How To Manage Your LinkedIn Contacts From Outlook

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If you're like many busy professionals, you manage parts of your business networking through LinkedIn, which provides interaction opportunities among a nexus of connections you build among your colleagues, co-workers and friends. From your direct first-degree connections to your second- and third-degree ties to your connections' connections, you quickly can build an extensive set of valuable contacts. As you integrate your email, contacts and personal/professional life events in Microsoft Outlook 2010, you can incorporate your LinkedIn network with the Outlook Social Connector, which enables you to view and manage your LinkedIn connections directly within Outlook.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Office 2010

Installation

  • Log in to your LinkedIn account in a Web browser. Click on the "Tools" link at the bottom of any page on the LinkedIn site. Download the LinkedIn provider file from the Overview tab. Like all the site-specific provider files for Outlook, LinkedIn's runs on the basic Outlook Social Connector, which is built into Outlook 2010. The LinkedIn Social Connector itself comes from LinkedIn, not from Microsoft.

  • Shut down Microsoft Outlook if it's already running. Launch the LinkedIn installer and click on the "Next" button in its installation wizard to add the provider file to your Outlook installation.

  • Launch Outlook. Switch to the View tab in the Outlook ribbon and click on the "People Pane" button. Choose "Account Settings" from the drop-down menu, then select "View Social Network Providers Available Online." Click on the LinkedIn item in the list to add the LinkedIn Outlook Social Connector to your installation of Microsoft Outlook.

  • Open the Outlook Social Connector if you haven't used it before. Click on the expand arrow at the bottom of the Outlook Reading Pane to open the People Pane, where your LinkedIn updates will appear.

Configuration

  • Open Outlook's View tab and click on the "People Pane" icon to bring up its drop-down menu. Choose "Account Settings" and continue on to the Social Network Accounts window. Click on the "View Social Network Providers Available Online" link to bring up a list of the social networks for which you've installed provider links in Outlook.

  • Activate the check box next to the LinkedIn item in the Social Network Accounts provider list. Enter the primary email address and password you use to log in to your LinkedIn account. To automate your LinkedIn connection each time you start Outlook, activate the "Remember Me" check box. Click on the "Connect" button at the bottom of the Social Network Accounts window to establish your login connection to LinkedIn. If you can't remember your password, click on the "Forgot Your Password?" link to reset it, which requires you to receive an email message from LinkedIn to confirm your identity on the LinkedIn site and change your password.

  • Click on the "Finish" button at the bottom of the Social Network Accounts window to complete your LinkedIn connection. The button becomes active once you log in to LinkedIn successfully through the Outlook Social Connector and see a green check mark at the left side of the LinkedIn entry in the provider list. You'll also see the message "Connected as," followed by your LinkedIn primary email address, below the LinkedIn listing in the list of accounts.

Use

  • Use the Outlook Social Connector's People Pane to view the LinkedIn information for the sender of a message you're viewing in the Reading Pane as an open email message or in an appointment listing. The sender's LinkedIn photo and professional title appears in the People Pane. If the item you're reviewing includes more than one of your LinkedIn connections, each one's photo appears at the top of the People Pane. Click on any of the photos to display that individual's LinkedIn information in the People Pane.

  • Manage your LinkedIn connections from the Outlook Contacts folder added by the Social Connector. It appears in the Contacts section at the left side of the Outlook interface. Within the All Contact Items list, you'll see "Contacts" and "LinkedIn" within the My Contacts area. When you click on the LinkedIn item, the LinkedIn folder shows all your connections, complete with their email addresses, regardless of whether you've added them to your Outlook contacts. It also displays the photos from their LinkedIn pages.

  • Manage your LinkedIn connections from the Outlook Contacts folder added by the Social Connector. The folder appears in the Contacts section at the left side of the Outlook interface. Within the All Contact Items list, you'll see "Contacts" and "LinkedIn" within the My Contacts area. When you click on the LinkedIn item, the LinkedIn folder shows all your connections, complete with their email addresses, regardless of whether you've added them to your Outlook contacts. It also displays the photos from their LinkedIn pages.

  • Click on the "Add" button at the bottom of an email message to send an invitation to connect. This button appears as a green plus sign below the icon that represents any person who's not among your LinkedIn connections. Choose "On LinkedIn" from the choices that appear and click on the "Continue" button to complete the process.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you leave Outlook running while you install the LinkedIn provider file, you'll have to shut it down and restart it after the provider-file installation finishes so Outlook will see that you've added the LinkedIn software.
  • In Outlook 2003 or 2007, the Outlook Social Connector required a separate download from Microsoft before you could use site-specific provider files.
  • In January 2012, Microsoft released an update that enhanced your security in the Social Connector by supporting its use over a secure network connection.
  • You can't install Outlook Social Connector provider files unless you install the Social Connector add-in, either when you install Outlook or before you use the Connector. Use the Windows Control Panel to access Programs and Features so you can add the Connector, then restart Outlook.
  • When you use the Outlook Social Connector to send a LinkedIn invitation, Outlook sends the email address of the person you invite without hashing it first. This means the address isn't encrypted when it's transmitted. If you're concerned about the privacy implications of this issue, don't send invitations through the Outlook Social Connector. Log on to your LinkedIn account through a Web browser and send the invitation from there instead.

References

  • Photo Credit Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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