Jazzing Up The LinkedIn Presence For Your Event Planning Business
Your LinkedIn profile is the front page of your career. Maintaining a compelling LinkedIn presence for your event planning business or personal brand is a small project, but it really pays off.
I tried it.
I’ve always taken a little pride in my LinkedIn profile, and I’ve helped a handful of friends in the overhaul and maintenance of theirs. This week while researching LinkedIn’s capabilities, talking to others with great profiles, and collecting examples, I found that I still have a lot to learn!
So Jordan and I made some changes to our profiles and to the way we approach LinkedIn in general. We’re the test subjects!
Let’s learn together, shall we? Here’s to killer LinkedIn profiles, and to the success of your event planning business and career!
So how important is LinkedIn, really?
A whole industry has sprung up around LinkedIn optimization. LinkedIn presence consultants offer packages that include behind-a-paywall training, monthly check-ins, job-hunting advice, straight-up writing your profile and more. (These guys are way ahead of me. I should have been charging my friends all those times!)
And these services are in demand, because people realize that LinkedIn is a big part of the way business is done today.
Isn’t LinkedIn just for job-hunting?
Nope. All kinds of business transactions are made using LinkedIn. A well-crafted presence will give you an advantage and make your life easier. Do any of these apply to you?
- You’re looking to grow your event planning business.
- You want to move to a position in another organization.
- You are seeking new vendors, partners, press contacts, mentors and more.
- You’re simply maintaining professional connections throughout your career.
OK, I’m convinced. How hard is this going to be?
Today I’ll cover two projects that will definitely improve your event planning career: updating your LinkedIn company page, and overhauling/maintaining your personal profile.
Jazzing Up The LinkedIn Presence for your Event Planning Business
Let’s talk about how to make your LinkedIn more attractive, easier to find, and reflective of who YOU are.
Company page or personal profile?
There are two types of pages to maintain on LinkedIn: your personal profile, which will grow with you throughout your career (think of it a little like a detailed digital résumé) and your company’s page.
Whether you’re a larger agency, an in-house pro, or a one-gal operation, you’ll need to have both.
The company page for your event planning business
This is the easy part. Your company page is pretty good for three things.
- Running LinkedIn ads
This means that it can remain fairly static once you’ve optimized it. (You’ll want to save your energy for maintaining the personal profile.)
Audit the page:
A business page is a necessity so people can find your company and get an accurate understanding of what you offer. Check to make sure all information is up-to-date and that you have used terms that people can find you by. For example, if you are an Ohio-based full-service event planning company, say so in plain English.
Maintain the page:
- Pin your most valuable content/updates to the top of your company pages under “recent updates”.
- Grow your business by detailing the unique benefits on the Careers tab.
- Do you have gorgeous photos and videos from events you’ve worked on? Rich media tells a story.
Your personal LinkedIn profile
This is where (most of) the magic happens. Your event planning career lives on this page. It’s a place to let your professional accomplishments and personality shine.
Also, this is where you maintain connections related to your event planning business and beyond. You have much better reach here. (On a company page the only audience that sees your posts are those who have followed your page of their own volition, and that audience tends to be much smaller.)
1. The first impression
What’s the first thing people see when they visit your LinkedIn profile? Trick question! The search results page is likely to be the first time someone sees your information.
There’s not much to see here. Name, photo, title, location, and number of connections. To make your profile as appealing as possible, make sure none of these pieces of information is a strike against you.
You’re less likely to click on the Anna Sawyers who don’t have photos, right?
And speaking of the photo: my best advice is to use a headshot that makes you look like a person someone would invite to a wedding. Nicely dressed, well-lit, smiling. Don’t crop out another person–we can always tell!
2. The other first impression
What makes you different? What are you most proud of? If a visitor to your personal LinkedIn profile sticks around for only a few seconds, what do they learn?
The summary section is the place for you to creatively and engagingly lay out what differentiates you from the crowd.
For a knockout summary:
- Keep it short: No more than a few paragraphs long with a few bullets.
- A first sentence with a strong “hook”. Punchy, powerful, witty, intriguing: whichever you choose, the first sentence should make a visitor want to read on.
- An overview of your values, experience and talent. Where do you fit in the event planning business? Communicating who you are is just as important to you as it is to potential partners, clients and mentors. If you really showcase who you are, the right ones will come to you.
Don’t treat the summary like a cut-and-paste résumé. The job experience below will take care of that.
I liked this article with three examples of fantastic LinkedIn summaries.
For more on cultivating a personal brand for you and your event planning business, check out this interview with planning genius Liz King.
3. The people’s choice
Social proof drives many of our decisions. When we see that someone we trust likes a product, we’re much more likely to make a purchase. The same applies to LinkedIn connections. A visitor to your profile will be more likely to want to learn about you if you’re well-endorsed.
LinkedIn is smart. Sections of your profile are filled out by people in your network–not by you. Recommendations and Skills can only be proactively populated by other people.
This doesn’t mean you don’t have any control, though.
- To increase the number of skills that appear on your profile, ask connections to endorse you or choose people to endorse and hope they’ll return the favor. Thinking about valuable skills to include on your profile? Check out our writeup of 5 digital skills that every event planner needs.
- To show only the skills you want people to see, drag-and-drop to re-order them.
- To grow your recommendations, reach out to connections and request them. You may also use the “pay it forward” technique, but I’ve found that requesting them–and even giving a little direction as to what you’d like to have highlighted–will yield the best results.
- Be specific as you request recommendations–this way, they’ll be diverse and you’ll avoid generic responses. Ask one vendor to highlight your prompt response times. Request that a client who has worked repeatedly with your event planning business explain why they keep coming back. (You get the point–you want to paint a complete picture here.)
4. The final audit
LinkedIn’s Profile Strength feature lets you know if parts of your profile are incomplete.
View your profile and allow LinkedIn to guide you through this process: have you included your education, awards, volunteer gigs, and anything else relating to your event planning business or personal projects?
You have a solid LinkedIn presence that helps people find and understand you and your event planning business. You’re telling a compelling story on your personal profile, and the page for your business is complete, concise and SEO-optimized. What can you do to get the most out of this effort?
1. Be a meaningful contributor
There are a few really active LinkedIn Groups with members who post helpful articles and tips and ask questions. Join these groups and join the discussion!
Here’s a screenshot of the Groups I joined.
2. Engage with connections
In most cases, it’s entirely appropriate for you to reach out to connections who know you and touch base, ask to be introduced to people they know, and share updates about your event planning business. If you’re looking to take on more clients, privately message your connections (individually) to let them know.
We wrote on using social media (including LinkedIn) to creatively pitch event PR contacts and tastemakers. Now that you have a LinkedIn profile you can be really proud of, give it a try.
Start your LinkedIn odyssey today by connecting with your career week counselors!