How To Leverage Virtual Events & LinkedIn Live to Generate Qualified Leads
If there’s one thing that good businesses have in common, it’s the ability to adapt and improvise – especially when it comes to lead generation.
Across the last year, the rise of work-from-home culture has truly changed the way both individuals and organisations approach their followers. We’ve all gradually shifted gears to more virtual ways of engaging with target audiences – and virtual event lead generation is no exception.
From product demonstrations to interactive sessions and panel speaker events, there are many ways to approach virtual events – with LinkedIn Live serving as the platform of choice for many businesses and business leaders.
Read on to find more about how to generate leads using LinkedIn, and how to host a B2B event that leaves long-lasting impressions and brings value to your potential clients.
Is LinkedIn Good For B2B Leads?
With over 774 million members from all walks of business, LinkedIn is certainly a fantastic choice when it comes to targeting everyone from entry-level interns to big-name CEOs.
The biggest advantage that LinkedIn has over other social engagement platforms is simple – context.
Unlike Instagram or Twitter, where users congregate over everything from celebrity gossip to puppy photos, LinkedIn is designed explicitly to develop work connections, helping business leaders reach out to their audiences, and in general, giving professionals a place to share and listen to business-related matters.
From recruitment to general discussion, every account on LinkedIn is pre-primed with a business mindset – not only is your communication in sync with a business owner’s priorities, but they’re also more likely to retain and understand your message.
What Is LinkedIn Live, And How Does It Work?
Back in 2017, LinkedIn decided to leverage the growing demand for video content by introducing LinkedIn Video – a feature that resulted in an explosion of B2B focused content – such as this clever bit by website builder Squarespace.
Over time, this has given way to LinkedIn Live in 2020 – a way to livestream content directly to professional audiences. According to LinkedIn, live videos get, on average, 7x more reactions and 24x more comments than native video produced by the same broadcasters – now that’s a significant advantage!
Along with this, LinkedIn’s surveyed B2B marketers reported that 80% of their B2B traffic came directly from the website – making it a great launching pad for live B2B focused content.
To join LinkedIn Live, you’ll have to go through a simple setup and validation process – LinkedIn does this to ensure a safe and trusted environment on its platform.
Here’s the steps you’ll need to follow:
Apply for Access
You can get started by filing an application on this webpage, or by contacting a LinkedIn Marketing Solutions representative. A big part of LinkedIn’s goal is to facilitate high-quality B2C and B2B communication on its channels, so expect each application to be reviewed thoroughly. While there’s no set of criteria to follow, here’s a couple of things that LinkedIn takes into account:
- Active communities: If you have a brand page that regularly engages audiences, responds to comments, and shows a genuine interest in reaching out, you’ll be much more likely to gain LinkedIn Live access. If you’ve not already started doing this, the best day to begin is today!
- Hitting the +1K follower mark: LinkedIn wants sizable audiences for any Livestream events, so they generally view 1,000 followers as the ideal mark to hit for brand accounts. You can use their ‘invite to follow’ feature to prompt your business connections to catch up, if you aren’t quite there yet.
Hopefully, your application will soon be approved, and you can move on to the next steps:
- Choosing a broadcaster tool: LinkedIn doesn’t directly host live video, rather, they have partnered up with a few streaming partners to help ensure a foolproof experience. While they recommend that you use Restream, Socialive, StreamYard, Switcher Studio or Vimeo, you can also use their custom stream (RTMP) tool to go live directly from Zoom or WebEx.
- Get broadcasting: Finally, you’re good to go! All that remains is to schedule your live event, start your broadcast, and enjoy a fruitful connection with your B2B prospects.
Ways To Expertly Use Linkedin Live For Your B2B Marketing
Now that we’ve established how to get started, and how LinkedIn Live can benefit business communication channels, let’s go through some great ways to actually engage with your B2B audience while highlighting your brand.
1. Hosting Virtual Events with Linkedin Live
LinkedIn Live’s advantages for virtual events start long before the special day. Not only can you easily send notifications to followers, but you can also directly send invites to your most important B2B contacts as seamlessly as possible through LinkedIn Events.
