LinkedIn should NOT be used as your connections or contact database

February 18, 2016
Nigel Cliffe
, , ,
linkedin coaching and development

As one builds a valuable network of global connections on LinkedIn it might be thought that this remains the place to keep them. This could prove very frustrating, here is why:

The valuable data that you build, believing it to be your own, is simply not. It is that of LinkedIn. It is behind the wall of LinkedIn’s ownership.

Did you know that presently you have access to that data?

A few months back LinkedIn took away the ability to download your contacts, but following a couple of weeks of pressure by the user community, the ‘feature’ was brought back. For the time being…

For those that use the LinkedIn platform regularly you will know just how often they change the functionality, sometimes for the better, but quite often for worse.

What brought my attention to feel the need to write this article was the fact that LinkedIn have just announced they are going to take away the ‘Saved Contacts’ feature. Many users probably thought that saving and tagging their connections and contact on LinkedIn was a useful thing. Imagine that you had begun to treat LinkedIn as your mini-crm? At the time of writing I have the ability to filter my contacts by:

  • All Contacts
  • Connections only
  • Company
  • Tag (your own ‘architecture’/’vocabulary’)
  • Location
  • Source
  • Saved
  • Hidden

So, if this feature is taken away..
…all the work I have gone to the trouble of creating goes with it…

Let me give you some examples.
I might have grouped my connections into customers or prospects, friends or colleagues. I might have them categorised by location. I might have noted where I connected with them. In short:
I might have begun to use LinkedIn as my ‘pseudo-CRM’.
Imagine now that this valuable categorisation is taken away? What am I left with?

So here is the answer.
Download your connections – now – before it is too late. Make a diary note to do this monthly so you are never too far behind the curve with adding your connections to your database.

In case you haven’t done this before, here’s how:
Click on the Connections tab from your home page


This page will appear


Click on the cog


On the right hand side of your page you will see this


Click on Export LinkedIn Connections


…and your connections will be downloaded in seconds to your desktop.

Put these connections into your CRM, be that a simple spread sheet or something more sophisticated. There are many solutions out there that we have worked with. There you can categorise your connections in any way you want.

Do it now, before even this valuable feature is taken away.