Mario Sundar

LinkedIn's 2nd PR hire. These are my thoughts on products, public relations, and startups.

How do you stay productive on social media sites?

As a social media manager, it’s my job to monitor and track conversations related to “linkedin” as well as engage with the community when appropriate. This, in addition to more strategic global social media strategy, editing and managing content creation for the LinkedIn blog and select marketing projects at LinkedIn.

So, very quickly you learn that there’s only one way to prevent you from drowning in the chaos that’s coordinating multiple social media accounts (in my case, editing the linkedin blog, managing our twitter accounts – @mariosundar, curating @linkedin, and @linkedinnews) – with a lil help from TweetDeck and a simple ritual which I described earlier in How can I increase my productivity? – @singletasking.

Here’s how you stay productive while managing or dabbling in multiple social media accounts or social networking sites:

1. Be clear on your goals:

Why do you use Facebook or Twitter. In my case, LinkedIn and Twitter are sorta job requirements, and with Twitter – as you can imagine potentially distracting.

So, I outlined what my 3 key goals with Twitter were:

  • Identify breaking news on LinkedIn as it happens and engage with our users should they have questions / I have a partner in crime, from our customer service team – Derek Homann, who does a terrific job supporting the customer service goal.
  • Be the source of LinkedIn related news through the LinkedIn blog and use that as a means of engaging with our community of users on product news
  • Amplify the conversations coming from within LinkedIn (for e.g. sharing tweets from folks who work at LinkedIn, when its relevant to the  conversation)

Now, all I needed was a tool that lets me monitor Twitter real-time, slice and dice that information as fast as I could, respond to high-priority items and get outta there. Enter TweetDeck.

2. Find the right tool to help accomplish those goals:

I think Seesmic may be a credible alternative, but I found Tweetdeck as a young Twitter user and there’s no turning back. Here’s how Tweetdeck helps me stay productive in line with my key goals mentioned above.

  • Track Smart: I have a column on “linkedin” related tweets as they come in real-time (I love the ability to filter tweets by specific keywords – so show me all “linkedin” tweets except for the ones that say “Jobs” for e.g.) This way, every time I check in, there’s a manageable amount of tweets that I can sort through after cutting through the spam.
  • Schedule tweets: Given that Twitter works best real-time, I automate relevant tweets every time we publish a new LinkedIn blog post. In addition, I schedule separate tweets including the name of the post author a couple more times – each time adding some value to the reader and surfacing the people behind the organization who are communicating with the end user.
  • RT Smart: I also use the column on my linkedin colleagues (see below) to find appropriate tweets to RT through the @linkedin Twitter channel.

Adding 3 – 4 noiseless columns helps me focus on what matters. Currently, my Tweetdeck has 4 relevant columns: the “linkedin” column, and three twitter lists – folks in social media whose blogs and work I admire, my favorite LinkedIn peeps, and a high-quality stream of relevant breaking tech news (a Twitter list I curate –…).

I do not check my own Twitter feed @mariosundar since it’s too noisy.

3. Check it only at certain times of the day:

Once you pick your signal streams, as Singletasking suggests, open TweetDeck only 3 times a day. Yes, I’m guilty of checking it more times, but I’m trying to bring it down to 3. And, therein lies the key to being productive on social media sites.

Know why you’re doing it, plan accordingly, and stick to the plan. Done.

Vote up my answer on Quora

Filed under: Miscellaneous

Quora: What are the hottest digital media startups right now?

What are the hottest digital media startups right now? 7 answers on Quora

What are the hottest digital media startups right now?

Here’s my answer. If you’re on Quora, I’d appreciate it if you’d vote my answer up. Thanks!

Instapaper is the dark horse when it comes to digital media, and I suspect they could do to news media what TiVo did to television.

If Marco Arment (formerly w/ Tumblr) can scale the service right and market it to the right audiences, I suspect we could have a decent business brewing.

+1 to a couple of names mentioned on this thread. I think Tumblr & Quora  in particular, are nailing it.

I find myself starting my day on these sites to consume content that’s both geared towards my personal interests (tumblr) and career interests (quora), similar to how I felt with Twitter, Facebook and WordPress. I didn’t mention LinkedIn, since I work there.

