Is LinkedIn redundant now we’re back to face to face networking?
Not on your nelly!!
Are you back face to face networking? I am and it’s great to be seeing people in the flesh again as it were!
For many of you, myself included, face-to-face business networking is a valuable marketing activity. I like to be part of a community of people that I can meet face to face and really get to know.
So now that lockdown is over (for now at least!) many of us are finally getting back to meeting face to face.
But this doesn’t mean that LinkedIn is redundant! Far from it. For me LinkedIn and networking go hand in glove.
I bang on a lot about LinkedIn being the closest thing to face to face networking, because LinkedIn works in very much the same way as networking does.
I liken LinkedIn to networking in 3 ways:
- Your profile represents you in a physical network
- Your connections are the people you network with
- What you post and who you engage with on LinkedIn represent the conversations you have at face to face events
In fact, I was recently interviewed by Dana Raer from Mouthy Money as part of her research and discussion for what is the ‘new normal’ for successful networking.
And one of the things I said is to treat LinkedIn like a networking group, because it allows you to meet people that you couldn’t meet physically networking.
You can check out Dana’s article here (and let me know what you think to my bit. I'm the only one on video!)
So how can you use LinkedIn to support your face-to-face networking efforts?
1. Update your LinkedIn profile.
It’s a great source of what I call ‘indirect’ leads. As often I will be contacted by people who say they’ve been recommended to get in touch by someone we both know. So your profile needs to position you as the expert and how you help.
(If you haven’t already check out my LinkedIn Profile ebook here)
2. Who are you networking with?
Before an event you often get a list of other attendees. Check them out on LinkedIn to learn more about who you are networking with and perhaps identify people you would particularly like to meet. You could even send a pre-networking message/connection request on LinkedIn introducing yourself and saying that you are looking forward to meeting them.
3. Use the LinkedIn QR code option
During the networking, use the LinkedIn QR code option on the LinkedIn mobile app to quickly find and connect with someone on LinkedIn.
4. Follow up!
Everything, they say, is in the follow up. And this is true for both LinkedIn and networking.
The first thing I do is ensure I connect on LinkedIn if I’m not already. And of course, having met someone face to face networking, it’s a great way to personalise your connection request. If I am already connected, then I send a follow-up message via LinkedIn to say how great it was to meet them or see them again. And if you didn’t do it in the meeting, perhaps ask them for a one-to-one to get to know them better.
5. Maximise those one-to-ones
Often, it’s not the people you network with but who they know. If you schedule a one-to-one meeting, ensure you maximise the meeting by reviewing their LinkedIn connections prior to the meeting to see if they know anyone you would like to be introduced to. And of course, reciprocate – ask your network connection to review your connections before the meeting. Then at the meeting, you can talk through who you both know to see if there is anyone that you could introduce each other to.