BNI and LinkedIn have something in common: their joint focus on the creation and development of business relationships.
They do this in entirely different ways – one in person and the other almost entirely online.
This dissimilarity provides excellent opportunities for BNI members to use the power of the LinkedIn platform to further their own business goals.
Most BNI members concentrate almost exclusively on their own chapter, and their relationship with other members. Which is as it should be.
But BNI is a worldwide organisation and even if your business is locally-focused, you will benefit from getting to know members from other chapters in your own town or city, and further afield.
Of course, the best way to do this is to visit other chapters, but if meeting other members online is a better, faster option, LinkedIn is the ONLY way to do it!
And if you connect on LinkedIn with other BNI members, you’ll immediately have something in common with which to start a conversation.
To find members of other chapters to connect to on LinkedIn within New Zealand, first go to www.bni.co.nz
Find a chapter in the city or region you want to search and type each chapter member’s name one by one into the LinkedIn search bar.
When their profile comes up, send a personalised connection message noting your common BNI membership. When they connect, send another personalised message thanking them and perhaps asking a question about their BNI experience. This opens the way to begin an online relationship via LinkedIn. (Not everyone will connect with you or to engage with you, but some will.)
Connecting with BNI members in other cities or chapters widens your own circle of influence and your knowledge. Plus, it’s ok to connect with people in your own industry in another centre and that might have positive benefits!
A second reason for being an active BNI member on LinkedIn is to learn. No matter what subject you want to learn about, there’ll be someone on LinkedIn writing about it. And that someone may be another BNI member.
You might like to gather ideas about BNI, your profession, or your personal areas of interest. There is a wealth of information just waiting to be uncovered on LinkedIn.
Not sure how to go about searching for a specific topic? Use a hashtag in your searches and choose ‘Content’ instead of ‘People’.
A third way BNI members can make great use of LinkedIn fits right into one of BNI’s central tenets – givers gain.
By sharing your knowledge and expertise on LinkedIn, you give value back to the LinkedIn community, at the same time as subtly showcasing your own talents.
And with LinkedIn currently going through a growth spurt here in New Zealand, this is a good time to be stepping up. Position yourself as the leader in your field on LinkedIn now, and you’ll reap the rewards over time.
So, three key ways BNI members can use LinkedIn to help bring in more business: connecting with members outside your chapter, learning from others and sharing your expertise.
Begin connecting with your fellow BNI members on LinkedIn and extend your network!