How to Turn Your URL LinkedIn Experience into a IRL (in real life) F2F meeting
I love social networking – but the truth is, most of my business comes when I meet someone face-to-face (f2f) or they see me speak. Having just returned from a speaking tour – let me share some of these tips with you.
1. Use the location (postal code) search in the Advanced Search to find people in your network that you know (but might have forgotten you knew) in the cities you are traveling to. This is especially true of big networks like mine – but I also find this strategy useful for smaller strategic networks as well.
I don’t know about you, but I simply don’t have the brain capacity to remember my entire network, much less where they live.
I just want to kick myself in the butt when I get back from a business trip or vacation and realize I missed out on meeting one of my good social media buds IRL because I didn’t do a really quick advanced search on LinkedIn before planning – or even heading out on my trip!
2. Search your Connections by location and send a message to the folks in the city you are traveling to letting them know you’ll be in town.
Within your connections you can also search your contacts by location. I will click on the location of the city I am heading to and then everyone who I am directly connected to in that city will show up. I can write to one or a few of them just by using the message feature. It takes about 5 minutes and it means you might be able to write off your vacation! Or at least dinner.
3. Use the location search to find Subject Matter Experts you want to know in the cities you are traveling to – see if you can buy them a drink.
I will use a combination of the keyword field and the Postal Code field to find Influencers or Thought Leaders in the town I am heading to. Best-case scenario – they agree to let me buy them a drink (although NOT to pick their brain!) But even if they don’t have time, sometimes they will refer me to one of their friends who does have the time and is looking to expand their IRL network.
4. Use the location search to find vendors who can help you in the city you are traveling to for better service, and sometimes better pricing.
My girlfriend Laurie Macomber of BluesSkiesMarketing.com taught me this one. She was setting up an event in another town she was not familiar with and needed beer from a rather obscure brewery. She used LinkedIn to connect with the president of the travel bureau who introduced her to the head of the brewery who ended up donating the beer!
5. Use the location search to find potential clients you know in the cities you are traveling to – and see if you can get that f2f meeting since you are in their city.
When I am traveling to a city (for a speaking gig or consult) I will also check if any of my potential clients are in the town I am going to. I find I have a higher closing ratio when I can meet with someone F2F. And they are impressed that I flew all that way to see them.
6. Use the “My Travel” app (TripIt) – to let people in your network know where you are going to be so they can contact YOU for a meeting.
If you haven’t tried the “My Travel” app on LinkedIn yet, it’s worth the download. You simply upload you travel cities and dates and it lets your network know when you will be in the same city. A great way to spend that 6-hour layover in Chicago!
Its possible you could walk over to the neighboring concourse and have a drink with a LinkedIn contact also stuck in Chicago for 6 hours
7. Check out location specific groups on LinkedIn and see if you can connect with some locals that way.
I got this idea from Stacy Zapar who will do this for her recruiting. Find a group in a town you are heading to – especially if it’s a town that you visit often (but is not your own.) Join a location specific LinkedIn group there and start making friends. (You can also do this using meetup.com)
8. If you have any questions regarding lodging, travel or vendors for an event in the city you are traveling to – use LinkedIn Answers to ask the locals for their help and recommendations.
I learned this one from Guy Kawasaki who was at an even and realized he had forgotten the power source for his Mac. He posted a question is Answers “Is anyone going to be at (conference name) who could lend me a Mac power source?” Of course people were bending over backwards to lend him there’s!
I have used this strategy too (also with Twitter) with positive results.
Now if only someone wanted to give me their Mac book Air…..
9. Use LinkedIn Signal to start a conversation with a local.
If you go to www.linkedin.com/signal, you can search via location. See who posting updates and tweets in your network that is in the city you are traveling to. Make a new friend!
10. Use LinkedIn company search to see if you can get some insider information or contacts at a local company – especially if they might become a client or employer.
