What is Boolean anyway & why should I care?
Well, it may sound complicated, but don't worry! It's actually easier than you might think. Boolean searching is named after mathematician George Boole and it's just a type of search that allows you to combine keywords with operators such as AND, NOT, and OR.
Why should you care? By using these operators, you can get more results that are actually relevant to what you're searching for.
Think of it as the secret ingredient that boosts your LinkedIn search results. It's like having a GPS that guides you right to your ideal connections. Boolean adds a whole new level of accuracy when it comes to searching.
This diagram shows how the connectors work together to give you the results you are seeking. The areas shown in blue represent the results you will receive with these basic connectors.
Effective Boolean searching is all about the connectors: AND, OR, NOT.
Use the 'AND' connector to narrow down your search, 'OR' to broaden it, and 'NOT' to exclude certain terms. For example, if you're looking for a graphic designer, you could search "Graphic Designer AND Illustrator" to find profiles that include both terms. If you want to cast a wider net, you could search "Graphic Designer OR Illustrator" to find profiles that include either term. And if you want to exclude a certain term, you could search "Graphic Designer NOT Illustrator".
Just like a good GPS, you can enter your destination, such as your Ideal Client Profile information (ICP), and easily find what you are looking for. Thanks to AI, you only need to provide a description instead of providing exact coordinates.
4 Ways to Use Boolean Searches
1. Find Ideal Clients
2. Find Collaborators
3. Find Competition
4. Find Speaking Opportunities
Using Boolean to dial in on these four areas will have a big impact on growing your LinkedIn following.
Finding Your Ideal Clients
Finding your target audience on LinkedIn is as challenging as finding a needle in a haystack. It requires precision, and that's where Boolean search comes in. Before you craft your search, make sure you have fully developed your Ideal Client Profile (ICP) so that you can incorporate it into your search query.
Let's imagine you're a freelance writer who focuses on the tech industry. Your perfect clients could be tech startups that need help with content marketing. To find these clients, you can use a search like Founder AND (Tech Startup OR Technology Startup) AND 'Content Marketing. This search will help you find founders of tech startups who are interested in content marketing.
Remember, the key is to think like the people you are trying to reach. Ask yourself, what words or phrases would they use to describe themselves? What things are they interested in or what problems do they need solutions for that match what you offer?
Identifying Potential Collaborators
Collaboration is the lifeblood of business growth. But how do you find the right people to collaborate with? Again, Boolean search is your secret weapon. Let's say you're a graphic designer looking to collaborate with web developers on website projects. You could use a search like Web Developer AND (Freelance OR Independent) AND 'Graphic Design. This will help you find freelance web developers who have shown an interest in graphic design. Remember, collaboration is a two-way street. Look for people who can benefit from your skills just as much as you can benefit from theirs.
Understanding Your Competition
In the world of business, keeping an eye on your competitors is crucial. You need to know what they're up to, who they're connecting with, and what strategies they're using. Boolean search can help with this. Let's say you run a digital marketing agency and you want to keep tabs on two of your biggest competitors. You could use a search like CEO AND (Competitor 1 OR Competitor 2) AND 'Digital Marketing. This will help you find the CEOs of these companies and give you insights into their activities in the digital marketing space. Remember, knowledge is power. The more you know about your competitors, the better you can position your own business.
Pro Tip: Want to keep your LinkedIn stalking a secret from the competition? Temporarily disable your visibility settings. Just make sure to remember to turn the settings back on so that you can be seen again!
Finding Speaking Opportunities
Speaking is a great way to share your message with the world. It's also a fantastic way to increase your LinkedIn following and stay top of mind with your audience. Today, there are more speaking opportunities than ever before. You have a wide range of options, including in-person events, remote speaking engagements, podcast appearances, vodcast appearances, and interviews.
You can use Boolean searching to find the perfect opportunity for your goals. For example, if you're a graphic designer and want to be a guest on podcasts hosted by website developers, you can try a search like this: ("podcast" AND "host") AND ("website design" OR "web design" OR "UX design" OR "UI design").
Some common mistakes to avoid
Failing to CAPITALIZE Connectors
One crucial detail that's easy to overlook when using Boolean search on LinkedIn is that the operators - AND, OR, NOT - must be in all caps. This isn't just for emphasis; it's a requirement of the search function.
If you type "and" instead of "AND," LinkedIn will treat it as a keyword rather than an operator. This means that your search results will be incorrect. The same rule applies to "or" and "not." So, when you're creating your Boolean search queries, remember to use all capital letters for your operators. It's not about being loud; it's about being precise. This small but important detail can determine whether your search is successful or not. So, make sure to keep those operators in all caps and let the power of Boolean search do its magic on your LinkedIn networking.
Forgetting to Use Parentheses
When using Boolean search on LinkedIn, it's crucial to remember to use parentheses to group terms. This is especially important when you're using the 'OR' operator. For example, if you're a career coach looking for professionals who are either project managers or product managers in the tech industry, your search should look like this: Tech AND (Project Manager OR Product Manager)
Without the parentheses, LinkedIn will interpret your search differently, and you might not get the results you're looking for.
Using Too Many Terms
Another mistake to avoid is overloading your search with excessive terms. It may be tempting to include every conceivable keyword related to your target audience, but this can actually dilute your search and yield less relevant results. Instead, hone in on a few essential terms that truly define your target audience. For instance, if you're a freelance graphic designer seeking startups in need of branding services, a search query such as Founder AND Startup AND Branding would be more effective than a query containing a multitude of various terms.
Neglecting to Refine Your Search
Boolean search is a strong tool, but it's not a one-and-done. The LinkedIn landscape is always changing, with new profiles added every day. That's why it's important to regularly improve your search queries. Maybe there's a new term that's popular in your industry, or maybe you've found a new keyword that your target audience uses. By regularly updating and improving your search queries, you'll always find the most relevant connections.
Overlooking the Power of 'NOT'
The 'NOT' operator is often overlooked, but it can be incredibly powerful when used correctly. For example, let's say you're a web developer searching for freelance projects. It's important to exclude recruitment agencies from your search to focus on direct opportunities. In this case, you can use a search like "Web Development AND Freelance NOT Recruiter". This query will help you find freelance web development opportunities while excluding profiles associated with recruiters.
Using ChatGPT to Develop Powerful Boolean Search Queries
Not sure how to come up with a Boolean search that will get the results you want? No problem. ChatGPT can help you brainstorm and refine your Boolean search queries.
Start by telling ChatGPT about your business and your target audience. The more specific you can be, the better. For example, you might say, "I'm a freelance writer specializing in the tech industry, and I'm looking for tech startups in need of content marketing." ChatGPT can then help you brainstorm potential search queries, like "Founder AND (Tech Startup OR Technology Startup) AND 'Content Marketing'".
Once you have a basic query in mind, ChatGPT can further refine it. Whether you're receiving too many irrelevant results or not enough, ChatGPT can suggest ways to broaden or narrow your search. It can also assist in adding or removing keywords, or utilizing the 'NOT' operator to exclude specific terms. With ChatGPT's guidance, you'll be able to create powerful Boolean search queries that yield the desired results.
You Are Ready to do it Boolean Style!
By now, you should be ready to use Boolean searches to significantly grow your LinkedIn following with people and organizations important to your business Not only does Boolean searching save you time, but it also provides greater precision compared to relying solely on the standard LinkedIn filters. With Boolean search, you have the power to refine your search queries and find exactly what you're looking for on LinkedIn.
Give it a try and share your results in the comments. Need help, just ask!