How to Leverage Your LinkedIn Contacts Better!
For those of you that have a LinkedIn account that is active – how is it going for you? Are you
maximizing those relationships to their full potential? If the answer is no or you are not sure let’s
explore this in more detail. We have all had a needed to utilize our LinkedIn account to find talent
in our personal network or extended networks. But perhaps you want a faster way to pinpoint
those connections. This is the quick and free solution for you. I call it my modern day custom
Rolodex at the tip of my fingers.
Our relationships can be categorized, tagged and data mined. Whew – seems a little too much to
imagine. But yes we can get analytical data from our social media relationships. Let’s dig into
categorization of our contacts in LinkedIn.
Here are my custom categories of relationships compared to Google, Twitter and Facebook.
Custom Google + Twitter Facebook
• Friends of Friends
• Friends except
As you can see my custom view is based on 4 tiers. Acquaintances are people you may never
have met but you have similar interest, connections or affiliations. Co-workers worked with you
presently or in the past. Colleagues are job related people or professionalbusiness relationships.
Friends are people who truly know you andor your family. I often say friends know you personally
and your relationship exists outside work or business.
You can definitely add more layers if needed however, I believe in keeping it simple. Some
people my want to distinguish family members from friends. Others may want to distinguish levels
such as school-mates, organization relationships, activity groups, etc.
In this article I will concentrate on LinkedIn only. First export your entire LinkedIn Connections
listings. LinkedIn provides various file format types to extract data. (Microsoft Outlook, Outlook
Express, Yahoo Mail, Mac OS X, vCard). My example is based on the Microsoft Outlook .CSV
extract. It has 60 data fields (60 columns). The default file name is
Open the file in Excel and sort the data as you see fit. I prefer to sort by Company, Job Title,
Name. You can remove the blank fields and add your own custom fields. I print my list to review a
hard copy. I then run through my listings of people and add additional attributes to my custom
fields or the default fields. I then enter those data points into my original spreadsheet and save.
You will notice a lot of columns are empty. Simply update them and save your work.
As you separate people in your excel spreadsheet by categories let’s add some more depth. You
will see some generic fields of information in plain text below. Our strategic data is summing up
details of people’s profiles into custom fields (listed in BOLD lettering). See below:
Criteria Example: Jane Doe
1. Job Title
2. Job Type
10. Career Role 1 (Sales, Recruit, HR)
11. Career Role 2 (Sales, Recruit, HR)
12. Career Role 3 (Sales, Recruit, HR)
13. Career Role 4 (Sales, Recruit, HR)
14. Career Role 5 (Sales, Recruit, HR)
15. Interests 1
16. Interests 2
17. Interests 3
20. Interesting Fact
1. Director of Sales
3. ABC Telecom Corporation
4. North America Sales
5. North East
6. New York
8. Cornell University
13. Product Manager
16. Boys & Girls Club
20. Nationally ranked lacrosse player
Another way to view your data is to create PivotTable to help you slice and dice the data in
different views. You can group and/or sort the data based on select search criteria. For example,
filter by State, College, Company, Job Title, Department, Career Role, etc.
Now you have a template to add more social media contacts to in Excel. Imagine if you add all
your social media contacts to this document. You can import this into your Smart Phone and or
Computer Address Book applications (i.e. Outlook, Apple Contacts, Google Contacts). Note: Your
custom fields will not all be applicable. But you could send› a few to the Comments/Notes field.
As you add more people and/or businesses you can aggregate your network in various
segments. Think of the value your connections provide you in a business aspect. You can sort
and rank them by Industry, Job Title, College, etc. Friends out rank Acquaintances as an
example. So as you equate the value of contacting people the relationship ranking displays best
plausible return. Meaning the more you have in common with a contact it exponentially increases
the chances of a quality relationship. People like to befriend and work with those who have things
in common with them.
Lastly you could import this custom Rolodex into a database of contacts for all types of usage.
For example, you need a speaker for your favorite charity go to your custom Rolodex. Going to a
college football game need to see who is a football fan like you – go to your custom RolodexYour
child needs to interview a lacrosse player – go to your custom Rolodex. You get the idea.
Written by Derris Boomer of Boomer Technology Group, LLC.
Example fields in .CSV file: linkedin_connections_export_microsoft_outlook.csv
2. First Name
3. Middle Name
4. Last Name
6. E-mail Address
7. E-mail 2 Address
8. E-mail 3 Address
9. Business Street
10. Business Street 2
11. Business Street 3
12. Business City
13. Business State
14. Business Postal Code
15. Business Country
16. Home Street
17. Home Street 2
18. Home Street 3
19. Home City
20. Home State
21. Home Postal Code
22. Home Country
23. Other Street
24. Other Street 2
25. Other Street 3
26. Other City
27. Other State
28. Other Postal Code
29. Other Country
32. Job Title
33. Assistant's Phone
34. Business Fax
35. Business Phone
36. Business Phone 2
38. Car Phone
39. Company Main Phone
40. Home Fax
41. Home Phone
42. Home Phone 2
44. Mobile Phone
45. Other Fax
46. Other Phone
48. Primary Phone
49. Radio Phone
50. TTY/TDD Phone
52. Assistant's Name
54. Manager's Name
56. Other Address
57. PO Box
59. Web Page
60. Personal Web Page