Using the iPad and LinkedIn to Grow your Network

Posted by Jeff Coon on Nov 13, 2012 9:03:00 AM

Using the iPad for businessAre you looking for creative ways to use the iPad for business? Have you ever wanted to do more with your LinkedIn Connections? In this article, I'll share some ideas on how you can do both to help grow your network and strengthen relationships with your current customers.

I had the opportunity to interview Tom Boudreau of R&R Insurance (a client of ours). Tom is a Commercial Insurance Account Executive who was looking to provide better resources for his current and prospective customers. Tom was kind enough to share his thoughts and process in how he's using his iPad and LinkedIn network to do a "52 in 52" video interview series featuring Wisconsin business professionals.

Below is a recap of my interview with Tom:

Q: Tom, what is "52 in 52"?
A: "52 in 52" is a video interview series where I'm interviewing 52 Wisconsin Business Professionals, with nothing but my iPad, over a time period of 52 weeks. I've wanted to do this "52 in 52" initiative for years, but it took time to build my network of Wisconsin experts. I am now in a position in my career to leverage the collective expertise of my network. They are a great group of people and I'm happy to be able to share their knowledge in a way that can help all of us grow our businesses.

Q: Where did the idea come from?
A: I sell business insurance like a lot of individuals. But my goal is not only to be the best at that, but to also help my clients build their businesses — whether it's insurance related or not. "52 in 52" is my attempt at putting the "social" back in my social networking.

I really wanted to offer my clients and prospective clients something of value. I also wanted to do something with my LinkedIn Connections. In the past, I was simply accepting new connection requests on LinkedIn and then not doing much more with it. I wanted to reach out to my network and learn more about what their businesses do to see if they could help my clients. Ultimately, my goal of "52 in 52" is to share knowledge.

Q: How has this worked for you?
A: It's been great! I'm spending an hour with each individual for the interview - and prior to that we're communicating about what we'll be discussing in that interview and what we can provide the audience as a leave-behind.

It's really strengthening my relationship with these individuals. This process is kind of a bonding process. I share with them the analytics and they feel that I'm truly trying to help them - and that's my goal.

This has also resulted in new and additional business for me. I had a client that I was working with sign an 'Agency of Record' letter for additional services because he appreciated the fact that I was differentiating myself from other insurance agents and working hard to help my clients grow their businesses.

I've also had several opportunities present themselves in ways that I didn't expect. Just by staying in front of my clients, I'm having them refer opportunities my way, as well as introduce me to other professionals that help me strengthen my business network. Even beyond the sales, this has helped build brand awareness for me in a way that doesn't come across as salesy.

Q: How has this benefited your network?
A: It's been very beneficial for them as well. As an example, the interview I posted a couple weeks ago resulted in business leads for the individual being interviewed. A couple hours after I sent out the email to my network letting them know that I posted the new video, three people reached out to me asking to have my guest speaker contact them about quoting some business. It really was a win, win, win for all of us involved.

Q: From a production standpoint, how are you doing the video interviews?
A: I'm using nothing but my iPad set up on a tripod. My father-in-law was kind enough to let me set up a little studio at their office (Circular Marketing in Waukesha, WI). I purchased a couple lights and printed up a sign, but the rest of it is just setting up the iPad and shooting the interview.

I purchased the iMovie App for the iPad and do the editing right on my iPad. When completed, I upload the video to our YouTube Channel and then with your help (Stream Creative), we build out the blog post, create a landing page and upload the leave-behind piece.

When those pieces are in place, I create an email in SubscriberMail and send that out to my network. From start to finish, including the interview, the entire process takes about 4 hours.

Q: In closing, do you have anything else you'd like to share with readers?
A: As a sales person we try very hard to get that initial meeting to learn what our prospects' businesses are all about and where R&R Insurance can help them. Through these "52 in 52" interviews, I can ask these same questions through a totally different process that doesn't feel like I'm selling to them - which I'm not selling - I'm trying to help them reach a new audience, and they get a better value out of that.

If I had to do something different, it would be finding a way to shorten the final videos - but I just can't find a way to get them between three to five minutes without cutting out a lot of the content or sacrificing the personal element involved with these interviews.

Overall, this has been a great experience!

So how are you engaging with your LinkedIn Network? How are you using your iPad for business? Please share any of your ideas in the comment section below.

About the Author: Jeff Coon is a partner and creative director of Stream Creative, a certified HubSpot partner and full service digital marketing and design firm specializing in inbound marketing, web design and development, and social media.

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Topics: online networking, online business networking, online referrals, iPad, Tom Boudreau, inbound networking, linkedin, stream creative

Nick Inglis Presents: Networking on Steroids with Linkedin + BlitzTime

Posted by Pete Caputa on Jul 9, 2008 3:36:00 PM

Register for the short webinar and online speed networking event.

Here's a quick introduction/explanation of the material to be covered:

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Topics: blitztime, online networking, online business networking, linkedin

Online Networking Seminar in Westborough, MA

Posted by Pete Caputa on Apr 29, 2008 11:23:00 AM

The Corridor Nine Chamber of Commerce has invited me to speak to the HYPE9 group, Helping Young Professionals Engage in Corridor 9. It's a great group designed to help younger (21-40 year old) professionals develop their networking skills.

I'm looking forward to doing my "online networking presentation" to this group as many are web natives. Most of the time I'm giving this presentation, I'm talking to people that grew up with a typewriter and rolodexes that sit on their [real] desktop, not online. Many in this group grew up with their "contact list" on facebook and AIM. 

My focus will be less on how to use the tools. More about leveraging the these tools to initiate new business.

If you fit in the demographics and are local enough, here's the registration page. If you're coming, make sure you do the homework listed on the registration page, assuming you want to walk out with referrals. 

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Topics: social networking, online networking, speaking, event, social media marketing

How to Get Real World Benefits from Online Networking

Posted by Pete Caputa on Feb 19, 2008 10:18:00 PM

I'll be speaking next Wednesday at the Next Level Executives.  

Next Level Executives is going through some enhancements. I've been helping Mike Langford for the last year to incubate a new networking concept where 1) members hold private member only non-competitive meetings to help each other overcome challenges and 2) members create educational seminars that position themselves as experts to guests and other members in attendance. Here's an example of a public seminar the group held

The concept solves two big problems that the average networking group has:

  1. Most groups don't require business owners to take their game up a notch. Nor do they provide a path for businesses to do that. The private member only meetings require business owners to discuss their challenges. Members take turns presenting their business, what their "next level" is and what they think is "Stopping them from getting there". There hasn't been a challenge raised that atleast one member has experience overcoming.
  2. Most networking groups are good at helping members get to know each other, establish trust and expertise within the group. This group has done that. But, it also has helped members establish their expertise to visitors. Generally, each public meeting has about 5-10 guests in attendance that show up to hear the speakers present. The goal of this group is to help small business owners start to market themselves through seminars.

With about 20 members, Mike has decided to take it up a notch. Kate Hyland Mercer, business coach extraordinaire has been recruited to help run the private portion of the meetings.

Mike also decided to construct an online site that would showcase members outside of the meeting and give them a chance to demonstrate their expertise online. He was originally looking at KickApps. I suggested Ning and a week later, Mike put together a first draft of the Next level Executives site on Ning.

Mike also has a few tricks up his sleeve for expanding this concept. I think it has a lot of potential.  

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Topics: online networking, next level executives, networking

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