Some of you may be using it already.
Some of you may have skipped the tutorial on your newly updated LinkedIn page.
Some of you may not have the option to use it yet.
Some of you may not have been to your LinkedIn page for months. ; )
Either way, here’s a quick overview of LinkedIn’s new “Contacts” feature. I encourage you to check it out. I had the chance to be part of their private beta, and have been playing around with it for the past 6-9 months; I definitely notice a difference in the way I build and maintain my network.
First, let us all understand that this is NOT a CRM. Although the team at LinkedIn could potentially go in this direction, their current release is better suited as a modern-day Rolodex and personal secretary.
Your network is a valuable piece of your business and personal life; and often, you can’t predict when you’ll need to call on it. Managing your network takes skill and commitment, but, if you do it right, making that call is rarely a problem. Here’s how LinkedIn “Contacts” can help:
Sync & manage contacts from multiple sources
Most of our networks are scattered across many platforms. LinkedIn now allows you to sync up with multiple sources, including Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Outlook, Facebook, Twitter, Evernote and CardMunch.
They also make it easy to find and connect a LinkedIn profile, with a contact that is imported from another source. I find this valuable because a LinkedIn profile generally contains the most pertinent information about people.
Track recent interactions, set reminders, and create tags
Anytime you visit a contact’s profile, you’ll see a history of interactions. From tweets to emails to events, you get a quick refresher on what’s been going on between the both of you. This goes a long way when you are reconnecting with someone in your network.
To avoid long periods of time passing before you reconnect with someone, you can set reminders and create tags to manage the relationship more efficiently.
Along with reminding you of your follow-ups, they keep you up to speed on important events such as job changes, promotions and birthdays. All of which are good reasons to reach out to someone and reconnect the relationship. Your new daily routine may include getting in touch with a few appropriate contacts.
Gather insight on participants in upcoming meetings
They have also released a stand-alone mobile app for “Contacts” that is especially valuable for gathering last-minute insight before walking into a meeting. It’s a powerful thing to create rapport with someone by learning about them digitally and then finding common ground once you meet in person.
Other cool features
They have integrated with TripIt. Now, they can suggest connecting with members in your network who live in an area where you have planned a trip.
You can filter your contacts in various ways, one of which is “Lost Touch.” This is neat because it keeps the furthest ends of your network visible, and allows you to connect with them if you feel the need to rein it in a little bit.
I’ll make sure to keep you posted on any other updates and/or changes. As always, please lend your feedback and thoughts.