That said, Tumblr is having it’s Friendster moment as it keeps struggling to stay afloat and online. Not a good sign. If they can handle it, they could turn out to be THE digital media upstart to watch out.”

BTW, moving forward, I hope to re-blog select Quora answers on this blog here. This one’s tagged under “future of digital media”.

If you write for a career blog, I’d highly recommend your reblogging it on Quora, since it helps you surface your content to yet another targeted audience. Think of it as yet another channel for the valuable content you create. More on that later.

If you’ve questions on Quora? Leave a comment or find me on twitter  @mariosundar / Mario Sundar.

Filed under: Miscellaneous

Stats: More B2B firms (not B2C) use social media

Now that’s a surprise. A lot of companies are dabbling in social media and trying to figure out what’s the right approach to social marketing. But, it’s telling that more of these firms trying it out are from the B2B world than B2C. There’s a lot to consume in this graphic but a few key points after the jump. Hat tip to Mashable.

Key points:

  • More B2B companies (than B2C firms) dabbling in social media cluelessly (will explain)
  • Those B2B firms are less active on social media than their B2C counterparts
  • B2B firms also have less executive approval, less budgets and more of them think it’s irrelevance (uh!)
  • Looks like Facebook and LinkedIn were ranked as the top two social networking sites that these B2B companies have tried out (Yes, I work at LinkedIn)
  • Those that do measure social media ROI (half of them) find online marketing more effective than traditional (and I’m guessing online – encompasses social)

That’s your stats for the day. Hope you enjoyed it. I’ve got a couple more interesting posts lined up. So come back tomorrow for more.

And, the only thing I’d add is – whether you’re a B2B or B2C firm, NEVER start with the tools in mind. Always, start with goals and ROI. Here’s a post I wrote on the very same topic when corporate blogging was all the rage among companies.

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Filed under: Miscellaneous

Companies! Shape up your social media policy or else?!

Update: Check out Techmeme for a slew of interesting viewpoints on this topic.

I’ve always been a strong advocate of companies proactively creating and sharing social media guidelines within their organizations to encourage their employees to both build a strong brand for themselves on social platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn but at the same time, help them avoid painful pitfalls.

HuffingtonPost just picked up a New York Times piece that shone the spotlight on a “ground breaking case”. The National Labor Review Board called the firing of an employee (on the basis of a Facebook post), illegal.

He said. She said.

A company fired an employee for disparaging remarks she made about her supervisor on Facebook. They quoted their social media policy “that bars employees from depicting the company “in any way” on Facebook or other social media sites in which they post pictures of themselves.

And, the National Labor Relations Board now accuses the company of illegally firing the employee, arguing that “workers’ criticisms of their bosses or companies on a social networking site are generally a protected activity and that employers would be violating the law by punishing workers for such statements.

What does this case mean for companies?

It remains to be seen how this case pans out as it’s pending review on Jan 25th. That said, if you’re a small business or a corporation, first check if you’ve a social media policy or guidelines but more importantly, have you shared this information across your organization, the larger you are – the more complicated that may be.

As for this case, the resolution could go either way if the company can make a good case for defamation. That said, it was super-interesting that the supportive comments the employee received from her colleagues is what made the labor board equate this with a union, which they argue is protected speech.

As a company, there’s not much you can do over your employees’ usage of social media in their personal time. That’s a given. But, trying to get them to understand what responsible usage of social media is, can and should be done.

Education is better than a cure.

Having a social media policy is mandatory. Tip: getting your employees to help craft it collaboratively is ideal. At LinkedIn, over a year ago, we hosted two brainstorm sessions where we invited all interested employees to learn, share and help craft our guidelines. This led to our first set of social media guidelines which we socialized internally, but guess what. Since then we’ve more than doubled in the # of employees and so we now include the guidelines during orientation.

Also, keep in mind all your global teams and the international laws that are in play here. Stay tuned for more how-to posts on this topic. In the meanwhile, check out my other posts on social media guidelines here.

Does your company have a set of social media guidelines? Leave a comment.

For more thoughts from my peers in this space. Check out Techmeme.

