Using LinkedIn for Contact Management

How to Leverage and Optimize LinkedIn

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This is a guest post by Sidney Angelos.

Small to medium sized businesses and larger companies usually invest capital in some sort of customer relationship solution. It is important the information relating to the client is well organized and easy to access. Likewise, individuals (and many smaller businesses) also employ contact management at some level of sophistication. Challenges arise for some when time or money are invested in developing contacts via any of the wide variety of social media communities.

Here’s a quick look at the scenario:

  • Sign up for account at the likes of Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Agree to have the social site automatically search for friends, followers, or network members.
  • Perform searches for new contacts and add them to the existing, growing list of existing contacts.
  • Spend hours, days, and months actively recruiting new contacts.
  • Decide it makes business (or personal) sense to use that newly acquired contact data for some sales or marketing purposes.
  • Discover all the time, effort and energy devoted to contact aggregation for many of the social communities has been for naught since many of the terms of service prohibit members from harvesting contact information.
  • Wonder what the heck to do now!

In reality, the next step, should have been the first one taken. Consider focusing all of ones time and efforts in the area of contact management with the social community found at LinkedIn.

Why? Two reasons:

  1. This community is more business focused. One adds people to their “network”. Serious folks looking for their connections to make sense in a financial, business oriented way.
  2. LinkedIn is one of the very few communities which allow its members to export the contact data of all followers of their account.

If those two reasons aren’t enough, how about a third? The easy to find link to export ones LinkedIn contacts can be found right here.

LinkedIn Contact Management

Viewing contacts in LinkedIn.

The folks at LinkedIn provide for their users the ability to export in the following formats, depending upon the contact management service they prefer.

  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Outlook Express
  • Yahoo! Address Book
  • Mac OS Address Book

Even though most users of the LinkedIn site tend to be more business oriented, various other social media communities are spawning sub-groups that essentially focus on business, marketing and other activities outside the tradition social environment. Twitter recently added a feature to their service called Lists.

Exactly as it sounds, the List feature provides users to create highly focused groups of like minded individuals. Many business and industry oriented lists have been created over the past year or so.

Likewise, Facebook provides its members with the ability to create pages for their business. While the site technically does not allow for individuals to also open a separate business account, there are ways around this rule.

If one doesn’t mind associating what Facebook refers to as a fan page, with their personal account, it is quick and easy to create a place on Facebook for the business to be found. If having the personal and business is not acceptable, simply log out of the personal account, create a page and when asked for an email address to log in, provide one different from the address associated with the personal account. Now, effectively, there is a page without an account.

From there it can be easy and fun to collect followers, or fans of the business. But what to do with those folks? Other than appealing to them via the Facebook page, there is really not much which can be done. This is not to say time and effort should not be put into collecting a following from that community, only that one is limited with the follow-on marketing efforts.

It is best to cultivate the community and make it easy to migrate from the Facebook page to the LinkedIn profile. Once there and accepted as a member of the network, the business or individual has the ability to easily export that contact information opening up many more avenues of contacting abilities.

This guest post is by Sidney Angelos, a writer for a All Things CRM which covers CRM trends and social media for customer relationship management.

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  1. Great information, thanks. I am now starting to focus on building my social and internet links so your post is very useful to me.

  2. for SMEs Linkedin can be a wonderful tool. I am yet to discover this feature but as a regular linkedin user I am more than happy to endorse its business benefit. Thanks for sharing the article with us:)

  3. Hi Sidney, great insights about LinkedIn.

    LinkedIn is great for business networking and sharing interesting resources with people in the same business and niches.

    One of my favorite online networks.

  4. iPhone App Development says:

    As we all know that for small and medium sized businesses contact management is very important because no business could want to lose their customers especially when they are in their initial stage. Contact management helps in your business progress. If somebody give you such an amazing service with free of charge then why not to take this advantage. Definitely LinkedIn is such one. Thanks for the article.

  5. I use LinkedIn for my business because in my eyes it is more serious than Facebook or twitter. but i also use facebook.

  6. Great information Sidney!
    Linkedin is definitely the way to go, when building a list.
    Too bad there are so many potential consumers who only use fb and not linkedin.
    Btw. I don’t see fb ever creating an export function, now their privacy policy is already under fire.
    Google+ should be in this list now as well. Google+ makes it very easy to manage the contacts.
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  7. Always trying to broaden my knowledge of all things online so thanks for the information – it is always good to learn from those in the know. Although the internet, SEO and blogging are not my profession, they have become as important to my business as the actual core services provided, (Architectural Design). As a DIY webmaster, posts like these are vey useful to enable us to get the best out of the internet to drive customers to our website, in order that we can build on our existing customer base and provide our servces to people who would otherwise not know of our services. I can easily see the importance of a presence on LinkedIn, a professional networking medium to work alongside our social networking strategy. We will be looking into this – Keep up the good work we will definitly be following many of the tips this blog

  8. John Knights says:

    Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Those three SN sites are very useful for our business and we are focusing our attention and efforts to them.
    You’re right, the difference of LI between all the other SN sites is that almost all members have Professional Careers.

    Sometimes we find our customers their which are Small Business Owners and provide Funding services for them.

  9. Thanks for this information, Gail. Though I have a Linkedin account, I don’t spend so much time in it. For that reason, I am not aware of this particular feature in Linkedin. I must say, this is really efficient for contact management.
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  10. I use LinkedIn for my business because in my eyes it is more serious than Facebook or twitter. but i also use facebook.

