12 Most Useful Ways to Use LinkedIn When You Travel
I often use LinkedIn to find candidates for clients, vendors, JV partners and affiliates. But one of the best things to do with LinkedIn is find individuals to meet with face to face (F2F.) However, even if you live in or near a big city, it’s not always the local person who is the perfect person.
Fortunately my job allows for a lot of travel, and so I put my LinkedIn search strategies and travel togetherto came up with “The 12 Most Useful Ways to Use LinkedIn When You Travel” Or as I like to say: “How to turn your URL LinkedIn experience into a IRL (in real life) F2F meeting.” And you don’t have to travel as much as I do to make it work. Any trip you take – even a family vacation – can result in a game-changing meeting.
1. Use the location search to find people you know (but might have forgotten you knew) in the cities you are traveling to – and take them out to dinner
Under “Contacts” and “My Connections” you will see a hyperlink that reads “Locations”. Scroll down through “Locations” (only the locations of people in your network will be listed) to see if the place you are traveling to is listed. If it is, just click on the link, and LinkedIn will list everyone in your network who has that place listed as their primary residence. Is there someone there you have lost touch with who you can call for dinner or a coffee?
2. Use the location search to find people your network (but not your first level connections) that you can connect with F2F
The “Advanced” search has a “Postal Code” field that allows you to do a search for individuals within as few as 5 miles of a zip or postal code – in over 200 countries. So wherever you are traveling, whether it’s local or international, you can find someone to meet with!
3. Use the location search to find subject matter experts (SME’s) you want to know in the cities you are traveling to – see if you can buy them a drink
Using the same method as above – simply add industry or subject keywords in the keyword section to find thought leaders who might be in your network. You might have to spring for an InMail or Introduction to connect with them – but wouldn’t it be worth it if they did agree to meet with you? What’s the worst they can say?
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
I learned this one from my friend Laurie Macomber of Blue Skies Marketing. She had a client at a huge tradeshow in Orlando who decided last minute they needed a particular product – hard to get – at the show. She was able to find a local vendor in Orlando who not only provided the product, but at a better price and without exorbitant shipping fees. She made a new contact through LinkedIn (who she continued to use) and her clients were VERY happy with her.
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
Sometimes being a prophet in your own town is not all its cracked up to be. Conversely, traveling a distance to work with a client sometimes appears more impressive than it really is (especially if you are heading to their town anyway.) I find that when I let a client or prospect know I am traveling ALL THE WAY to their town, it is much easier to get a meeting with them. My ability to meet with a prospect on one of my recent trips resulted in landing the contract. They were very clear I would not have received the work had I not gone out to see them F2F. Even the work I will be doing for them is entirely virtual!
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
I’ll be honest that I had forgotten the usefulness of this little tool until I decided to write this article and jumped back in it for the first time in a year. TripIt not only tells you when your connections are traveling – but lets them know as well. And what else are you going to do on the 6 hour layover in Phoenix? Might as well meet with a LinkedIn connection that also has a layover in Phoenix at the same time! Alan Martin, an Oracle professional, uses TripIt to plan and organize trips with colleagues in order to facilitate meetings and save on resources and expenses.
7. Check out location specific groups on LinkedIn and see if you can connect with some locals that way
LinkedIn makes it a little difficult to get in touch with folks in your network that are not directly connected to you. (You have to ask to be Introduced or pay LinkedIn money for an InMail.) One thing you can do is send messages to members with whom you share a group. So if you can find and join a local group – you have a much better chance of being able to send a message and connect with a local. In the “Groups Directory” just type in the town you are visiting and LinkedIn will give you a listing of groups with that have the city listed in their name or description. (It helps if you can speak the language of the city you are traveling to!)
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
Forget your power source? Need to know where the locals eat? Concerned about where it is safe – and not safe to travel when you are traveling in a new city? Ask your network. And meet some new people while you are at it!
9. Use LinkedIn signal to start a conversation with a local
You can use the LinkedIn Signal search to find people who live in the city you are traveling to – and simply respond to their update (any update really) with a comment of your own! I find people are pretty nice on LinkedIn and will usually respond – even if its not the answer you want. This is also a great way to connect with people who are not directly connected to you.
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
Use “Search Companies” under “Company” to find some hot prospects in a town you are traveling to. And then check to see if you know anyone who works there. You just never know!
11. Simply write an update letting people know where you are traveling – someone might reach out to you!
In the update section, simply tell people where you are going, and why, and what some of your needs might be. I find people love to pay it forward.
12. If someone won’t or doesn’t respond to you on LinkedIn, send them an @message on Twitter using the Tweets application
I know this will be totally shocking, but some of you use Twitter more than LinkedIn! Might as well reach out in both places. And you can do it right from within LinkedIn in the “Tweets” application.
So there you go – new ways to use LinkedIn when you travel! If you have used it in a way I haven’t mentioned here I would love to hear your ideas and experiences as well!
Ciao, Bon Voyage, Cheers and see ya soon y’all!
Featured image courtesy of The Wandering Angel via Creative Commons.