Managing your online network is critical, whether youâ€™re looking for a job, trying to advance in your career, or youâ€™re starting a business. Think of the Internet () as a global talent pool that has more contact information than the White Pages. In fact, 80 percent of available jobs are never even advertised, with more than half of all employees finding their jobs through networking, according to BH Careers International.
Social networks have connected and exposed us to more people than ever before. With all the online friends and followers youâ€™ve accumulated, itâ€™s become increasingly complicated to make sense of your social graph and use it to your advantage. Itâ€™s also never been more important to build your contact database, organize it, and then put it to work for you. The old adage â€œitâ€™s not what you know, itâ€™s who you know,â€ is true, so consider your rolodex more valuable than your wallet when it comes to achieving success in business.
Here is how to create a basic contact management strategy, stay connected and organized from your desktop to your phone, and give you some insight onto how to expand your network.
Your Contact Management Strategy
You will always have different tiers of relationships, from family, to friends, to associates, to acquaintances and everyone in between. In order to organize your database, you need to have specific categories in mind. Consider things like the strength of your relationship, how important the relationship is to you, the last time you connected with them, three things about them, what company they work for, their location, and their contact information (e-mail, phone, address, LinkedIn ()). You can use a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, an Access Database, Act!, or another similar software package to help manage your contacts, using these columns. Aside from these software packages, there are other applications listed below that can help you. By organizing your contacts under these main categories, it will allow you to reconnect with the right people, and expand your relationships.
1. From Your Social Graph to Your Desktop
Itâ€™s very important that you have physical copies of your contact database as a backup. Although, you may participate in a handful of social networks, that data resides in the cloud, and not on your desktop. Backing up your social graph means that if, for some reason, your social media profile disappears, is removed entirely, or the social network collapses and you lose everything, youâ€™ll be protected regardless. Try to get in the habit of exporting your contacts so that you have a copy on your desktop in an Excel file.
Here is how to save your social friends, contacts, and followers on your desktop:
Facebook (): Although Facebook might appear as a wall garden, thereâ€™s actually a trick to capturing your friendsâ€™ phone numbers and e-mail addresses. Create or use your existing Yahoo! e-mail account and import your Facebook friends right into your address book. Then download the .CSV file to your desktop.
LinkedIn: After logging into LinkedIn, go straight to the â€œconnectionsâ€ link in the global navigation area. At the bottom of the page, youâ€™ll see â€œexport connections.â€ From the next screen, you can download the .CSV file to your desktop.
Twitter (): You donâ€™t have the ability to view email addresses or phone numbers of your Twitter followers. You can, however, download a .CSV file of 100 of your followers to your desktop by using Twitter Export. The information in the spreadsheet will be the name, user name, follower and following count, and their bios.
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