Missed Connections…Are You Checking In?
Imagine that you are sitting at the local bistro, chowing down on a café sandwich between appointments. Thirty feet away at the burger joint next door, an old colleague is munching on some fries before heading back to the office. You used to work together in retail, but now you source top buyers and she has her own chain of orthopedic footwear outlets. She has been looking for a new buyer, without any luck, and is ready to source the job out to a third party recruiter. If she thought long and hard about it, she would remember that you were a on the talent –procuring side of retail these days, but she’s busy and will probably turn to Google when she gets desperate. You dump your tray in the trash can, and walk back out to Central Ave., headed to the next appointment. She walks her bill up to the register and heads back to the office.
We come so close to rubbing shoulders with our social and business networks every day. We come from the same social circles, went to similar schools, received comparable education. We live in the same types of places, and like to frequent the same sorts of shops and eateries. So it’s no surprise that you could be in close proximity to a number of great networking opportunities at any given time.
How to Put Yourself in the Right Place, at the Right Time
Many opportunities are to be had just by being at the right place at the right time. Enter Facebook Places. While some are convinced it’s just another way for marketers to exploit social media as a means of targeting potential customers, Facebook Places has great potential as a networking tool. Places allows you to use your mobile device to post your physical whereabouts on your FB wall by “checking-in” and alerting your network of FB friends. Places shows you who else is at your location or nearby. You can also see where your Facebook friends have checked in recently.
Places already seems to have woven itself into the fabric of the social media tapestry, trumping similar mobile applications like Foursquare. The majority of check ins occur at restaurants, cafes, and bars/clubs. This is great news from a networking stand-point, as those are the types of establishments where real discussion and socializing take place – over, say a retailer or grocery store.
Networking, Not Marketing
For recruiters, Facebook Places is not relevant in terms of marketing. You don’t have a brick and mortar storefront, and don’t need incentives for people to visit your physical location. However, on the networking front, Facebook’s check in feature potentially allows you to make connections instead of missing opportunities.
If you’re out for the evening or out for lunch, see who’s in your area. Check out your FB friends’ recent whereabouts. Perhaps you just missed a client at the golf course – maybe you can schedule a round with him next week. Plus, you never know who could surprise you by seeking you out when they see you are nearby.
Who could you be missing? Do you use Facebook Places to check in? Do you see its potential as a networking tool?