Mario Sundar on TechMeme

Filed under: Best-of, Employee Engagement, Miscellaneous

Resumes SUCK. 3 things you can do about it now!

There I was… battling slumber as I came this close to ignoring my focus on deliberate blogging – yes, it’s a play on deliberate practice (well, never mind). And, all it took for me to get this post up was a kick in the blogs from an old post (circa 2008, but relevant today) by Dave McClure. I love Dave’s posts – yes, this too is one of em with colorful language, and by colorful I mean COLORFUL in more ways than one – but it’s a doozy.

Resumes SUCK! 3 things you can do about it. Read below.

But, I digress. Dave was responding to a prior post by Scoble (again, remember this is 2008) on why resumes suck by amplifying what specifically sucks about it and drawing out 4 specific ways to beat that. Great tips all.

I’m gonna focus on three of those key ingredients cos it’s worth repeating:

1. A LinkedIn profile is a MUST-HAVE:

I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it with Dave this time — every professional MUST-HAVE a LinkedIn profile, and I’m not saying this just cos I work there. I cannot think of a more time effective way to let the world know that you rock at what you do and why – all crafted with relevant keywords that help you pop up when someone searches for your name or job focus in a search engine. It’s also the best 10 minutes you could ever spend, since that’s all the time it takes to get the basics up there and maybe another 20 minutes to PIMP IT OUT as Dave suggests:

A simple LinkedIn profile is nice, but it’s not what i’m talking about.  you better work, sister (sashay, chante!) — get your connections into LinkedIn, fill out a work history with different positions you’ve held & expertise gained, get recommendations from people & partners who you worked with (not just your boss), answer questions on topics that matter in your line of work, etc.  most importantly, reference companies, products, skills, and other keywords that are important to you & others

And, then update your LinkedIn profile (stuff you’re working on) whenever you reach a major milestone at work – 15 minutes a month! Done. Even better is recommend a colleague you’ve worked with once you’re done working on a specific project. You get the idea. But, frankly there are no more excuses. Everyone from your hiring manager to your peers are looking for you on LinkedIn. And, not having a presence there will reflect poorly on you.

2. Career Blog around keywords:

My blog not only helps me arrange my thinking on topics I’m most passionate about (for e.g. top business blogs or community marketing) but more importantly since it’s a career blog, it led me to my dream gig. For those of you, who are considering a blog and have time to invest (especially you job seekers, I’m talking to you), I’d recommend having a strategy around specific keywords you specialize in or want to be found for.

These are the same keywords you should have on your LinkedIn profile under the specialties section. Yes, think about your professional brand holistically and apply across all social media hubs you’re now a part of.

Use similar keywords on your LI profile and your blog

Also, add your blog and Twitter URL (if you have one) with a clear description from your LinkedIn profile.

Add your blog and Twitter URLs to your LinkedIn profile

And, finally to complete the career focused social media trinity, you can also add your blog or LinkedIn profile (whichever is  updated more often) to your Twitter profile – under the website section in your profile.

Add your LinkedIn URL or blog URL from your Twitter profile

Simple SEO friendly actions such as the above tips, will go a long way in helping you build your brand on topics you’re most passionate about. As more people search for those topics – your blog posts and LinkedIn profile are bound to show up more frequently, but all of this takes time and dedication. Nothing comes easy. Finding a dream job is a long term gig, NOT a short term win.

3. Build relevant content on other social media properties:

Finally, if you have even more time on your hands, go ahead and create relevant content on career friendly social media sites. Dave gives a great example of how a Flickr picture and a slideshare that he created got thousands of views and ranks really high for a popular term.

this one is actually overlooked by a number of very thoughtful (but not very colorful) bloggers.  i once wrote a post about Facebook licensing their platform to Bebo in response to Google launching OpenSocial.  the copy was pretty much empty blather except for the somewhat insane graphic at right that i created using powerpoint, and then uploaded to Flickr (and also to SlideShare), then embedded in the post.  i probably spent about 5 minutes writing the post, but i killed most of an afternoon (3-4 hours) putting together one silly image to satisfy my own freakish psychotic social network addiction.  the photo later got picked up by several other bloggers, and when i checked just now the Flickr photo had over  6000 views.  the SlideShare presentation (just one slide) has about 5600 views.  and the photo comes up on the first page of google image search results for the term “social graph“.  whaddya know: my crazy-ass graphic is DOMINATING the social graph term!  and i bet my post gets more awareness than any ten other high-and-mighty bloggers who wrote some in-depth intellectual analysis (yeah i know i do that shit too).

