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Make good use of your LinkedIn network

Another superb networking meeting with the RSBN group at Barnsdale Lodge. A different format to the usual 40 seconds introduction and 1 to 1 meetings. Along with a very interesting talk by Charron Pugsley-Hill we changed the format to an open discussion which involved personal accounts from life, the passing of referrals and business tips.


I mentioned an idea of how you can better use all of those connections that you have on LinkedIn. Like a lot of people you accept new connections but never really use them. One way to capitalise on these contacts is to use LinkedIn as a blogging platform in the ‘Share Update’ section. But you can also follow these steps to add those connections to your marketing contact efforts.

Exports contacts from LinkedIn

Here are the 6 simple steps to get all of those contacts from LinkedIn into a Excel file. From there I will show you how you can better use them in your email clients, for email marketing and to boost your Twitter influence.

You can export a CSV file of your connections from the Contact Settings page. Note: Only the full name, email address, current employer, and position are exported.

To export your connections list:

  1. Move your cursor over Connections at the top of your homepage and select Keep in Touch.
  2. Click the Settings icon near the top right to reach the Contact Settings page.
  3. Under Advanced Settings on the right, click Export LinkedIn Connections.
  4. Select the file type and click Export.
  5. Save the file somewhere you can find it, like your computer’s desktop.
  6. Open the file and print (optional).

If you’re using Internet Explorer and you see a yellow pop-up blocker across the top or bottom of the page, click the yellow bar, select Save As, and then save the file somewhere you can easily find it.

Importing these contacts into your email client eg. Gmail, Yahoo

For this example I will give details for importing csv (Excel) files into Gmail. Other email clients may vary slightly but the principle will be the same.

To import contacts to Gmail:

    1. Create a custom CSV file, or export the address book from your other webmail provider or email client as a CSV file.
    2. Sign in to Gmail.
    3. At the top-left corner, click Gmail > Contacts.

Gmail drop-down

  1. Above the contacts list, click More > Import….
  2. Click Choose File.
  3. Select the file you’d like to upload.
  4. Click Import.

When it’s done, Gmail will display the number of contacts imported.

If you receive any error messages during the import, you might need to edit your CSV file.

Using your LinkedIn connections with MailChimp

Mailchimp is a very powerful free email marketing tool. You can easily set up marketing campaigns (known to some as eshots) using there drag and drop tool…. all very good… but another great reason to use Mailchimp is that you can organise, sort and condense your contact lists.

You have the option to add your file that you downloaded from LinkedIn to your current MailChimp contacts or have them in a separate list. By sending a bulk email to all of these contacts you may attract more business but you can also see who is really interested or uninterested in what you do.

Each time you send a bulk email out to a list MailChimp will tell you who opened, ignored, unsubscribed or even which emails bounced (meaning the email address is not valid). Give it a go! If you need help, let me know.

Connecting your LinkedIn contacts with Twitter.

Once you have all of your LinkedIn connections imported into your email client, you can then use those contacts to make new friends in Twitter. Here’s how.

  1. Open twitter and login as usual.
  2. on your home screen, click on your profile icon at the top right to get the options list and select ‘Settings’.
  3. Once in the settings screen, on the left hand side select ‘Find Friends’.
  4. Make sure you are logged in to your Gmail / Yahoo / Hotmail ect account.
  5. Then select that service from the list of email clients by clicking ‘Search Contacts’
  6. You will then see a new window asking you to ‘accept’ actions from Twitter. (click ‘Accept’)
  7. In a few moments all of those contacts will be added to your list of people you follow.

You will now be able to start to see your LinkedIn connections Tweets and usually some will start to follow you back.


There are lots of great ways to make the most of your social media but the main thing to do is (as Nike say) ‘Just do it’ and be yourself.

If you would like some tips or advice, let me know.

Thanks for reading.


Alistair Bell

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