The Importance of LinkedIn for Experiential Marketing
I hear lots of things about LinkedIn. Good things. Bad things. Indifferent. And depending on your profession and how often you use it, all three of those analogies would probably be right for the world’s largest professional network.
In event marketing, we are always looking for jobs. We need to use every job resource at our finger tips to give us jobs that will help pay our bills and keep us financially afloat – even if it’s only for a few months.
Work can become scarce in experiential marketing. Competition can become fierce. At no time can any person, who makes experiential marketing a full time profession, afford to not use any and all websites and mediums to secure the next job, gig, or on-going promotion.
As a member of the LinkedIn community for several years now, I have come to notice that LinkedIn is a little ‘dry’ on the experiential marketing side. Yes, there are a few jobs that involve experiential, event, and promotional marketing, but not to any significant degree.
Let’s face it: People who work in event marketing hate offices.
LinkedIn is filled with jobs for people who love offices.
So, I guess the real question to ask here, for everyone who works in a field as diverse and fast-moving as experiential marketing, is should anyone who works in events or as a brand ambassador even get a LinkedIn profile?
Is getting a LinkedIn profile really important?
Should you really take the effort to put your resume and experience on LinkedIn?
Should you now go and reconnect with all your Facebook friends on LinkedIn and build up yet another social-media presence on yet another website?
Those of you reading this article may now ask: ‘John, have you ever gotten an experiential job or event gig from LinkedIn?’
Answer: No. I have never gotten a job directly via LinkedIn.
However, I have gotten jobs indirectly via LinkedIn.
Like any social media platform, LinkedIn is not perfect. It is filled with lots of people posting lots of stuff, primarily job related, in a sea of other job related postings, professionals, and articles. It’s easy to get lost in the clutter as both a job seeker and a potential new-hire.
You won’t find too many ‘brand ambassador,’ ‘guerilla marketing,’ or even ‘tour manager’ gigs on LinkedIn. LinkedIn posters seem to preference the more traditional 9-to-5 jobs, given to permanent, potential full-time employees who have years of office and professional experience behind them. Temporary employees, day-labor work, gigs, and one-off events seem to take the back burner on LinkedIn.
So, if getting experiential and event marketing jobs on LinkedIn is slim to none, then why even look for jobs on LinkedIn? Why apply? Why should you take the time to set up and organize your resume on yet another job search engine?
Answer: Because people like to spy on other people.
Employers want to know who you are. They want to know what you’ve done and where you’ve been. They want to know that you are not just another job seeker but a real potential candidate to hire. Employers are people – and they like to spy on their employees and potential employees.
Even though you may have applied for the job on Craigslist, Mandy, Indeed, or Eventspeak, your submitted resume is only one piece of your presence in today’s modern world. Employers like to see what else you have done. They want to know your online presence, be it large or small. Understanding your colleagues is good for business.
When you set up a LinkedIn account and it’s formatted well, you’ll be surprised how many people start to look at your profile. Even when you apply to jobs from other job search engines, your LinkedIn account will suddenly spike in views.
With that being the case, the following are some tips that I have found useful when setting up a LinkedIn profile page. Mind you, everyone’s version may vary, but these are simply helpful hints that have become useful for me in my everyday LinkedIn life.
Make your background info concise:
People are lazy. Many won’t read your entire resume. Instead, they’ll read the first thing they see when they click on your LinkedIn resume. This will be your Background Information.
This isn’t information regarding your arrest record. On LinkedIn, Background Information pertains to a section, just above the resume, where you can write about what you have done and accomplished in your experiential career.
Some people write lengthy paragraphs describing where they come from professionally, what they have done, what they can do, and what type of career path they are looking for. Others keep their B.I. simple, with a catch phrase or statement that sums up their persona in a nutshell.
There is no right or wrong way to write your B.I., but make it simple and to the point. Ask yourself this question: ‘If someone were to ask me what I do for a living, what would I tell them?”
Let’s face it: A career choice in experiential marketing is a field that many folks outside of the field know little about. Help your reader understand what it is that you do and that your role in the working world is just as important as anyone else’s.
Keep your resume accurate:
Be up to date, truthful and honest with your resume. Make sure that you put down as much as you can in regards to agency, client, and duties performed.
List all the agencies you worked for and all the clients you worked for with that agency. Remember that experiential marketing agencies come and go like the wind. Many that you started working with in the beginning of your career may no longer be in existence. Clients will most likely still be around. So make sure that clients are on your LinkedIn profile too.
Keep in mind that the hiring recruiter might not know the ABC agency that is posted on your resume – but they will know what Coca-Cola, Verizon, and Chevy are. Your resume needs to be relatable to everyone who reads it – not just you.