  11. Alison Barrows says:

    I’m also member of LinkedIn, but I must admit I have been quite passive. Your post really takes it to the next level – thanks for sharing!
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  12. Using LinkedIn for business contact management certainly is a good idea, since in LinkedIn most of the people have their business profile and if you can sort out like minded people in lists, the conversation becomes even much easier. Thanks for the post Sidney
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  13. We really need to look inward and see how much potential linkedin has. Facebook is great but there is every tendencies of losing contacts when they decide to ban you. I have used linkedin basic account and it’s easier to connect with colleagues than facebook. This is my candid advice; network via the two giant portals (facebook and linkedin) but focus on building a lasting network via linkedin. It pays great dividend
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  14. I have used LinkedIn basic account for months now and found it so much easier to connect with colleagues, friend’s from my last companies and open networkers. I was wondering if getting a LinkedIn premium account is worth the money.

  15. I use LinkedIn for my business because in my eyes it is more serious than Facebook or twitter.
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  16. Hi Sidney, You made a great point about losing all your contacts if FB deletes your page vs. if LinkedIn does and I do the exact same thing with Twitter, one acct. is SEO business and the other one is personal.
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  17. I use linkedin mainly to grow my business connections and facebook for my personal contacts (Except the facebook page which I created for my blog). I will check out contact management in LinkedIn.
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  18. Amanda Gordon says:

    So very true! Of all the social media communities, linkedin stands out as being the most business like in interest. I guess starting off by asking about current and past jobs immediately puts one in the mindset of business and business networking.
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  19. I have been using LinkedIn for nearly 6 months. I have found that LIONs can bring in a lot of connections. I too like the import feature. If I remember correct, one can send upto 3000 invitations with a new account and if one wants to increase this limit, they have to mail customer care.
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  20. Elizbath says:

    Nice tips thanks for sharing that…LinkedIn is one of the best way to grow your blog…
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  21. Thanks for the info. I think linkedin can be a great way to network with other businesses and clients. Having a professional environment to share business interests is a great way to gain industry knowledge and connections.
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  22. Thanks for the useful info, Linkedin is a great resource. One which ive been using for many years now, and it has certainly helpedme to interact with my customers allowing me to build strong relationships with them.
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  23. Dennis Edell says:

    I’ve been meaning too, every time I sit to spend some time with it, something always pops up.
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  24. I have explored facebook and found it excellent but recently starting visiting LinkedIn but did have deep understanding of it.
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  25. Linked In has always been an excellent source for business professionals! I even use it to do my recruiting.
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  26. I really like Linkedin! I was skeptical at the beginning and only used Facebook, but then I tried Linkedin and now, I have maybe three or four new clients that I would never have found an other way!
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  27. This is great – I use LinkedIn now for years and did not know that. Thanks a lot.

  28. I agree Sidney, having multiple Twitter accounts allows people to segment their followers by campaign and do cross association. We have a LI page and I challenge/follow the Analytics on both to show how effective we are or are not being at the time. I did not know you could pull your contact list from LI; I appreciate that tidbit.

    Brad Bethune

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  29. Hey Sidney,
    I absolutely use linked in to keep track of contacts in my professional network. As a financial consultant I have relationships that I use for client referrals from all over the country.
    Say I have a client who lives in Florida in need of a bankruptcy attorney. I can pull up linked in and see if I have already connected with any attorneys in Florida that might be close to my client.
    I use sales force for all of my clients, but I find Linkedin suits my purposes great for keeping tabs on my growing network.
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  30. I have ended up on linkedin a number of times, but never really got much out of it. I don’t have an account so I guess I am sometimes limited to what I can see. What I do sometimes see is just business contact info, resume/previous work experience, and that type of thing. So it never really appealed to me that much. Unless there is more to it that I am missing. I guess I really don’t understand the benefit of how or what linkedin can do for someone.
    Ray would love you to read ..How much time do you spend working on your websiteMy Profile

    • Yes, you have to have an account and some contacts before you can see the real benefits of the network. I think that even if you aren’t looking for a job or professional connections, you can do a lot for your reputation by answering questions in the answers section, participating in groups, etc.
      Sidney Angelos would love you to read ..CRM on Demand – What’s It All AboutMy Profile

  31. Wonderful thoughts. One way to promote and boost business by gaining followers that can be a prospect customer’s. I actually want to gave it a try now!

  32. Landscape Photography says:

    Great point. It is advantageous to integrate with social networks which would expand the contact base.

  33. Hi Sidney,

    Thanks for all of the information, especially for sharing the link to export your LinkedIn contacts. I don’t claim to have used LinkedIn all that much, so I wasn’t familiar enough with it to know that this was even possible! Thanks for sharing!

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  34. I went to the website to set up my LinkedIn account. I just want to read more information before i leap into it. I’m not sure what exactly to link together because I have multiple Emails and Usernames for each website I work on. Just not sure if I can take another log in barrage.. lol
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  35. I like the fact that you can export contact info for all followers of your account. As previously mentioned, it does make it really easy to move back and forth between other systems
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  36. TrafficColeman says:

    Its a plus to be able to take friends with you as you go, because most social site house your contact and you can’t take them unless you add them to a email list or something.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  37. All of the social media sites are becoming more and more business oriented. Also – if you want your twitter account to be business focused, just make it that way, right?

    That being said – It’s much harder to make facebook strictly business.

    (side note: Why is facebook always underlined in red, as if it’s misspelled?)
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    • It depends on how you build your contacts on each network as to how business / personal it will be for you. I could have two Twitter accounts – one with brands I follow, clients, etc. in my list and another with just my college friends and the conversation and flow of both would be completely different. It’s all about association!
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