Category Archives: productivity

“With Our Powers Combined:Xobni and LinkedIn Join Forces”

A couple months ago, we reviewed Xobni’s Outlook tool, and it has proved an invaluable tool for day-to-day work. Since its already a killer app for us marketing and PR folk who make a living by the volume and management of our contacts, it’s no surprise that Xobni has become even more useful with a LinkedIn integration.

A simple, yet significant, improvement

We also put LinkedIn’s Outlook toolbar to the test. While we still think LinkedIn’s Outlook app is worth it for the grab function alone (makes creating new vCards a breeze), Xobni has engineered a seamless integration that enhances usefulness with the addition of pictures, current job information, and other pertinent tidbits that help make the most of your network.

As a PR pro, I already trust LinkedIn as one way to make sure I have all the right info on my contact, including their geographic location, job title, and place of employment. The volatile nature of the media industry requires that you do your homework before you hit send, and Xobni makes it all the more simple with the addition of LinkedIn’s data.

One thing Chris and I noticed when looking at the toolbar is that sometimes the contact information pulled directly from e-mail conversations isn’t 100% accurate. These inaccuracies have been consistent with Xobni since day one, which is why I tend to ignore the contact field, saving the nuts and bolts contact info for my vCards in Outlook. That said, it would be nice to have a greater level of trust for the information automatically generated by the program.

Another problem is that many people don’t have a LinkedIn profile yet (I know, collective gasp!) and even if they do, they probably don’t take advantage of features such as picture additions. While the integration is clearly useful, it’s not evident on a large scale yet. As LinkedIn and Xobni grow in popularity and scope, these kinds of issues should improve, making an already useful service completely indispensable.

If Xobni, for one reason or another, doesn’t boot up with my Outlook, it’s a crisis. It’s just so easy to find what I need quickly and easily. I really don’t think I could live without it after experiencing its utility.

So GO, download it now if you haven’t already, and join the other savvy marketers and PR pros who are using it to streamline their communications. You won’t regret it

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Contributing writer Marie Williams also blogs at www.flackette.com about PR and agency life. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

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Filed under Beta breakers, Marketing, Product Review, productivity, Public Relations 2.0

“LinkedIn’s Outlook Toolbar Grabs You By the vCard”

Today’s post was written by contributing writer, Marie Williams.

LinkedIn Logo

Whether Journalist or Public Relations professional, your contacts are your currency. Last month, socialTNT gave TechCrunch40 darling, Xobni, a test spin. This month, the socialTNT BetaBreakers team put popular professional social network LinkedIn‘s Outlook Toolbar through our rigorous testing process.

All You Ever Need to Know: The “Grabbing” Function is Magic

  • By far, the best thing about the toolbar is the “grab” function. It makes it devastatingly simple to transfer contact information seamlessly into your Outlook contact list.
  • How it Works: When you have an e-mail open from the person you want to add, highlight their signature block, click on the little grab button on the top right-hand corner of your menu, and voila! All the contact information is entered in the appropriate boxes. Sometimes fields get switch, such as “company” and “title,” but it’s a small inconvenience that doesn’t detract from the feature’s utility. Check out the screenshots below for a visual:

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  • Just do it: If your contact list is key to your business success, you cannot be without this amazing resource. Go download it. NOW. 🙂

There’s No Place Like LinkedIn Home to Manage Your Networking Savvy

  • Your LinkedIn home page can be easily accessed through your Outlook, and the interface is clean and aesthetically pleasing. It’s easy to track your inbound messages, friend updates, profile views, and all the other features that LinkedIn provides.
  • Bottom Line: If you live and die by your LinkedIn network, you will love how simple it is to manage your connections without ever leaving your inbox.

Don’t Press That Button! The Danger of the Dashboard…

  • The toolbar’s “Dashboard” feature lets you see contacts to invite to LinkedIn, contact information updates for your LinkedIn friends, and keep-in-touch reminders. It’s a hybrid of your e-mail and your LinkedIn account homepage.
  • If you press the button, it takes anywhere from 2-5 minutes to load, which is a long time for us ADD techies accustomed to split second satisfaction.
  • Why you should pass: Xobni’s search function is way more intuitive and lightning fast. The utility of the information on the dashboard is negligible and more easily found via Xobni.

Hello Promo!

Beyond the uber useful grab tool, 85% of the LinkedIn Outlook toolbar is clearly a promotion of LinkedIn’s contact management services and will only work for you if you’re a) already an avid user of the network or b) think you want to start becoming more involved in that community.

That’s a Wrap

Our overall impression is that while Xobni reigns supreme when it comes to inbox add-ons, LinkedIn’s grabbing feature makes it more than worth the download. Think of Xobni as your full-service inbox search solution, while the LinkedIn toolbar provides some “Ah ha!” features you’ll come to rely on. If your a LinkedIn Junkie, download it NOW!

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Filed under Beta breakers, How To, Product Review, productivity, Social Media