LinkedIn Events closure: probably doesn’t matter

So
the LinkedIn events function is being discontinued? In all honesty, it
probably doesn’t matter because it’s unlikely that it ever helped to
attract any attendees to any conference or exhibition. In that respect
it was no different to the events function in Facebook.
 
There
will be some who are probably already composing their rebuttal of that
statement but the reality lies in the fact that Facebook is a social
medium, not a professional medium. For example, the English Civil War
re-enactment group, Fairfax Battalia, uses Facebook very successfully.
They will create a page in FB for an event at which they are appearing.
The person who creates these pages will invite all the members who are
on FB. Some will go to the page and click to say they will or they won’t
attend. As the event gets closer, people (and bear in mind, all of
these people, are friends) start discussing aspects of the event through
the FB page: there’s going to be a party on Saturday night or has
anybody got space in their authentic tent for the herbalist or is all
the kit for the kitchen on the van and so on. It works but this isn’t a
conference. It’s a social group.
 
In another case, somebody may
be organising a triathlon or a fun run and they send out invitations to
as many people as they can think of. The people who sign up for the
event will have friends who will also be taking part so they send the
link on and they, in turn, pass the link on to other people. Some of
them will start discussing aspects of the event but the key point is
that, like the Fairfax event page, this page will provide something that
is not obtainable easily anywhere else.
 
The upshot of all of
this is that pages like these, within the limitations of the membership,
will be successful because the participants are friends and have a
restricted, but shared interest. It’s the easiest way for them to get
more information.
 
So what does this mean for exhibition or
conference event pages, whether on FB or LinkedIn? The reality is that
the latter offer nothing of value that cannot be found on the
organiser’s promotional webpage. Have you looked at a page on FB
promoting a trade show or a conference? It’s highly unlikely that there
will be anything of value in it, no matter how hard the organiser has
tried to promote it. Pretty much everything on the FB page will be
available on the event website.
 
Promoters of social media talk
about ‘engaging’ people through social media. It only works in a social
context. On LinkedIn, even if a thread is in one of the specialist
groups such as MPI, interest is so low that it looks successful if half a
dozen people get involved. Facebook is even less likely to get a
result.
 
Fortunately there is a growing realisation among
organisers that this is the case. On just one recent thread in LinkedIn,
comments included ‘Our experience is that B2B doesn’t work on
Facebook.’, ‘I work with primarily B2B clients who have yet to find a
way of getting any benefit out of Facebook and Twitter’ and ‘we have not
yet reaped the benefits of B2B on Facebook’.
 
I suspect that
most organisers will heave a sigh of relief on hearing that LinkedIn is
discontinuing its events function because it’s something they don’t have
to bother with anymore.

– Ken Clayton, Director at RefTech. Any comments? Email cmw@mashmedia.net

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Conference News hosts great guests on its pages. Our Blog section is the collection of the best opinions in the UK and international events industry.

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