Have you ever tried to get to know the person behind their LinkedIn profile?
As a social networking site, LinkedIn is popular with professionals. With the platform’s ability to connect with colleagues, prospective clients, recruiters and acquaintances amongst others, it is easy to connect and build online relationships. However, this overreliance easily leads to offline networking being seriously neglected. Therefore, it is important to combine online networking, with getting to know your LinkedIn contacts through offline networking.
Last week, I attended a brand-new event called LinkedIn Local Liverpool, which was held in Hinterlands in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle. Devised by Leon McCowan of Your Business Mobiles, who is a prominent networker in Liverpool, the purpose of this event was to allow local LinkedIn users to meet and network face-to-face, build relationships and learn from a variety of speakers. As well as being a networking event with a difference, it also included a charitable element, with registrants donating to The Whitechapel Centre, which is a charity that supports homeless people in Liverpool.
The event opened with a brief introduction by Julianna Petkovic from The Whitechapel Centre, on the important work they do in supporting the homeless. This was followed by a series of brief, educational and energetic talks by Pam Case from LinkedOffline (who host really good events), Dave Verburg of Asentiv (another of the most connected networkers in Liverpool) and finally James Wallis and Jeanne Hatton from Wirral Digital. From listening and taking in the knowledge and insights of each speaker, I was not only able to consolidate my own LinkedIn knowledge, but it was also a timely and useful reminder of the importance of offline networking, as the effects can be rewarding when both are combined!
I have previously mentioned how you can get the best out of LinkedIn. Therefore, I found this event to be a useful and rewarding experience, as it is important to balance online and offline networking, and there were other takeaways, which I have learned and added to my networking armoury. To give you a flavour, I have included some examples below.
- Try to get to know the person behind the LinkedIn profile.
- Remember to be your genuine self both online and offline.
- Build relationships first, as networking is about collaboration.
- Turn your posts into conversations, ask questions and include pictures.
- Remember to listen and respect the opinions of others.
- With the LinkedIn mobile app, you can search for others using Bluetooth technology.
- Make use of filtered LinkedIn searches, as this is a powerful tool.
- Storytelling is everything.
- LinkedIn and offline networking are about how you can help others.
From what I learned and have taken away from the evening, I was delighted to attend the event. For a networking enthusiast like myself, I was delighted to attend and catch up with many familiar faces. It was also a pleasure to make new connections, including Alex McCann and Kirsty James from LinkedIn Local Manchester (hopefully a potential and prosperous future partnership linking both of our great cities, and the Northern Powerhouse).
I would like to thank Leon for devising the event, which also helped to raise over £450 for The Whitechapel Centre. My thanks also go to Alex Clark and Ciara Hutchison of Professional Liverpool, Elaine Courtney of Courtney Recruitment, photographer Arthur Gold, and to Dave, Pam, James and Jeanne for sharing their expertise. This was an event of positive energy which was so infectious, that I loved it, and I certainly would attend another one very soon.
To conclude, I would like to leave you with the following questions.
- How do you use LinkedIn?
- What value can you bring and add to the lives of others?
- Does your LinkedIn profile accurately reflect who you genuinely are?
- How do you want your LinkedIn audience to interact with you?
- Do you try and measure how productive your networking relationships are?
- Do you get to know LinkedIn and other contacts offline?
Thanks for reading!