1 New Online Tool You’ll Want to Carry Everywhere You Go

Whether you are using LinkedIn to generate new business or improve your industry network, ultimately it’s ideal if those online relationships eventually develop into face-to-face interactions that improve your professional life.

LinkedIn recently updated its Terms of Service and announced a new feature that could help you facilitate moving  your networking capabilities from the digital sphere to real life quicker than ever.

LinkedIn’s Latest Feature – “Discover Members Nearby”

It’s called “Discover Members Nearby,” and it allows LinkedIn (in conjunction with your mobile phone) to pop up the names and profiles of your 1st Level connections who are located nearby based on your current location.

(Related: LinkedIn Lead Generation Tips)

Getting Real-Time with LinkedIn

“We’re constantly exploring new ways to help you maximize the benefits of LinkedIn. One of the features that we’re excited to be working on, is the ability to find other LinkedIn members nearby using your mobile device,” LinkedIn noted in announcing the new technology. “This feature will provide you with opportunities to network with other LinkedIn members at conferences, events, and more in your proximity.”

For your privacy and safety, this will be an opt-in feature that you must choose to enable on the LinkedIn mobile app, and you can also control how long your location is shared with other members.

For example, you can turn this feature on during a conference or trade show, helping you meet up with other LinkedIn contacts who are also attending the conference or show.

(Here’s more info from a LinkedIn Help page explaining how it all works.)

LinkedIn’s New Feature – Creepy or Creative?

LinkedIn is all about leveraging a treasure trove of personal and professional data to practice 1-on-1, personalized marketing.

And, if your goal is landing new business, that process often involves meeting with and talking to people “in real life” – not just on the web.

(Related: LinkedIn Training for Business)

If that describes your situation, then you’ll definitely want to jump into LinkedIn’s “Discover Members Nearby” feature so you can start taking advantage of timing, location and circumstances more often.

Building Trust and Likability

The great thing is that LinkedIn can help you facilitate business conversations no matter what stage you’re at in your professional relationships.

For example, if you want to connect with and message someone you don’t know, you should take a quick scan of that person’s profile and find a way to break the ice using a conversation starter that doesn’t have anything to do with business.

Maybe it’s where he or she went to school, or where he or she lives. The idea is to find a unique and personal way to being a new conversation.

The same is necessary if you connected with a contact in person.  For example, you can use “Discover Members Nearby,”  and see a prospect located nearby pop up when you’re working at a coffee shop, and you can ask them to meet up.  Before they get there, you can look over their profile to get the scoop on who they are, what they do, and discover some ice breakers to kick off the conversation.

Moreover, when you ask someone about his or her hobbies, passions and interests outside of work, it helps build a relationship and context around something important to him or her, which again helps you stand out in that person’s memory. It also paves the way for future conversations as a friendly, non-work theme you can weave into each one.

LinkedIn = Bigger and Better

With 500 million members, LinkedIn is the place where your ideal customers are already hanging out looking for resources, news, training, potential vendors and more.

Since Microsoft acquired LinkedIn back in 2016 for $26.2 billion, the two companies have promised to integrate as many of their products and services as possible, meaning more innovative features and enhancements are likely on the way.

Make sure you stay on top of the latest developments, because new features like “Discover Members Nearby” are designed to make it even easier for you to find, engage and win new business using LinkedIn – both online and in real life!