LinkedIn is a great tool for salespeople and business people of all sorts. However, as the internet grows up, we have taken for granted the free resources and tools. Increasingly websites and services are seeking to suck us in and lock us in, and LinkedIn may be no different.
Google and other responsible internet companies adhere to a policy that is called “feature zero,” which means in short that any data you accumulate in the program you can take with you at some point. In short, you can export out all of your contacts and data. Google continues to offer this service, as does LinkedIn. Facebook recently (May 1) stopped users from being able to export their data directly from the program, requiring those who are determined to go through several detailed technical steps, out of the reach of most users (I cover this in my webinar series in part 2). I warned users on Facebook, and I was able to merge over 3,000 contacts into another program and export them all. Facebook continues to let you merge your contacts into its service on your phone, you just cannot merge out the Facebook only contacts.
LinkedIn recently made the process of exporting much more difficult, perhaps in preparation of closing its door to exports. Used to be there was a simple page, click, and the data was exported. Now it is hard to find, and once you order the download it comes later via email, to me in about 24 hours. Detailed instructions are here. I am urging all my clients with any LinkedIn contacts to export them immediately and import the data into your contact management system.