How to Find People on the Internet
Everybody remembers the three R’s: readin’ ritin’ and rithmatic. The basis for our primary education right? But the fourth R: research is critical for business people to master. There’s some great tools on the internet for finding people, and with a little know-how, you can dramatically reduce the time it takes to find what you are looking for. Read on:
Thank God for Google
So you met a guy at a networking event, but can’t remember his last name? You know he worked at a law firm, and you even remember part of the company name, but it’s been a week and it’s kind of cloudy? Do a Google search, but let’s tweak the search string a bit: try typing
Jeff “Anderson ** Associates” +law firm
Or you remember the company name, and the title of the woman, but you’ve got no clue what her name was? Try this:
“Vice President of * at Medtronic” Seattle
Voila! You’ll get a nice short focused list of Medtronics Vice Presidents to choose from.
LinkedIn Search is Good, but it Aint Google
There’s so much valuable info on LinkedIn – it’s a treasure trove of contact and persona info for business use, but the search engine? Meh. Not the best. Did you know you can use Google to search LinkedIn? Google allows you to perform site specific searches. Go to Google and type:
site:linkedin.com Mercer Consulting “director of IT” or “VP of IT”
The same can be done for Twitter:
site:twitter.com “lauren hall stigerts”
This can be very helpful as many people do not use their full names on Twitter, but often put them in their profile. Twitter search, like LinkedIn search, just doesn’t have the indexing capability that Google has.
Hiding in Plain Site
Some people still believe they can be present online and maintain some level of privacy. Good luck with that! Ever look up someone in Linkedin people search and the result comes back: “John W.”? This is because John has chosen to limit visibility of his display name in LinkedIn settings. Unfortunately for him, LinkedIn freely offers up this info to Google search: To get the full name, just highlight and copy his job title from the LinkedIn search, go to Google and type:
site:linkedin.com “VP Finance & Operations at Cadence” John
You find that John’s last name is Wall, and you can now ask for him by name. Google is great for searching many things, not just people. Play around with it to find corporate news (try out news.google.com), or find trigger events that impact your clients (May +2011 “series B financing rounds” for example).
Google Social Search & Google +1
Google has even begun to provide info about social context in their search. This is a new feature (March 2011) in Google. If you are logged into your Google account, you will notice when you search for something, some of your hits will be followed by lines like: “Greg Elwell shared this on Twitter – Apr 6, 2011.” This might not seem like a big deal, but if there’s a shared connection with a prospect, wouldn’t you like to know about it? Talking points y’all.
Google +1 allows users to “like” a search result, an ad, or an article. I’ll be curious to see what impact this has, as they are beginning to use this social context to weight search results. I bet this will soon become mighty important to SEO (search engine optimization) folks. Read more about this in Tom Critchlow’s article: “Google +1 And The Rise of Social SEO” on the SEOMoz blog.
To find out all the dirt on Google search features check out: “Google Search Basics”
They have truly revolutionized the world of search.. and research. Sky’s the limit!
What other research tips do you have that have helped you find people & things on the internet? Do tell!