Cultivating a wide professional network is great for business. However, the real key is keeping these relationships alive beyond the first meeting and connecting on LinkedIn. But how do you keep track of everyone in your network when you’re busy with your business?
With this question in mind, we asked 10 entrepreneurs from YEC the following question:
“What is one trick (or web tool) you have for maintaining your professional network online?”
Here’s what YEC community members had to say:
1. Email Updates
“I use email digests to keep up with my professional network. There are quite a few, such as Bio Is Changed, that show you when your friends change their bios on Twitter or their LinkedIn Updates to see birthdays and new jobs. Those updates give you a good talking point to chat with your professional network.” ~ Ben Lang, Mapped In Israel
2. Email Tracking Software
“Email tracking software such as MSGTAG helps you to know whether your emails have been read. Having this data helps you to keep your network from growing stale, and to know when to follow up.” ~ Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
“Humin is a great new app on your phone that allows you to organize your contacts as you should “humanly” remember them (by location, organization, university or interest). It links together and organizes your contacts automatically with your social media (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin), address book and email. This is great whenever I am visiting somewhere new; I have contacts wherever I go.” ~ Kenny Nguyen, Big Fish Presentations
“LinkedIn is a great way to network, manage your connections and keep up with various industries.” ~ Timothy Schmidt, WebsiteRescue
“Newsle is a great way to be notified of accomplishments and achievements by your contacts. And when you receive good news about someone, you can send them a nice note and that’s it. Don’t view this as an opportunity to leverage their accomplishment to see how it benefits you. Be genuine and strive to get your company’s name (positively) in the press as well.” ~ Adam Stillman, SparkReel
“Better known as a CRM, I use Highrise to label different contacts, track conversations and, at a glance, get a sense of who I need to reach out to and when. The best thing is that it doesn’t overwhelm my calendar, and allows me to think more strategically about reach-outs while allowing room for spontaneity.” ~ Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep
7. Twitter Lists
“Regardless of the platform you use to manage your social media feed, Twitter lists can save an incredible amount of time in keeping up with your network. A five minute scan of my private “Important People I Like” and “Online BFF” lists quickly tells me what’s happening with my connections and how I can help.” ~ Molly Mahar, Stratejoy
8. Buffer App
“With the Buffer app you can schedule out messages far in advance. Heck, why not schedule out a year in advance? Take a couple days and plan out your next year. I personally do this for my family and it works like a charm. They all think I’m on top of it. I remember everyone’s birthdays and special events. The same applies to business. Schedule it out!” ~ John Rampton, Host
9. Scheduled Time to Connect
“Dedicate 15-20 minutes a week to go through LinkedIn, Twitter and wherever else to send messages, connect with new peers, comment on posts and express interest in and see what others are doing. By scheduling a dedicated time you won’t have to check here and there throughout the week. Do it all at once so that you can focus on what you’re doing and avoid multi-tasking.” ~ Brooke Bergman, Allied Business Network Inc.
“I use Contactually to “bucket” my network by how often I want to connect with them. Contactually automatically sends you an email every day with X number of people you should reach out to that day (you can set how many people you want to connect with on a daily or weekly basis). They also have templates you can use to streamline your message.” ~ Mike Ambassador Bruny, Ambassador Bruny Dot Com
Fingers Photo via Shutterstock
LinkedIn and Twitter lists are tops on my list. Very handy for keeping up professionally.
I haven’t heard of some of the sites you listed (Newsle and Contactually, for instance). Might check them out.
I mainly do no. 9, but tend to do it every couple of days.
For social media, I use Hootsuite. It allows me to keep track of everything in one location.
I heard about Humin from the Social Hour podcast I think. I have to check out Contactually, but I think I will create my own simplified system with reminder on the phone in the address book, or in some other way.