Creating events on LinkedIn is pretty straightforward. Just follow these instructions:
- Within the Admin view, open the ‘Admin tools’ bar on the top right corner. Select ‘Create an event’. In the window that pops up, you can select LinkedIn Live as an option. Once you do this, all attendees will get automatic notifications once you go live.
- Choose your event settings. You can host public events open to all, or private events to hone in on your specific B2B targets. Alternatively, you can host an event with a LinkedIn Registration Form, which allows you to collect additional data such as attendee contacts – a good way to build early B2B connections.
- Hit ‘create’, and your event page is now published! Here, you can make further changes, invite connections, post content leading up to your event dates, and download attendee data if you’ve chosen an event with registration forms.
LinkedIn Live works great with a variety of events – whether you’re looking to focus on community and brand building, target specific B2B partnerships, hold digital conferences, or even highlight talented individuals within your company, this platform has you covered.
2. Sharing Big Updates
Big updates to your brand or business structure are a great moment to pique B2B interest and draw in important clients – after all, these are great moments to use as a PR boost and can be further amplified through LinkedIn Live events.
You can use events to showcase new improvements, allow project leaders to address your audience, and even conduct live Q&A sessions.
3. Use LinkedIn Live to Drive Thought Leadership
If you’ve been using LinkedIn for a while, you’ve probably noticed the thousands of eyeballs that dart towards major industry leaders – several professionals hang on their every word, looking for nuggets of wisdom.
This is an example of ‘thought leadership’ – an expression of ideas that prove and solidify your reputation as an expert on particular fields, topics, or techniques.
LinkedIn Live allows you to directly build this on a personal level – by inviting key speakers for discussions, or simply hosting live podcast sessions, you can build on your public perception as a reliable and knowledgeable figure in your niche – just what B2B partners are looking for.
4. Announce a New Partnership or Product
Not every LinkedIn Live session needs to be about people – it can also be about products, or major partnerships. Live events can help build hype towards these new developments and allow your audience to understand a new product in detail.
They also give you a chance to publicly connect with your new partners – giving both them and you a way to build social traction.
5. Demonstrate Your Expertise
LinkedIn Live events can also be used as a way to showcase your company’s innate skills – tech companies, for example, can bring in skilled engineers to run configuration workshops for your products.
Meanwhile, marketers and statisticians can combine forces to showcase your brand’s ability to stay ahead of trends, disseminate useful and exciting data points, and even directly instruct audiences.
6. Host an AMA Event (Ask Me Anything)
While big-name events are always exciting, sometimes even B2B relationships are founded on getting to know and understand a single influential figure within your organization.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to host an AMA or Ask Me Anything session. Here, you’ll run a LinkedIn Live event where you or someone in your organization runs an open forum for questions.
Followers and invitees can ask you about your personal journey, motivations – even funny moments that you’ve had throughout your business journey.
Things To Consider While Launching Virtual Event
Launching a virtual event successfully depends on several factors – you cannot, after all, host a good event with no planning or foresight involved. Here’s a few great tips to keep you on track for a great virtual event that boosts your engagement with potential clients and followers alike:
1. Clearly Define Your Target Audience
Remember – not all people on LinkedIn are alike. While it’s great to find college students rubbing shoulders in the comments with CEOs, business influencers and the like, virtual events work quite differently.
With each event, you’re asking for anywhere between twenty minutes to two hours of a viewer’s time – and since everyone here is approaching your event from a professional’s point of view, you cannot afford to waste their time and energy.
The correct way to deal with this is to set a focused, clear target audience right from the beginning. Are you about to host a new product reveal or teaser? If so, chances are that potential clients might be the most effective audience to capture.
If you’re hosting an interview with an influencer, ask them for insights on their target audience as well, and find out where you both meet in the middle.
Conversely, if you’re looking to build credibility as a field expert, you can target students or early-career employees – developing your reputation while providing real help and inspiration.
2. Build In Time For Event Outreach And Engagement
No good event takes place without a detailed engagement and outreach plan – and LinkedIn Live events are pretty much the same.
Initially, you’ll want to set the date of the event fairly well in advance, so that your team has the time to prepare promotion material for all your social media channels.