11. If they won’t or don’t respond to you on LinkedIn, send them an @message on Twitter using the Twitter address on their profile
12. Use the Here on Biz iPhone app (Android coming soon). Don’t know Here on Biz? You should! See below – and join our chat on Tuesday June 19th to learn more about it! 5 PM PST
Here on Biz
Here on Biz is an absolutely fantastic application that connects to a person’s LinkedIn account, giving them instant visibility into professionals around them. Think of it as Foursquare for business. But much more useful and applicable to active LinkedIn users.
I love the idea of being able to see and connect with business professionals who I am geographically close to, either in my own hometown, or when I’m traveling. The check-in feature seems to be very popular with the Foursquare and Facebook crowd, so it might catch on here. More useful to me is the ability to click on a local’s LinkedIn profile and request a connection or chat with them.
Can I open up a browser when I am on the road, sign into LinkedIn, open the Advanced search, type in the area code of the town I am in, see who might be in my network and send them an invitation or see who I might be connected to and send them a message? Sure. If I happen to have my computer and an Internet connection and 5 to 10 minutes. OR I could just open up my Here On Biz app and see who is in my area and send them a message or an invitation.
In the LinkedIn world I’m what’s known as a LION or LinkedIn open networker. Which means I have a gigantic network. The problem is, even thought I have the visibility on LinkedIn to be seen by many more people, the usability of my network is somewhat decreased. With the Here on Biz app I have an awesome opportunity to actually connect and build relationships with my relevant first level connections when they come to my town, or when I go to theirs. Where my network’s geographic location is not stamped into my memory, it is visible in this app. All I have to do is click on the finder and choose who I want to reach out to. Ten seconds tops. Awesome.
As I wrote in my blog article, the best way to communicate on LinkedIn isn’t through LinkedIn; it’s through face-to-face meetings if you can get them. Hear on Biz helps you get those face-to-face meetings! I’m off to New Jersey next week and I can’t wait to test it in a bigger city. Impromptu coffee meetings here I come!
There are a few more features like the Indulge and Event feature that I wasn’t able to try out since Fort Collins is not a thriving metropolis of millions, but even without the full interactivity of this app I see its huge potential. Plus – it’s just a darn good-looking app!
Here on Biz will absolutely become part of my connecting, relationship building, and marketing arsenal. I recommend it become part of yours as well.
But don’t take my word for it… Check out the people in the business world already using it in the two and a half weeks since it was released:
- A Co-Founder of LinkedIn downloaded the app
- The Founder of YPN is using the app
- The CEO of Path is using the app
- A Marketing Manager at Apple is using the app
- Its been downloaded in 18+ countries.
- PandoDaily, Recruiter.com, SF Chron, SF Gate, Seattle PI, Lalawag, all wrote articles on Here on Biz
- The NBC Universal Manager of Engagement/digital products and services is using app
- A principal designer at LinkedIn is using app
- The Director of Worldwide mobile strategy at Walmart is using the app
- The top 3 most connected people on LinkedIn have just downloaded the app
For heaven’s sake – why haven’t you downloaded the app yet? Right now its only available for the iPhone, but Nick assures me the Android app is on its way. And besides that – we have the founder – Nick Smoot on the #LinkedInChat with us Tuesday night at 5 PM PST, 8 PM EST. He is an awesome guy and you are going to love the app.
Q1: So tell us a bit about yourself Nick!
Q2: Why did you come up with HereOn.Biz?
Q3: Can’t I do everything that HereOn.biz does on LinkedIn?
Q4: What feedback have you received so far?
Q5: Do both parties have to use HereOn.Biz to see each other?
Q6: Any plans for an Android or Blackberry version?
Q7: What is Indulge?
Q8: Does anyone else have any questions for Nick?
Transcript for tonight can be found here: http://beta.hashtracking.com/ht-pro-rpt/cjeffers-linkedinchat-2012-06-19/
If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can download Here on Biz here: http://hereon.biz
Viveka von Rosen, Founder of Linked Into Business
Author of LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day