In the last part of our Event Marketing on LinkedIn series we interviewed Ana Wolsztajn, a brand strategist who has worked with some of the most prominent event organizers in Europe including SaaStock, Pioneers, Slush (via Startup Sesame), SingularityU, and Socialbakers.
You'll learn more about Ana's personal LinkedIn journey, why storytelling is important, and how LinkedIn video can help you increase engagement and make your event brand stand out.
Ana’s LinkedIn journey started a few years back when she was using the network to find new and interesting work, but on her own terms.
Ana: "Early 2015 I found myself in Norway and applying for various jobs Europe-wide to sustain the remote way of life. I’m a sucker for efficiency and sending resumes and cover letters just seemed like the opposite of a productive way of doing things."
"LinkedIn was not what it is today at that time, but some of fellow alumni from Miami Ad School, colleagues from the ad world, and friends I met during my sabbatical to Asia and Australia were active there already. I connected with them, honed my profile and decided from now on I’m not applying for jobs that are already advertised - I create my own position as an answer to what companies I’d like to work with are missing."
"I knew it would take some time, but it was worth every moment. My following grew from hundreds to thousands and allowed me to make fantastic connections that led to work I aimed at doing. It also sparked curiosity about conferences and brought me into the event space"Only after joining and connecting with Aaron Krall, SaaS consultant and the founder of the SaaS Growth Hacks Facebook Group, Ana learned more about the "new" LinkedIn and how other experts in her field conveyed stories on LinkedIn for (personal) brand building.
Ana: "I already had quite a following that grew with each event I’d go to, but these FB groups helped me improve the engagement and truly see the potential within the LinkedIn platform."
"I went through the "phase" of using LinkedIn engagement pods only to realise the best way to make my personal brand shine is by being authentic and speaking up about the passions and topics most important to me. I got inspired by young generation of LinkedIn voices utilizing video - Goldie Chan and Quentin (Q) Allums"
How Storytelling Conveys Your Brand Message
When we interviewed Ana, there was one word that dominated the conversation - it's STORYTELLING. When you're building out your brand, you need a powerful story that conveys your brand message. Do you agree?
Ana: "People connect through stories. That's humans' primal instinct and understanding it is the first step to creating powerful brands - personal brand or products/services.
"With the competitiveness in the event organizing world, having a good story that differentiate your event is key. LinkedIn video is a very useful tool to convey the story of events and event organizers alike."
Let's have a look at some of the strategies you can use 👇🏾
Strategy 1: Your Team As Brand Ambassadors
Every event is different and the first strategy to take into consideration are the strengths and weaknesses of your brand.
Ana:"With SaaStock, a fairly new and niche brand, we needed to extrapolate the word-of-mouth the event has been getting through its small, but dedicated SaaS community in Europe."
One of our strengths as SaaStock was our highly motivated and relatable team, so we utilized LinkedIn video to record a short video of everyone introducing him/herself and what they're looking for at #SaaStock18."
Let's look at two examples, the first one from Ana herself. You can click on the image below which takes you to the original post:
And here's #2 from SaaStock's very own Tom Dwyer:
- The production value of your video is very important. Enough of "Talking Heads" (they get very little engagement); videos that tell your teams' personal or professional story can quickly reach 10,000+ views.
- Copywriting: When you post a LinkedIn video, you need to introduce the video in a catchy way. Instead of repeating the contents of the video, focus on introducing the story first.
- Make sure you draft guidelines so everyone feels confident about what they can share, and in what manner. Unlike many corporates bound by compliance rules, startup conferences like SaaStock can turn staff into brand ambassadors on LinkedIn.
Strategy 2: Speaker's LinkedIn Video Takeover
Alex Theuma (CEO of SaaStock) and Ana reached out to SaaStock speakers and asked them to create a short video themselves. "When doing that, make sure you clearly brief the speaker as to the requirements, maximum length, and where it will be posted", says Ana.
Once Alex and Ana had collected quality videos of their SaaStock speakers, they posted them on the SaaStock LinkedIn page and reshared via the team members' personal profiles and to SaaS-related LinkedIn groups.
Download the LinkedIn B2B Event Marketing Guide!
- It's okay to be funny and personal. Britta Schellenberg of Brightcove agrees as well. She shares some of her own insights in our post on why it's time to get personal on LinkedIn. If the video is funny, captivating, and unique, it gets more shares and views.
- SaaStock attracts speakers from around the world and as soon they started sharing videos about #SaaStock18, this helped introducing the brand to their own LinkedIn following across the pond. "We've seen spikes in views and page follows from LinkedIn members across the world, particular from those countries where the speakers are from.", adds Ana.
Strategy 3: Social Media Competition
This strategy worked great for SaaStock being a conference targeted at startups, but it can equally work for other conferences with some form of competition.
When Ana and her team asked 18 startup pitch semi-finalists to prepare a minute long pitch video which would be shared on the SaaStock LinkedIn and Facebook pages, they added a special twist. The startup with the most engagement on social media would get a special price (congrats to Veamly, though Feedier was a close runner-up due to its activity on LinkedIn)
You can see that all these pre-event marketing efforts not only created a buzz for a new brand, it also imprinted the #SaaStock18 hashtag into the minds of the audience, so everyone knew it and used it at the conference.
"We had our hashtag trending in Dublin for the first day of the conference!"
Event organizers can benefit greatly from utilizing video content. And the best storytelling goes beyond just words - it's visual and interactive.
Yes, the endgame is to get more butts to seats. But as you can see from Ana's example, it'll be much easier with a strong brand people know, trust, and cherish.
- If your event is mostly about networking, focus on social proof videos where participants are sharing what value they got from your event.
- Proud of the speakers you managed to win for your event and the knowledge they will share? Make sure to introduce them and their topics via video. Don't forget to tag people and companies, so they get notified when you're posting their videos.
- The most loyal attendees are those who come back year after year due the unique value your event is offering. Why not ask them to share their enthusiasm on video (like Turing Fest does).
- Do you need an influx of awesome volunteers? Sharing videos about them and their work at your event is a sure way to get many more talented people to work at your event (Example)
If you haven't done already, make sure to connect with Ana on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter. We've also created a B2B Event Marketing on LinkedIn guide, which you can download by clicking on the banner below. Enjoy!