How to Use LinkedIn Contacts to Interact with Your Network - dummies

How to Use LinkedIn Contacts to Interact with Your Network

By Joel Elad

The goal of LinkedIn Contacts is to give users “a smarter way to stay in touch.” LinkedIn Contacts lets you sync your address books, e-mails, and calendar entries with your LinkedIn contact information, so LinkedIn can organize your communication with your colleagues and professional friends.

By knowing all the information you keep in these various systems (address book, calendar, e-mail, LinkedIn), it can sort that information, by the other person, and show you a comprehensive history starting with how you met or linked to each person, plus a history of your interactions with each person up until the last conversation, an inventory of mutual friends and colleagues, and updates of their LinkedIn activities.

Finally, LinkedIn gives you the power to add and store your own private notes for each contact and schedule follow-up or regular interactions with those contacts.

LinkedIn Contacts is a tool to help you manage your professional relationships en masse while still being personal. Here are some of the advantages of using this system:

  • It stores your contact history. For each contact, LinkedIn shows you when you connected with that person, and logs each conversation with that person you did through LinkedIn. If you synced other systems (like your e-mail), LinkedIn Contacts shows you a chronological history of those conversations as well.

  • It shows mutual connections. When you communicate with other colleagues, sometimes it’s helpful to know at a glance which connections you share. Perhaps you need a favor or advice during a job search. LinkedIn Contacts displays, for each contact, who you and that person both have as first-degree connections, which is perfect for you to know who to enlist when it’s time to ask for help or an opinion.

  • It encourages new and ongoing communication. Since professionals use LinkedIn to record their career accomplishments, LinkedIn Contacts notifies you when someone in your network has a career “event” and encourages you to reach out and communicate. Contacts also allows you to set reminders so you can follow up with someone later. By encouraging regular communication, LinkedIn helps reduce the awkwardness when you need to reach out to a contact.

  • It’s available at your fingertips. LinkedIn made sure that the Contacts feature is robust and available not just on its website, but also through mobile applications. You can download and install a LinkedIn Contacts app for your Apple or Android OS system and have the same information at your fingertips, in case you’re not in front of your computer.

  • You can add your own notes. After LinkedIn catalogs your past and current interactions, it allows you to record your own notes for each person, visible only to you. Your notes are stored on LinkedIn and available anytime. In addition, you can create tags for each contact, allowing you to create your own virtual “groups” of people that you can manage or change at any time.