Agreed. But, let’s face it there are very few folks like us (can’t believe it’s nearly midnight already) who invest the level of time and dedication on crafting social media content consistently. But, if you’re a professional who presents at events and conferences, slideshare is a great place for you to host your content. And, don’t forget to cross link your slides from your LinkedIn profile.

Use LinkedIn's Slideshare app to host professional slide content

Not only that you can also pull in your WordPress blog content into LinkedIn through a LinkedIn app as well.

If you've a WordPress blog, pull that into your LinkedIn profile too

But, I could go on and on and on about this. FACT: The world is changing and showcasing the work you’re really good at it is NO LONGER the job of resumes. The above three tips and tools mentioned can help you achieve the same but far more effectively.

Also, if you’re looking for tips and tricks on finding a job, check out my posts on that topic. If you like what you read, you should subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter!

Filed under: HOW-TO Use Social Media, Miscellaneous,

Are European companies more clueless about social media?

Readers of this blog may have noticed this past week that I wrote of two posts on how business – both large corporations and small businesses – either don’t get social media or don’t get how to measure social media ROI. But as I’d mentioned earlier today, the new world of work is global in nature. How do companies in other parts of the world fare?

So, I found this recent study by German think tank – Brand Science Institute – enlightening in that it made similar conclusions (a tad more dramatically though) on how effective social media marketing is in Corporate Europe. Here are a few conclusions from that study, conducted over a 7 month period in companies spread across 12 countries, 563 marketers, and 52 brands in Europe.

Click through the presentation below for more.

81% of companies DO NOT have a clear social media strategy

87% of companies had to correct their social media expectations

Only 11% have clearly defined social media guidelines and more…

Filed under: Miscellaneous

The New World of Work

Social networking sites are reshaping the world of work in a way we haven’t seen since the dawn of the Microsoft era. This blog series will shed some light on the huge advantages they bring to the workplace that will affect the way the next generation works.

A recent Harvard Business Review report highlights six fundamental shifts in the way we work. The post outlines 6 ways tomorrow’s office doesn’t have to be like a scene from “The Office”. Here’s what I found most interesting…

The New World of Work

Collaboration within the professional graph increases efficiency

Social networking sites have now been able to scale the number of connections (to the hundreds of millions, in some cases) and interactions (think of the immense potential here with millions of nodes) in the ecosystem, we should now be able to see increasing returns thanks to  the “collaboration curve”.

As it becomes increasingly possible to scale the number of connections and interactions between participants in a given environment, however, a new kind of performance curve is emerging: the collaboration curve. This is characterized by increasing returns: the more participants — and interactions between those participants — you add to a carefully designed and nurtured environment, the more the rate of performance improvement accelerates.

The collaboration curve helps explain the rise of network-centric efforts ranging from open source software development to “crowdsourcing” to “creation spaces.” In nearly all of these group efforts, rapid leaps in performance improvement arise as participants get better faster by working with others. 

I think we’re just scratching the surface as we figure out ways to get better at how we work, using existing social networking ecosystems. LinkedIn alone has over 75 million professionals on the site, which should lead to numerous opportunities for increasing efficiencies at work. We are able to close deals better with help from friends of friends, ditto for finding a job, asking questions on LinkedIn groups helps us find answers on projects, that’d have otherwise taken us way more time in the past. Don’t you think so?

In what other ways have you seen social networking sites like LinkedIn change the way we work? Leave a comment.

If you like similar content you should subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter!

Filed under: Miscellaneous

Is promoting your CEO blog a good spend of your money?

Over at Mashable this past week, Erica Swallow compiles 15 interesting corporate blogs – some of which have found mention in our corporate blog rankings over the past 3 years. Guess which ones?

While I’ve shared similar tips in the past, there were a couple of new tips from the post that I wish to highlight.

