I love social networking, but let’s face it; a lot of business still comes from Chamber networking and Association events and the resulting face-to-face coffees and meetings. So here’s how to make the most of LinkedIn at your next meeting, conference or event.
1. Use the Location (postal code) Search
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. Use the location search in LinkedIn’s Advanced Search to find people in your network that you know (but might have forgotten you knew) at your organization, or in the cities you are traveling to. This is especially useful for big networks like mine – but my clients with smaller networks also find this strategy helpful.
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 (In Real Life) because I didn’t do a really quick advanced search on LinkedIn before planning – or even heading out on my trip!
2. Join Your Chamber’s LinkedIn Group
Check out Chamber/Association or location specific groups on LinkedIn and see if you can connect with the locals that way. Even though I am always on the road, I like to see what is happening with the members of my local Chambers. Fortunately both the Loveland Chamber and the Fort Collins Chamber have groups on LinkedIn which means I can keep an eye on the activity, promotions and discussions of the Chamber and its members.
Because of the handy “group message” function, I can easily send another group member a message, even if they are not a 1st level connection, to see how they are doing and maybe book a coffee.
3. Use LinkedIn Signal
If you go to www.linkedin.com/signal, you can search member’s updates by keyword, and also by location.
See who is posting updates in your city – or in the city you might be traveling to. The nice thing about Signal is that you are not restricted by relationship. As long as someone’s post shows up, you can like, comment on and share it. And that starts the engagement process
4. Use the Here on Biz iPhone app (Android coming soon)
Don’t know “Here on Biz”? You should! It’s an amazing app that shows you who in your network are in or near the town you are in or at the event you are attending. So even if you forget to do an Advanced Postal Code search, you can still get similar information on your phone, and even send a message or connect with the person on LinkedIn right from the same screen!
5. Use the Cardmunch App
Cardmunch allows you to take a snapshot of an Association member’s business card, and then invite them to connect, or send them a message, or an email, or phone them, right from your screen. It’s a great way to manage and keep in touch with other members on LinkedIn.
There are many ways to use LinkedIn to engage and connect with other Chamber and Association members. But these five techniques will help you to strategically keep in touch even when you can’t make a meeting! But still, try and make your meetings because nothing is better for business than IRL!