An accurate listing of dates and times is important too. The weeks, months and potential years you may have worked for a particular agency or client shows your commitment and follow through of the endeavor you undertook. It says that you can start something and finish something – a huge bonus in the experiential world.
Important Tip: If you work in experiential marketing, it would be heavily advisable to not post a job you are currently employed with on LinkedIn.
Your enemies (or just those individuals in the industry who are jealous and suspicious) can use this information against you. Unscrupulous managers and brand ambassadors seeking retribution (for when you forgot his lunch break at last month’s event) have been known to contact employers with incriminating and/or false information for the sole purpose of watching you get terminated from your current employment.
Personally, I have had photos of me at events during personal off-time used against me by attempting to convince my current employer that I ‘wasn’t working’ when I actually was. These photos were actually sent by a rival tour manager attempting to attain my position. Not fun!
Another reason why it is a good idea to avoid posting current employment is that you don’t want your current employer finding out that you are seeking other work – even if it’s future work.
It would be fool hardy to know that a current promotional gig is coming to an end within a few weeks and not begin the process of searching for future work. However, this is activity that is best left out of the eyes of current colleagues and co-workers.
Even though they may not be 100% committed to you, experiential agencies like to feel as though you are 100% committed to them. Don’t give them a reason to think otherwise.
According to certain contracts, contacting other employers or agencies may be a conflict of interest and you might find yourself searching for a new job sooner than you think.
Keep your language sharp:
“An economy of words. A wealth of information”… I have always loved that quote, and honestly, it best describes the way you should write on LinkedIn.
Keep the amount of words you use short and sweet but keep the language bold and informative.
Highlight the skills and roles you want others to see. Job positions such as Tour manager, event coordinator, team lead, and market manager are great positions to have in the experiential marketing world. Make sure others see that you have worked them.
When describing your work-day duties, don’t become obsessed with details and event specifics, but focus on those areas of your day which required the most attention and experience. If you coordinated brand ambassador schedules, then state as such. Coordinating schedules and lunches is not an easy task. Everyone in event marketing has a story of someone whose lunch schedule was cut short or non-existent due to mismanagement.
Your ability to say what you have done and who you have worked for speaks volumes to your character and work ethic.
Don’t simply write: “Tour Manager – ABC Promotions – I managed the tour”
Yes. People reading the phrase “Tour Manager” on your resume already know that you managed the tour. But what did you do as manager? How did you manage? What and who did you manage?
We have a short time in life to tell others who we are and what we did. Heck, the whole reason you would even have a resume on LinkedIn is to sell yourself to a future employer. So put yourself out there!
“Tour Manager – ABC Promotions – Managing operations of experiential campaigns at live events; Hiring up to 12 Brand Ambassadors; vehicle delivery; consumer engagement; premium distribution; lead generation and recaps”
Perfect? By no means. But it’s definitely a step up from the one above. It explains what you did as a tour manager. It gives people a generalization of your actions.
You can organize your resume as you see fit. Feel free to use bullet points or asterisks to highlight specific responsibilities. There is no right or wrong. Just make sure you have it organize and legible for those who read it.
After all, having others read your resume is the whole reason you go on LinkedIn in the first place.
Clear photo of your face:
It doesn’t have to be a Hollywood headshot, but it does have to display some act of professionalism. My photo on LinkedIn was actually taken at a photo booth in the LA convention center for a data capture promotional event.
You’d be surprised how many photos on LinkedIn profiles are blurry, silly, at a far distance, or have other people included in the photo with them. LinkedIn is supposed to be a website for ‘professionals.’ Treat your photos as such.
If your name is common, a photo is a sure-fire way to confirm to the person viewing your profile that they are viewing the right one. You don’t want anyone to get you confused with the ‘John Smith’ living two towns over from you.
Just put a nice, clear shot of your face for your profile. People want to see what you look like. The internet can be very impersonal. Having a personal touch to your LinkedIn profile makes you more than just a resume – it makes you a person.
We’ve all done a little ‘Google spying’ in our off time, to folks both personal and professional that we want to know more about. Our reasons for this action are numerous, but the fact that we are still spying remains the same.
With all this spying going on, wouldn’t it be nice to have something good and honest that someone can spy on? If you knew that you were inevitably going to be spied on via the internet, wouldn’t it be nice to know that the information they are spying on you about is actually something that you want them to see?
If employers, co-workers, friends and future work relations are going to spy on you, give them something you want them to see. Give them a person whose proud of their endeavors and is not afraid in having others see what they have accomplished so far in their life.
Never be shy! That doesn’t mean you show off and bloat accomplishments and careers that never existed. It means that you are honest and unapologetic of the career and job choices you made to put you where you are today.
Be proud of your experience. Be proud of your ability to work and accomplish something – even if it was only for a short time. You work is your talent come to life. Use LinkedIn to help you shine a little brighter!