By Taylor Miles
LinkedIn Widens Clout On Professional Networking With New Contacts App
The new LinkedIn feature is rolling out to a limited number of users in the U.S., probably part of a beta test run. The rest of the country will have their chance later on. And eventually, to other LinkedIn users around the world.
The launching of this app is described by the company as “a smarter way to stay in touch with your most important relationships.”
Upping the ante
Before, the old Contacts only allowed you to do one-way imports from services like Google, Yahoo, Outlook, etc. With the new version, you’re now able to update your contacts info by live linking those third-party services in the Contacts settings page.
Simply put, LinkedIn now does the job of keeping your contacts info up to date by doing regular checks on changes around your network. In short, Contacts is transforming itself as your “personal assistant”, making sure you’re updated with all the people you’re connected with -- even outside LinkedIn.
Using the new Contacts
To see if you have the new feature, go to your LinkedIn profile and click on the Contacts menu (or go to the LinkedIn Contacts homepage). One indication of having it is when you see a message box that says, “bring all your contacts together.”
If you press on the “Continue” button, it will then ask you to sync the services connected with the email you’re using in LinkedIn.
Complete list of services that you can sync are:
- Gmail, Google Contacts, & Calendar
- Google Calendar
- Yahoo Mail & Contacts
- Yahoo Calendar
- Outlook Mail, Contacts, & Calendar
You can also download contacts from your iPhone Address Book and LinkedIn’s CardMunch.
Meanwhile, Outlook Contacts CSV, Yahoo Contacts CSV, and Mac Address Book vCard are available as one-off imports.
Connecting with the most important people
Just like the new Google Hangouts app, your contacts are now ranked according to whom you had the most recent interaction. Meaning, the last person you emailed on Gmail is going to occupy the top position of your contacts list.
However, if you don’t want that kind of ranking, you can also adjust it according to your preference by clicking on the “Recent conversation” drop-down menu found at the top right corner of your contacts list.
What’s in it for me?
Obviously, LinkedIn is revamping Contacts because they want to make their service more sticky to their users. But what do you get from all of these updates? A lot, actually.
Here are five reasons why you should leverage Contacts to your advantage:
1. One dashboard to rule them all
With the ability to sync, import, or download contacts from different sources, you can now keep track of all your contacts under one site.
The sync feature on Contacts is pretty useful in that it takes out the hassle of updating your list with new contacts. All you have to do is press the “Refresh” link to automatically add new people in your list.
Aside from contact updates, you’ll also see the latest interactions that you’ve made with a contact. For instance, if a contact sent you an email in Gmail, you can view it in LinkedIn.
You can do this actions if you’ve synced Google Contacts, Yahoo Contacts, and Outlook Contacts.
2. Reminder to connect with your contacts
Okay, so you’ve met this particular person in a recent live conference; he’s interesting, and that’s the reason why you’ve quickly added him or her in your contacts list. And because you’re now living in a “busier” world, you’ve developed this knack of “forgetfulness” in making follow-ups.
This is the reason why LinkedIn included a set of features that will help you get around this dilemma. If you already have Contacts, you’ll then see a new box under the top profile info of a contact. It consists of a “Relationship” and “Contact Info” tabs.
As the name suggests, the Relationship tab is like a timeline of your relationship with a contact. It comes with four options: Note, Reminder, How you met, and Tag.
The Reminder option is, I think, the most remarkable of the four. It’s a very useful tool in making sure you’re always reminded to connect or follow-up with your contacts -- especially if you have more than 500 connections.
3. Follow-ups are easier with having notes
Wouldn’t it be great if you have the power to know almost everything about a particular contact? Well, that’s the purpose of the “Note” and “How you met” options.
These two features allows you to add private notes about your contact. This is helpful in recalling important information, like where did you meet, who introduced you both, what event did you go, etc.
So by the time a reminder pings, you already have a set of data that you can use right away to make a connection once again.
As a bonus, you might even surprise contacts with your impressive “memory”.
4. Tagging contacts, like a boss
In the opening paragraphs, I’ve mentioned that the new Contacts is like a CRM app. Well, this is because you can now tag your connections.
Simply put, it’s like Circles in Google Plus. You can now group contacts according to your preference. In the process, you’ll create focused groups, which you can easily access anytime.
With this ability, you can now send targeted messages to appropriate contacts. And you can avoid alienating some of your connections.
5. Merge Duplicate Contacts
Believe it or not, there are people who’ve created multiple LinkedIn profiles: one possibly for personal purposes, and the other for business. Whatever their reasons are, let’s face it, having to deal with multiple profiles is a hassle.
Why? Because you won’t know which profile is being updated and currently use by a particular contact. For all we know, you’ve been connecting with a neglected profile all this time.
Under the new LinkedIn Contacts, you’re are now able to avoid this problem by merging duplicate contacts. All you have to do is click on the “Potential Merges” found at the sidebar of the Contacts page.
So there you go, those are the things that I find useful in the LinkedIn Contacts. If you’re already using it, what other reasons did you find that makes the new feature a must-have tool in your business?