When was the last time you back up your LinkedIn data and connections?
LinkedIn, and other social media platforms are great, until they are broken. One way to break your online profile is to make a mistake and have the account suspended. We have no control over the platforms we use and don’t ‘own’ our list on most platforms, in the sense that is is stuck in the platform.
If you rely on a 3rd party network such as LinkedIn as your only data base, online dossier and content source, there is a huge risk. LinkedIn isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but you have no control over the platform and features. As a safeguard, it is good practice to make a copy of your profile content, and your connections, just in case, and have strategies to drive connections to other places, one being your database.
Building Your Database
There are two types of database.
The first is your marketing database which each person needs to opt into, in order to be then sent marketing content generally as part of a mass mailout. Generally an opt-in process involves exchanging value, such as a free ebook, checklist, or online course for contact info.
The second involves building your database of contacts via a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool such as Nimble, Insightly, Zoho, Sales Force or Infusionsoft. These tools allow for individual relationship management. I have tried many tools, but my tool of choice is Nimble as it offer so much more than contact management and works everywhere that I work. Nimble was created by an early influencer in the CRM space, Jon Ferrara, who created contact management software Goldmine in the 80’s.
LinkedIn is a great place to hang out, and is becoming cooler every week. In fact according to LinkedIn, “social actions on the feed (likes, shares, comments, etc.) have grown by +60% year-over-year”, so this year engagement is at it’s highest. While it is THE place for professionals to hang out online, it is still important to create strategies to take your connections offline or onto your list. And it is important to back up your lists. If we rely on LinkedIn to manage our contacts, we are limiting the way we communicate and risk losing access. So how do we protect ourselves?
Download Your Data
Unlike other social media platforms, LinkedIn allows you to download your data. So be sure to do this on a regular basis.
On desktop LinkedIn go to your Settings& Privacy;
- Move your cursor over your profile photo at the top right of your homepage and select Settings & Privacy.
- On the Account tab scroll down to Download Your Data
- Select The Works or Pick and Choose, then select the option you wish to download.
- Click Request Archive
Some info is available within 10 minutes, other info is delivered in 24 hours.
Download Your Connections
Connections data is available almost instantly. Select Pick and Choose, then tick the Connections box and request the archive.
Enter your password to confirm the request.
What is in the Data Archive?
Here is a list of the information available in data archives, from LinkedIn:
|INFO||WHAT IS IT?||HOW SOON IS IT AVAILABLE?|
|Account status (history)||Date and time your LinkedIn account was created, closed, or reopened.||24 hours|
|Ads you’ve clicked||List of the ads you’ve clicked on.||24 hours|
|Ad targeting criteria||Information used to figure out what ads to show you.||24 hours|
|Causes you care about||A list of causes you’ve included on your profile.||10 minutes|
|Certifications||A list of certifications that you’ve included on your profile.||10 minutes|
|Comments||Comments that you’ve made, (excluding Groups). It includes the date, the post URL, your comment, content type (e.g. article, share, new position).||24 hours|
|Connections (1st degree)||Connections you have on LinkedIn.||10 minutes|
|Contacts||Contacts you’ve imported on LinkedIn.||10 minutes|
|Courses||Courses you’ve taken and listed on your profile.||10 minutes|
|Email addresses||A history of email addresses currently or previously associated with your account, when it was added (by you or a member importing contacts) and confirmed by you.||24 hours|
|Education||Schools plus any details included like the dates you attended, degrees you earned, and activities you participated in.||10 minutes|
|Endorsements||A list of skills, who and when you were endorsed you, the skill they endorsed you for, and the date of the endorsement.||10 minutes|
|Group comments||Your comments posted in Groups, including the URL and title of the discussion, and the name of the group.||24 hours|
|Group likes||Contains all texts “Liked” in your Group posts.||24 hours|
|Group posts||Group post content including the post titles, time posted, group name, content and a link to the discussion.||24 hours|
|Honors||Honors listed plus any details included like the description, date and who gave it to you..||10 minutes|
|Inbox communication||All the messages in your Messages, Sent, and Archive folders. The file includes the date of the messages, the messages themselves, the subject lines, and whether a message was incoming or outgoing.||10 minutes|
