Linkedin continues to add new features to help you manage your professional network. Last Thursday they announced LinkedIn Contacts, which they are billing as a smarter way to stay in touch with your most important relationships. LinkedIn contacts aims to bring all your contacts, those in your address books, email, and your calendars, into one place.
You’ve been able to import your contacts into LinkedIn in the past. LinkedIn contacts is different in you now connect those contacts as live links so when one of your contacts changes their contact information in one of those linked accounts, the info also gets updated in LinkedIn.
You can synch contacts from a wide variety of source, here are a few screen shots from the “Add Contacts” wizard (click on the images to expand):
The first set of options will link contacts from your popular email, contacts, and calendar programs including Gmail, Yahoo!, Outlook, and the iPhone Address Book.
In the applications section you can link to your contacts in CardMunch, Evernote, and Tripit.
You can also import from CSV files created by exporting your contact information from other popular programs. There is no option, at least right now, for linking Facebook and Twitter contacts. I didn’t see any options for connecting to CRM systems like Salesforce.com, but many CRM systems synch with Outlook, so you may be able to bring over those contacts via Outlook.
In addition to being able to see all of your contacts in one place, you will be able to add notes, set reminders, notified of birthdays, and see your last communication with a contact.
You can also see your last communication with the person. You’ll be able to sort your contacts based on your most recent interactions with them, upcoming meetings or other criteria.
Another nice feature is Your Day. Your Day gives you suggestions on who you should contact (in the gray box below) and why. The icons above your contacts profile picture indicate whether they have a new job, birthday, etc.
Contacts is available both on LinkedIn.com and as an app for iPhone.
Bill Brelsford Small Business Marketing Consultant