Are you familiar with the newest feature on the LinkedIn iPhone app? It’s called “Find Nearby” and allows you to see who of your first-degree LinkedIn connections are in the vicinity. Pull up the app on your phone, tap on “network” and then look at the top and you’ll see “find nearby.”

“Find Nearby” uses your phone’s Bluetooth to find your first-degree connections who are nearby. Of course, all users would need to activate the feature to be discoverable. Once activated, you can choose to let people nearby discover you. LinkedIn allows you to set it for a limited amount of time (say you’re at a 3-day event) or you can turn it on permanently. LinkedIn limits discoverability to weekdays, 9am-5pm – business hours – so no one will be “discovering” you when you’re out to eat with your family.

So what does “Find Nearby” have to do with PR? Imagine if you’re at an industry conference and you’re able to discover if there are any journalists you are connected with who are there. You can send them a message and say “Hey! We’re at the same conference. Let’s grab a cup of coffee.” Imagine if you’re a meeting planner and you are able to see which journalists are at your conference. This gives you the opportunity to connect about your industry with journalists who cover your industry.

Perhaps you are connected to influencers on LinkedIn and you find they are at an event you’re at.  You can make it so easy to connect with them. Remember that LinkedIn is a business network so there really isn’t any “creepy” factor here. You’re making strategic business connections through your first-degree connections on LinkedIn. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

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