In May 2017, Australian businesswoman Anna McAfee, though well-connected online, found herself missing the traditional face-to-face interactions among colleagues. Frustrated with the grind of social media connections, she made a simple yet powerful post to her own LinkedIn profile encouraging others to come meet her for coffee. Along with this post she included a hashtag that would change the face of the professional social network: #LinkedInLocal.
An Idea Turns Into a Global Movement
That first meeting kindled the flame for a massive global movement of business people fed up with too much screen time. Spanning 500 cities in over 80 countries, the LinkedIn Local network includes 100,000 members whose connections were brought to life. There are only so many boxes to fill out on a LinkedIn profile. And just a year after Anna McAfee’s iconic hashtag, we began to see not only others, but also ourselves, as more than just a profile. For attendees of LinkedIn Local events:
- 90 percent made new connections, on and offline.
- 52 percent learned something new or gained insight.
- 34 percent walked away with not just new connections, but new friends.
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LinkedIn Local Can Help You Build Your Career
For those of us caught up in the “hustle and grind” of our careers, taking a step back to admire the people behind the achievements can be a task we willfully ignore. Our obsession with social media eventually puts up proverbial blinders for us when it comes to valuing in-person interactions, but smart business people understand that these face-to-face meetings are more important than ever. When arriving to a LinkedIn Local meetup, we don’t have our profile to speak for us; it’s our personalities (and maybe a sticky name tag) that we’re showing first and foremost. Among members and hosts of the LinkedIn Local movement:
- 89 percent said they would recommend future LinkedIn Local gatherings to their friends, colleagues and even family members.
- 95 percent of hosts say they plan on hosting more LinkedIn Local meetups in the future.
- 89 percent say they would encourage others to host their own meetup.
Related Article: Are LinkedIn's Groups Changes Too Little, Too Late?
LinkedIn Advancements Enhance Your Experience
Just like our personal Facebook or Twitter accounts can turn into an echo chamber, the same is true for LinkedIn. The longer we go following the same people and interacting with the same connections day in and day out, the more depersonalized the whole experience begins to feel.
Building on the entrepreneur’s natural inclination to seek partnerships and collaborations, LinkedIn Local sets up a scenario where we can push past the digital niceties and get right down to business. This further reminds us that when we make new connections or develop new partnerships that it’s people, not only their achievements, that we are working with.
But it’s not just those everyday LinkedIn interactions that are valuable. LinkedIn is growing and advancing location with “Find Nearby” Bluetooth functionality, which can help you identify users near your physical location. LinkedIn is also starting to test geofencing for specific events that unlock and give you access to location-based geostickers. You can also access a QR code right from your LinkedIn mobile app homepage, which allows anyone who scans it to view your LinkedIn profile. And it all comes back to building that community that is going to help you to grow and succeed in your career.
There’s more to our connections than just what we can see from their profiles. We may learn what schools and universities they attended, we may see their professional growth, successes, promotions, career changes and influencers they relate to. But all this tells us very little about the person behind the curtain. For that, we’ll need to get out there and shake a few hands. Ready to make real connections? LinkedIn Local may be the spot for you.