his own and not necessarily those of his employer. You can contactDoug Ales by emailing him at doug.ales@gmail.com or connect with him onLinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube.

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Re-published with permission from Doug. Read the original on Doug’s LinkedIn blog here.

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