1. Use the social graph to add “real voices” to your blog:

I think a lot of companies are collaborative group blogs with posts coming from different teams and a diverse array of employees from across the board. For e.g. at LinkedIn, we’ve had posts from nearly 90 of my colleagues (I’m the social media guy at LinkedIn and I edit our corporate blog) from across product, engineering, design, and our executive team. Google is another great example.

The official Google blog pulls insights from all over the company. Taking a quick look at posts from the past few days, I found updates posted by a software engineer, a technical program manager working on Google Apps for government, the vice president of search products and user experience, an entertainment marketing associate, and a university programs specialist — that’s a diverse crowd.

Connecting the people behind the products to the people using the products

What we’ve done on the LinkedIn blog, is to use our LinkedIn API to pull in the most recent LinkedIn profile image and summary for the post author. This gives you a better picture of who’s writing the post and if you’re interested in providing feedback to the author directly you can click through to their profile.

LinkedIn blog pulls in profile info on post authors

Facebook’s blog is very similar as they do the same pulling in the most current profile photo of their post authors. This is something all corporate blogs should be doing since it helps shine the spotlight where it should be shone – on the real voices of the company.

Again, I think this goes back to the basic ideal of social media within corporations – facilitating easier conversations between users and the teams that make the product. Read Hugh Macleod’s classic post on the Porous membrane and how that works within a socially smart organization.

Facebook's blog also pulls in author info frm social graph

2. To promote or NOT to promote a CEO blog:

CEO blogging is a challenging and frankly a debatable idea. But, if you have a CEO who not only likes to blog, but is actually good at it and can find the time for it – then go for it.

Erica even suggests promoting it:

You can’t put up a blog and expect people to just discover it. While that’s possible, it’s very unlikely. Just like any other business, marketing, or educational program you may run, you need to promote it.

There are a lot of ways to promote your blog, but one particular corporate blog is doing a great job with search engine marketing (SEM). Forrester Research’s CEO George Colony runs a blog called The Counterintuitive CEO. While searching for “ceo blog” on Google, you’ll run across his blog in the “sponsored links” section, where paid Google AdWords ads are displayed.

As you can see the first result that pops up when you search for CEO blog is the Top 10 CEO blog rankings that I did nearly 3 years ago.

Is promoting CEO blogs a good use of time & money?

One of blogging’s great advantages is that with a targeted content strategy (picking the right topics to blog about consistently) and a passionate CEO blogging, you don’t need to spend any $s on promoting it otherwise. More on that later.

What do you think? Is it worth spending money to promote your CEOs blog? Or is it spent more usefully in other marketing pursuits? Leave a comment on this blog or follow me on Twitter.

If you like similar content you should subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter!

So, while Erica’s post gives us a sneak peak at some interesting corporate blogs and goes over blogging basics I think at the end of the day – any company’s blog is valued based on two things COMMUNITY and CONTENT that’s useful to your community.

That’s pretty much it. That’s why I’ve been ranking corporate blogs based on their Technorati authority (for lack of a better metric), since it helps us identify how popular and engaging these blogs are with their community. Here are the Top 10 corporate blogs of the past few years.

And, if you’d like to see CEO blogs, check out the original killer post that started it all. Go here.

Filed under: Miscellaneous

Why businesses continue to fail in social media

Businesses are confused by social media, always have been. Many businesses feel compelled to start a Facebook page or a Twitter page the same way they used to feel the need for a blog, but they’re not sure why? They amass thousands of followers on Twitter. Now, what?

Always start with the goal and find the means

Feels like Groundhog day to me? It wasn’t that long ago when businesses were jumping on the blogging bandwagon with no goal in sight. This often leads to frustration and discarded corporate blogs. I’m tracking over 200 corporate blogs and find that many of them either fall off the radar or the Top 10 business blog rankings because they stop blogging.

And oddly enough the answers always remain the same. Start with business goals, track metrics and the rest will follow. Starting a Facebook page without a social media strategy doesn’t achieve much and not having social media goals besides # of followers (for e.g.) doesn’t get you far either.

eConsultancy recently had a post on first identifying your target audiences and goals; identifying social platforms later:

Social media can, and should, involve identifying your target audiences and the platforms they already use. If you are a B2B company, LinkedIn and Twitter are likely to be much more useful than Facebook. Demographic information is available for most of the major social networks, so there really is no reason not to target your social media activities.

