Have you seen the LinkedIn Contacts / Relationship tool? Apparently it has been around since the middle of 2013 but I only found out about it very recently. (And some people think I’m an early adopter – hah!)
I personally use Evernote for my Relationship Management system but I thought I’d check out LinkedIn’s version to see whether it might be worth switching.
In this ‘new’ functionality LinkedIn offers you a way to
- write notes about your contacts / connections (I use these two terms interchangeably, sorry!)
- set reminders for getting in touch with a contact, including a note on what you want to be reminded about
- write down how you met, including who introduced you. This doesn’t have to be a LinkedIn contact, but as soon as you start typing a name LinkedIn will try to find the person for you.
- set tags (like ‘classmates’, ‘conference attendee’, ‘friend’, ‘family’ etc) and
- see an index of your messages with them. (This is automatically added as you message back and forth with someone).
Obviously all this information is kept ‘private’ in that none of your other contacts will see what you write, but hackers might. So keep it civil and don’t put anything there that you wouldn’t want your mum (or a lawyer) to read!
This information is all found and updated by going to a contact’s profile and clicking on the ‘Relationship” link under their photo.
The not-so basics
If you sync* your external email and calendar with LinkedIn you get a bit more functionality. You can now see the first line of any email correspondence that you’ve had with a particular contact under the Relationship link. Or as LinkedIn puts it “index of your email messages so you can quickly access your message history.”
You can also see your meetings for the day if you return to the main Contacts page (found under the Networks link on the black menu bar).
I also synced Evernote to LinkedIn because it was an option but it doesn’t appear to do anything useful.
Would I use this functionality?
The short answer is ‘No’.
There are just too many unfinished aspects to this functionality to make it a true relationship manager in my mind:
- The calendar doesn’t update – even after removing appointments from my Google Calendar and then refreshing it in LinkedIn, the same 9 meetings kept showing up for today.
- You only see the subject heading of any external email traffic with a connection. There’s no way to go straight to the message which means all I see is a string of emails with someone and no idea what they’re really about.
- There’s no way to customise the time of your reminder about a connection. It just comes in the early morning basically.
- I can’t search LinkedIn for anything I’ve written in the notes section which makes them particularly useless as a memory aid.
- If I remove an externally synced contact from LinkedIn, the very next refresh brings that person right back into my LinkedIn contacts!
So what next?
I’m going to keep an eye on this feature but until the above points are addressed and I can see some real value in using it, I’m going to stick with my trusty Evernote Relationship Management System.
* To sync external applications to LinkedIn
- click on the Network link in the black menu bar
- select Contacts from the drop down list
- click on the little cog / wheel in the top righthand side of the screen
- click the blue Sync button next to the application you want to add into LinkedIn
These are just my thoughts – I’d love to hear what you think about this feature. Have you used it? What do you like about it?