Relationship Building photo from ShutterstockAre you already using LinkedIn Contacts? Interestingly enough, the social network released the feature with relatively little fanfare this year. However, it is easily one of the most important updates LinkedIn has ever added to their list of already impressive free services. LinkedIn Contacts is LinkedIn’s answer to a CRM (customer relationship management) system. It allows you to keep track of interactions with specific contacts and schedule future interactions. If you are not already using LinkedIn Contacts, this free feature can be found at http://contacts.linkedin.com.
Below are four cool ways you can use LinkedIn Contacts to supersize your relationship-building experiences.
- Use the “How you met” feature to add details about first meetings with contacts. We’ve all been in the position of trying to remember how or when we connected with a particular contact. Being able to recount exactly how you initially met is not only a great way to show a connection that you care, but can also help you remember details that will be key later in your business relationship.
- Track past messages sent through LinkedIn to specific contacts. This is an extremely helpful feature in that you can quickly reference past conversations and scan for important details that may influence contracts, partnerships, etc.
- Set reminders. This is by far the coolest feature of LinkedIn Contacts. Stay first of mind with potential customers, hiring managers, influencers, etc. by setting reminders to send them emails, a card, make a phone call, or even mail a newspaper clipping that relates to an earlier conversation. This tool empowers LinkedIn users to touch contacts at different intervals. Some contacts should be contacted monthly, others quarterly and may be a couple only biannually. Schedule follow-up conversations when influencers mention important future projects.
- Add notes. Whether you’re on a phone call with a contact or are reading an article with pertinent information that could influence your relationship, adding notes under a contact will help you remember key details.
Most sales people already understand the importance of CRM systems, however, LinkedIn Contacts is an affordable free option for non-sales professionals who need a better way to manage relationships. In fact, I would even recommend using LinkedIn Contacts for job search (stay in touch with decision makers) and stay at home moms who may be taking a year or two off to spend with their babies, but want to remain relative in corporate America even during their absence.
Crystal Washington is a social media marketing strategist, speaker, co-founder of Socialtunities—a social media instruction brand that trains Gen Ys-Boomers on the strategic use of social media, and the author of The Social Media WHY: A Busy Professional’s Practical Guide to Using Social Media Including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+ and Blogs for Business. She is hired by corporations and associations around the globe to provide keynotes, workshops, and webinars.
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