Also, different social media sites are fine-tuned for different business goals. If you’d like to use social media for lead generation, then identify the appropriate social platforms that’d help you achieve that. Once you’re done with that, define a comprehensive social strategy across those platforms. Hoovers Biz blog (another great blog you should subscribe to) said it best:

Because social media is so easily accessible and fairly straightforward, many businesses are hopping on the Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn bandwagon in an effort to stay current. The problem is these businesses have no idea what they are doing; without a proper strategy, social media is essentially a waste of time. In order to make social media work for your business it must be part of the winning Internet marketing formula to dominate local searches:

Social Media Website structure SEO = Local Search Domination

Bonus tip: And, check out another great post on how to use both LinkedIn and Twitter in concert for prospecting, here.

Integrate with existing strategies

This leads to the more interesting question, how does a new social media site fit into your existing strategy (whether it is marketing or PR or customer service). You probably have an existing email marketing strategy. Use social marketing in combination with what’s been working for you. Looks like marketers are listening:

As reported by eMarketer today, in an April 2010 survey by email marketing agency, eROI, two-thirds of US marketers are now integrating social media into their email marketing campaigns.  In addition, email marketing and social media marketing solution provider, StrongMail indicated that the percentage of marketers who had integrated social and email (or planned to this year) is 71% worldwide, based on June 2010 research. (via Hubspot blog)

For e.g. your existing email marketing strategy could be a great source of lead generation. Promoting a best practices LinkedIn group you’ve created or encouraging your audience to share on LinkedIn (esp. a B2B audience) adds to your email campaign’s long term effectiveness. Those were two of the key objectives that business executives stated as their goal in integrating social with email marketing (Source: eMarketer)

Top reasons for integrating email marketing with social

Companies that are doing it right

Here are five examples of companies that are experimenting with social media right in different areas within the organization – from PR to Enterprise marketing. Will keep this blog updated with future adventures of companies that are early adopters of social media but doing it right. Read on…

1. Pepsi’s Bonin Bough explains the rationale behind Pepsi’s social media strategy – from the master plan to the small wins

2. How Karen Wickre and team at Google approach social media as a team sport (Google’s corporate blog may not be social, but it’s effective)

3. Intel’s Bryan Rhoads goes over social media training for employees and all the cool stuff Intel’s been doing in that regard. A must-read for anyone at a large Fortune 500 organization.

4. Dell’s Manish Mehta shares how Dell scales social media across the enterprise and their numerous internal teams, yet maintaining the intimacy with their consumers.

5. Sorry it’s them again! How Coke and Pepsi are building their “Trust Banks” with their customers. It’s all about trust, yo!

Keep track of the latest in social media. Subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter!

Filed under: Miscellaneous

3 ways Social Networking killed the Rolodex

Mashable had a great post recently on using data for business relationships that got me thinking of ways that social networking sites (particularly LinkedIn and Twitter) have rendered obsolete the rolodex by offering far more effective ways to stay in touch with the relationships that matter most in our careers.

Today’s most actionable business data comes from living and very human sources like social networks, wikis, microblogs, crowdsourced contact directories, collaboratively filtered finance communities, real-time search engines, hyperlocal news sites and more. Managing that data can involve a lot of mixing and matching, comparing and contrasting.

While the article mentions the evolution, thanks to the massive amounts of relationship data unleashed by these social networking sites, it didn’t delve into ways you could leverage these sites on a daily basis. So, I thought I’d put together 3 ways social networking sites have destroyed the old style of managing relationships in your professional life. Details after the jump.

Rolodex has been dead... for a while

The Rolodex is dead. Long live social networking sites.

1. The Auto-updating Rolodex: always have the most relevant up-to-date information on your contacts

One of the biggest flaws in a rolodex is that your business cards are useless once someone moves on from their job. And, in this day and age where professionals go through multiple jobs, it’s important that your relationship management system do all the hard work of keeping that contact information up to date.

