To get started, your online research should begin with a search on Google or some other search engine. For the best search results include: 1) Full Name, 2) Company Name, and 3) Location.
The majority of the information relevant to your search will appear within the first one to two pages of search results. From the search, you should focus on results related to:
Social Media Accounts – Including LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter
Company Website – Specifically a biography page on your contact
Non-Profit or Organization Websites – Specifically biography pages on your contact
Focus Areas for LinkedIn:
LinkedIn is a great source of information, but can often be more business focused. It is also very natural to stumble across a contacts page making it more natural to say something like “Hey Tom, noticed on LinkedIn that you are a fan of…”
Look for “specialties” and “interests” listed in a person’s “Summary” or also to see if they make it easy on you and have a list of “interests” further down the page. “Influencers” and “Groups” are also good areas to focus on.
Focus Areas for Facebook:
Within a contact’s profile, you can review information posted on their timeline and in the ‘About’ section. A contact’s timeline may be completely or partially hidden behind privacy settings. If an updated timeline is visible, look for posts related to current events happening in your contact’s life that you can draw from to create a connection with when sending a value item.
Other points of interest you can draw from for relevant Value items include photos, sports, movies, music, books, and groups
Important: Anytime you are researching contacts online, you are at the mercy of whether or not the have much of an online presence and or if they make much of that presence public. That is why it is very important that you build the habit of finding out this information organically. Ask questions when you talk to people and look for cues about what they might like to do when they aren’t working. When you get this information, log it into your software. Being conscious of the value of this information makes it easier to reinforce the habit.