For wider promotion of an event, share the event URL on your page feed – you can even use organic post targeting to reach a specific subset of followers. Use this URL on your personal network, and other platforms so that people can register well in advance.
You don’t need to rely on only lead generation from LinkedIn, either. You can also boost event registration rates by your existing email database or even LinkedIn ads.
3. Don’t Forget To Remind Your Guests
According to LinkedIn, about 280 billion feed updates are viewed annually. This means that the digital seminar you’re planning for is competing for attention with thousands of other similar events and posts.
If you’ve attended virtual events before, you’ll notice that most organizations simply shoot out a 24-hour reminder email, and little more than that.
This is a terrible way to build anticipation with your target audience – you’d much rather want to count down the days, get hosts or speakers to interact with attendees, and provide sneak-peeks of event-related content.
This is what will help attendees publicize the event through comments, tags, and shares – and get them invested enough to actually show up when the event takes place.
Fortunately, carrying this out is relatively simple on LinkedIn. Each event has its own feed, that you can use to post photos, prep highlights, sound bites, content previews, and more.
Not only does this make your event feel legitimate and well-thought-out – but it also gives your organization a human touch and keeps the event at the forefront of your audiences’ minds.
LinkedIn also offers two reminder features that you shouldn’t miss out on:
- Every week, you get two chances to recommend your most important posts to event attendees – don’t miss out on these, as they can help build interest and foster conversation.
- Make sure that ‘automatic reminders’ are on. This feature will allow LinkedIn Events to send your attendees auto-reminders at the following milestones leading up to the event – one week, three days, and 15 minutes away.
4. Make Virtual Events Easy to Consume
One thing many virtual events have in common is that without the physical presence we’re all used to, many speakers rush through topics too quickly (or too slowly), or simply treat their event flow as if it’s intended for a real-life seminar.
Digital events need a different approach. For starters, it’s important to do trial runs of your event in the days leading up to it – this will give you a better idea of which sections seem convoluted or hard to understand, and which ones could be cut down or even omitted.
Unlike a real event, all you need to do to leave a digital one is to swipe or click a few times on your device – so making your message clear and simple benefits both you and your viewers.
You’ll also want to pre-determine the optimum time to go live. Under Analytics, you’ll find a ‘Followers’ tab which allows you to find out the geographical spread of your audience. This will let you host the event at a time when most of your attendees will be free.
This is also a good opportunity to find and fix technical snags. Nothing kills a livestream event faster than choppy audio or a glitchy connection, so ensure that you have a foolproof internet solution and streaming device on hand. Make sure that you have at least two people on standby; you’ll need one to moderate the live chat and another to operate the 3rd party broadcast tool.
Fortunately, the actual event-joining experience is quite easy on LinkedIn. Since it’s on a familiar platform, attendees won’t have to download anything new, and can easily make sense of the UI when asking questions, reacting to moments, or chatting with fellow viewers.
5. Create Evergreen Content
If there’s one thing better than a successful digital event, it’s one that keeps drawing in B2B interest long after the event actually takes place – that’s evergreen content in a nutshell.
This doesn’t necessarily need to be through video recordings of the event – all of your prep can be reused or repurposed into the following:
- Articles: The most common form of content on LinkedIn, you can either summarize an entire event here, or focus on specific interviewees – anything goes.
- Long Video: Depending on your resources, you can prepare a highlight reel or even produce a simple digital event film to capitalize on your event’s success.
- Short Video: Often, digital events can provide you with a massive range of video snippets that can work well both on and off LinkedIn. You can create a cache of 30-second (or lower) clips, and use them as part of your overall content marketing strategy.
- Infographics: One of LinkedIn’s favorite content formats, you can combine your events with data analysis from viewers or the source material as well – giving your event a bite-sized set of ‘follow up content’.
There’s one tip that we’ve saved for the very ending – and that’s to have fun and enjoy yourself! Running a live event often can be unpredictable – odd questions and unexpected interactions are commonplace, but it’s up to you to react with humour and good wit.
Hopefully, this article has helped you understand the many benefits of hosting digital B2B events on LinkedIn Live – we hope that your first event becomes a complete success!