The Value of LinkedIn for CVB Sales Professionals
LinkedIn is more than your online résumé. It is a professional social network geared toward finding leads, opportunities, connecting professionals, and sharing valuable industry research and news. Find out how you can make your LinkedIn profile stand out and work for you with some simple tips and tricks.
By the numbers
LinkedIn has 396M registered users with over 122M members in the US alone. It’s a professional network, so the activity within the channel is more geared toward finding leads, opportunities, connecting professionals by industry segment and disseminating various industry research and news. According to the Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI), 71% of meeting professionals use social media for work and LinkedIn is the only platform of the major social media sites where there are more users age 30 to 49 than 18 to 29, so when you seek out tourism industry professionals and meeting planners, you’re more likely to connect with established professionals. Plus, 58% of people believe LinkedIn is the most effective social media platform for B2B marketers. With LinkedIn being the business side of social, you obviously want to make sure you are on the right social channel, so go ahead and set up or get busy enhancing your existing profile and start making connections! For CVB sales professionals, having a presence on LinkedIn helps establish you as an experienced professional and provides a way to stay in touch with prospects.
A CVB Sales Professional’s Social Media Strategy for Success
- The first step is to make sure you have an updated profile. According to LinkedIn, users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to make more connections through LinkedIn. What makes your profile complete?
- Your industry and location
- An up-to-date current position and title (with a description)
- Two past positions
- Your education
- Your skills (minimum of 3)
- A current, professional photo (11 times more likely to get viewed)
- At least 50 connections
- Once you have your profile complete, add a summary: Your summary in essence is the ‘story of you.’ Share the vision you have for your role or organization. Then, add rich media like videos and presentations. This will enhance your exposure on LinkedIn and better showcase your story.
- Next, maximize your own (and your team’s) profile(s). Fill your profile with information about your background and expertise. Let prospects know what you are capable of. Post your civic involvement, your skills, the groups you are involved in, successful projects you have worked on and network to encourage current and former partners to write reviews on what you have helped them accomplish.
- Try to spend at least fifteen minutes each day connecting and building your network. The best method for making connections is to PERSONALIZE! Utilize offline networking opportunities at trade shows, meetings and events to meet people. Then, reach out to connect via LinkedIn. Make it personal. Don’t use the generic LinkedIn message. Instead, try “I saw you at the conference and I’d like to connect!” And, connect in a timely manner, i.e. after you’ve just returned from a conference or met someone with whom you want to connect with.
- Get connected to people in your sphere of influence (for meetings and groups, think reunion planners, association executives, state tourism representatives, etc.). Utilize the “get introduced” feature. This is an often overlooked but powerful feature of LinkedIn where you can connect with someone new by way of a connection in your network. According to LinkedIn, people are five times more likely to engage with you if the outreach is through a mutual connection. See who within your network is connected to your 2nd or 3rd degree connections and request an introduction.
- Create a business page for your organization to lend credibility and promote the DMO. Keep in mind that the power is in the crowd. Do you have others in your destination marketing organization who are on LinkedIn? If not, start a campaign for them to sign up! Or if you work at a CVB, create a company page and be a brand champion to get others in the CVB to join. Finally, if you already have an existing company page, review it and beef up the information to get the most out of its profile. Leverage the power of the organization.
- Join Meeting and Association groups on LinkedIn. Leave thoughtful, constructive comments in groups to set yourself apart as an expert in the industry. Here are articles, peers and all sorts of LinkedIn links and groups for meeting planners to get the process started!
- When you have an interaction with a connection or hear someone speak, etc. use LinkedIn to endorse prospects or post recommendations for a skill they have. It will endear you to them and they will potentially think of you next time they need help in planning their meeting.
- Consider using Showcase pages. Again, think about your DMO’s services and/or specialties. These can include photos, videos, descriptions, links, links to key personnel profiles, landing pages. Oh, the opportunities!
- Lastly, share Updates and publish Posts. This is your heartbeat. This is your way of letting others know you and your organization are alive and available. Not just alive, but leading: guiding conversations; asking questions about today and tomorrow; and sharing the latest news and your perspectives on tourism. Share your own events. Pat yourselves on the back with your own accolades and awards received. Scratch a partner’s back and you might see that they reciprocate. Leverage LinkedIn’s Publishing Platform to share long-form posts with your network and beyond. When you publish a post on LinkedIn, your content becomes part of your profile and is shared with everyone, even those outside of your network, often via LinkeIn’s robust email right to your prospects inbox! Attach media where applicable, such as photos of staff and CVB-owned video.
Your ultimate goal is visibility and top-of-mind awareness. When a need arises, you and your organization may be the go-to source for help or information. This is how you use LinkedIn to connect with and ultimately win over prospects as opportunities for success.