|Interests||Interests you’ve listed on your profile.||10 minutes|
|Invitations||Invitations sent and received by you.||24 hours|
|Languages||Languages listed and the level of proficiency.||10 minutes|
|Likes||Contains the updates you “Liked” except in Groups. It includes the date you “Liked” the update, the type and title of the post, and the content of the post, if available. It also includes the URL of the post, if available.||24 hours|
|Login attempts||Shows all the stored account logins for your account. It includes the user agent provided by the application at the time, the IP address of the computer, date, time, and type of login.||24 hours|
|Mobile apps||Mobile device LinkedIn applications that are registered with your account. It also shows the date(s) they were registered.||24 hours|
|Name information||The current name on your account and any previous name changes.||24 hours|
|Organizations||Organizations you’ve listed on your LinkedIn profile. It includes details you’ve provided like the name and a description of the organization, along with your position and how long you were affiliated with it.||10 minutes|
|Notes and Tags||Notes allow you to store information and action items for lead and account pages. Tags streamline your workflow by organizing your leads and accounts.||10 minutes|
|Patents||Information about any patents listed with details such as issue date, filing number, etc.||10 minutes|
|Phone numbers||Phone numbers associated with your LinkedIn account.||10 minutes|
|Photos||Photos shared.||24 hours|
|Positions||All the job roles listed including the name of the company, title, description, locations, and dates.||10 minutes|
|Profile information||The basic biographical information including your first and last name and account creation date.||10 minutes|
|Projects||Projects listed including the title and length of the project along with a description and any web address provided.||10 minutes|
|Publications||A list of any publications listed.||10 minutes|
|Recommendations (received)||All the recommendations you’ve received, including the name of the person who recommended you, the date of the recommendation, and whether you’re displaying it on your profile.||10 minutes|
|Recommendations (given)||All recommendations you’ve given, including the name of the person you recommended and the date you wrote the recommendation.||10 minutes|
|Registration||The date you registered on LinkedIn, the IP address you registered from, and the member who invited you, if there was one. It also shows your current subscription type.||24 hours|
|Search history||A list of your recent searches on LinkedIn.||24 hours|
|Security challenges||Contains a list of all the challenge events for your account. It includes the date of the challenge, the IP address the login attempt was made from, the assumed country, and the type of challenge.||24 hours|
|Shares||Everything you’ve shared or re-shared, plus posts on the homepage, company pages, and university pages. It includes the date, title, description, whether it was public or private (i.e. visibility), and a link to any images included or URL. Videos can be accessed via a link within the videos.csv file in the archive.||24 hours|
|Skills||A list of all the skills you’ve added to your profile.||10 minutes|
To request information not listed above, complete LinkedIn’s Data Consent form for review.
Back Up Your Profile
In addition to the data download, which includes your profile info, you can do a good old copy and paste by copying your LinkedIn profile and pasting into a Word or Pages document. (It is good practice in work offline anyway). You can also download as a PDF;
How Will You Use The Connection Data?
Now you have a back up of all your connections and their basic info. Use the data wisely. We discussed the two type of databases that can be used to capture contact info. One has primary purpose of marketing, the other has a primary purpose of relationship management. Consider these questions;
- Do you have permission to add them to your marketing list?
- Could you add them to Eventbrite and invite them to your next event?
- Can you subscribe them to your monthly newsletter?
The answer is generally no. Being connected on LinkedIn isn’t permission to receive all communication from you.
Think about the law, the guidelines and how you would feel if your data was abused. Also consider the risk of large fines for doing the wrong thing. Big brands and individuals have been fined for breaching the Spam Act. Then think about how you can build better relationships. A tool such as Nimble is a great way to do it on an individual level. See my interview with Nimble CEO Jon Ferrera to understand how.
Download your data today, then add the activity to your recurring task lists to protect your data on a regular basis to protect the hard work that has gone into building your profile, building a network and building your personal and professional brand.