Most of my contacts are aggregated through Google Voice / Contacts and synced to my iPhone (via iTunes) but unfortunately it has the same flaw – they don’t auto update when a contact moves from job to job (for e.g.). So, I turn back to my trusted LinkedIn Address Book for the most accurate update. Since everyone updates their profile on LinkedIn, my address book is up to date. I also find that our newly redesigned address book allows me to tag and categorize those contacts for me to pull up easily. More on that later.

LinkedIn's Redesigned Address Book

2. The Real-Time Rolodex: with notifications and people alerts

Since Twitter came on the scene, we’ve seen the tremendous value in real-time updates (ambient awareness) that benefit relationship building. On LinkedIn, for e.g. status updates have led folks to start a business. On Twitter, there are always these tiny little breadcrumbs of information (tweets) that help you foster your relationships with folks you’re connected to.

Building relationships is an art form. It’s partly built by thoughtful consideration and sharing of ideas at the right time. Imagine if you were notified each time the folks in your rolodex were sharing thoughts, ideas and professional content that may be of interest to you? Wouldn’t that be cool. Here are two easy ways to do that both on LinkedIn and Twitter.

  • First, set up automatic People Alerts on LinkedIn for specific connections: This is super-valuable yet a tad time consuming. Imagine as a job seeker, if you were notified each time your hiring manager commented on a group discussion. Or an entrepreneur who’d like to be alerted when a VC liked a news discussion on Groups.
    • How to set up People Email Alerts on LinkedIn Groups: Go through a list of your connections on the “People I’m Following” page and turn on email alerts for specific connections (

People Email Alerts on LinkedIn

  • Now, auto-create a Twitter list of your business connections for real-time notifications. My favorite part of this feature is that the Twitter Business List auto-updates each time your connection list on LinkedIn changes. Here’s a two-step process to set yourself up for real-time activity notifications from your business connections:
    • Step 1: Create a private Twitter List of your LinkedIn connections from LinkedIn’s Tweet app ( It’s one click, easy to do and auto-creates a Twitter list that you can then access from any of your favorite Twitter apps.
    • Step 2: If you use Tweetdeck or Seesmic, pull in this private Twitter list so you can now see a real-time feed of activity from your business connections right on your favorite Twitter app (I use Tweetdeck on my laptop and Tweetie on my iPhone)
    • Step 3: Alternatively, if you’d rather just follow specific business connections from LinkedIn on Twitter (the same folks for whom you created a people email alert in Step 1) then go here –

3. The Easy to Search Rolodex: skim, sort, and search your extensive rolodex through multiple facets

Now that you’ve created a notification system for your rolodex, you want to be able to search effectively for a contact working at any company or within any industry. If you haven’t checked out the recent updates to LinkedIn’s Address Book, I’d highly recommend you do that now ( Search and sort your address book by 6 facets: tags, last name, companies, locations, industries, recent activity.

LinkedIn Address Book: Sort through 6 facets (Pic Source: LinkedIn Blog)

Though, it may not have the depth and structure of LinkedIn’s address book, both Twitter and Facebook have an address book of friends and connections. Here’s what works:

  • Friends: Facebook does a good job of keeping it simple – both in terms of creating lists (similar to Twitter lists, though these are private within your Facebook universe). I like how it allows you to put friends into lists the minute you connect. Also, they automatically create a phonebook by pulling together your friends who have listed their phone #s on Facebook. Nice.

Facebook's auto-generated Phonebook

  • Followers: Twitter on the other hand, embraces the follower philosophy. So, all you get is a list of folks you follow and you’ve the option to bucket them into different lists (public or private). But again, this ain’t gonna help you find or contact specific folks like you’d use a rolodex for. That’d have to be done only via LinkedIn’s Address Book.

Twitter's Followerbook

Today, social networking sites help you auto-update, track real time information and find targeted contacts to nurture relationships.

Tomorrow they’re moving slowly but surely towards mobile. I’d have added a couple more bullet points around accessing your contacts anywhere, everywhere but frankly I don’t see a comprehensive application today that provides a continuous sync between your multiple social networking address books and your cell phone, so I haven’t delved into it.

If you found any interesting ways to use your social networking sites as a rolodex, fire away in the comments section and I’ll update the post.

Filed under: Miscellaneous

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