I’m not a huge fan of LinkedIn, even though I do try to be active and build business connections there. I find that a lot of people are unsure of which tone to use on LinkedIn; they are torn between speaking in a natural, relaxed, personal tone and speaking, or rather writing on behalf of their employer in a more professional style. Also, I find the networking sometimes a bit artificial. People make connections with me but then we don’t follow up with a hello or any sort of message - we’re probably all too busy, to be honest. Or is it that we don’t really know how we can help each other? It depends I guess.
Anyway, I didn’t want to write about LinkedIn but about a newish, simpler networking app called Shapr. Have you heard of it? It was set up by a French chap, I believe, and it is basically a professional version of a dating app.
Maybe you are not familiar with the ins and outs of dating apps, but similarly on Shapr you post a picture of yourself, give a bit of info about what you do for a living, what your interests are, who you are interested in meeting (investors/business partners/employers/freelancers/like-minded people etc) and what your favourite way to network is (over coffee/lunch/skype call etc). You can also indicate what geographical locations you are interested in meeting people from. You get a certain number of suggested contacts every day and you either swipe right to say ‘yes, I’d like to meet this person’ or swipe left if you are not interested. If there is a mutual swipe right, then bingo! you are free to start chatting.
I’m enthused about it because I have already signed one new client since I started using the app about three weeks ago. I have had online conversations with lots of other interesting people too, many of whom are not based in Ireland but with whom I have a common interest. Given that I can define what sort of people I am would like to meet (small business owners but also other creatives and designers too), it means I don’t get suggestions of people who are totally outside of my zone and to whom I would be no help at all.
So, check it out on your phone. It is free (there is a paid version too, but I am not sure what extras you get for that) and you’ve nothing to lose. Your next client may just be a swipe away!