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10 Ways LinkedIn Can Help Build Your Local Business

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Imagine standing at a local networking event and every second that passes, two more new people walked in the door. It would soon get packed!

This is exactly what is happening 24 hours a day on LinkedIn as 7,200 new members join ever hour. As the world’s largest professional network, with over 450 million members, LinkedIn offers a huge global business opportunity.

But can it be useful on a local level and can it help you build new relationships and grow your business or career? Yes!

LinkedIn is business focused unlike Facebook or Twitter where the lines are blurred. On LinkedIn it is understood that you are connecting for business purposes. Around 40% of LinkedIn’s 12 million Canadian members live in Ontario. A simple postcode ‘Advanced Search’ can connect you with people as close as a 15 km radius to your location or target area.

You can also search by industry, company, job title and specific keywords to accurately pinpoint the connections your business needs. It is important for you to be very clear about who you want to connect with and why.

With that in mind, here are my TOP TEN ways to use LinkedIn effectively;

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5 Helpful Tips For After Attending a Conference

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Travelling to my first European speaking engagement in Slovakia really opened my eyes to the benefits of being a ‘Conference Guerilla’. I was travelling almost 14,000 km in the space of 4 days to speak for approximately one and a half hours. Just like when going on vacation, I tried to clear the decks before I went. In the end a few things had to get left unfinished and I had to accept that.

It was most important to me to ensure that everything was taken care of back home. This was key to being able to focus on the conference and my wonderful girlfriend really stepped up and took on the responsibility for my two kids.  I am really grateful because I knew they were in good hands.

There are three distinct phases of conferences – Pre, During and After. In ‘How to be  a Conference Guerrilla – Part 1’, we looked at the pre-Conference activities and in ‘How to be  a Conference Guerrilla  – Part 2’ we discussed optimizing the time while at the conference.

Overall I felt that Pre & During I did a fairly good job. What I tend to find though is that once I return home, it can all start to fall apart.

So what happens once you get back home or to the office?

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7 Best Practices For Being a Conference Guerrilla

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The following story is an example of how the actions recommended in this series of articles can work for you. Whilst they are intended mostly for longer conferences they can apply and work equally well to one off events.

How to be a Conference Guerrilla – Part 1 – Pre-Conference can be read here. 

In our time-crunched lives and with the option of virtual events, physically attending conferences can be a hard decision to make.  Approach events with more than just looking at the speaker line up, the complimentary networking sessions or in some cases to get the professional development credits checked off.  Instead actually measure the ‘return on investment’ of attending a conference. Start using this mindset and you will see the value to your organization and your personal brand in getting out there.

I once went to hear Keith Ferrazzi, author of “Never Eat Alone” speak at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business. I learnt about the event from the organizer who had booked me to speak there a few months earlier.

I followed Keith’s advice in his book about ‘bumping‘ the speaker before they go on stage and engaging them quickly to gain a follow-up.  I had brought my copy of the book and asked him to ‘sign it before he became famous’ – a quote from the book. He commented that I had obviously read the book and I said it was (and still is) my most referred and recommended book on networking. I have even given several people copies as gifts.  I then told him that I would like the opportunity to follow up with him to discuss how to make his book the #1 business book in Canada. “Absolutely” he said and handed me his card.

As I walked away,  someone behind him had taken my lead and asked for their book to be signed.  I heard Keith ask the person….Read More »7 Best Practices For Being a Conference Guerrilla

How to spot a fake profile looking to connect on LinkedIn

You might be doing the same, without knowing.  A well taken and professional looking headshot is the first thing you notice when someone reaches out to connect on LinkedIn.  But just a cursory glance often makes you realise it is from one of the stock-photo services or a magazine which immediately makes me suspicious. Now not saying I am perfect and there may be a profile or two in my network that… Read More »How to spot a fake profile looking to connect on LinkedIn

Is your business card a turn on or turn off?

  I have just returned from speaking for the CCCA (the in-house counsel association) at the Canadian Bar Association's conference in beautiful Vancouver. We really could not have picked a better week for weather. Hello to everyone who has joined this e-zine from that event. Like me, you probably find at conferences that you encounter many different ways and means of people trying to communicate their message. Sponsors, trade booth… Read More »Is your business card a turn on or turn off?

Your Business Card is NOT a Queen of Spades

We love to play various card games. My kids especially love Crazy 8's, it's a fast paced game with the main goal to get rid of all your cards before any opponents. They get extra enthusiastic when they lay a card down that causes you as the next player to pick more cards up – especially the Queen of Spades, where the penalty is 5 extra cards!  Unfortunately at many… Read More »Your Business Card is NOT a Queen of Spades

What does your business card communicate about your brand?

Last week John Baird, Foreign Secretary and one of the Canadian governments leading figures, caused a bit of storm with a recent business card re-design.  He seems even to have strayed from the 'brand standards' that are recommended and his Chief of Staff even had to sign a disclaimer to formally acknowledge that his office was advised against the changes.  There is always the challenge of wanting to have a… Read More »What does your business card communicate about your brand?