Earlier this week Financial News wrote an article on financial institutions being “spooked” by social media. While financial firms are slow to leverage social media, more and more are exploring what benefits these evolving communications vehicles can bring to an organization. The first place to start is implementing a social media policy; from there you should look at the various tools available to monitor activities and participate.
One social media tool that just about every professional has is Microsoft Outlook – yes, that email application that most people view as “strictly business” has some nice features that enhance the utility of social media. I started using the Microsoft Outlook Social Connector when I upgraded to Outlook 2010 (plug-ins for Outlook 2007 and 2003 are available) and find it’s a great tool for gaining a consolidated view of the various ways I've interacted with a contact. I’ve connected my LinkedIn account, but you can also connect to Facebook, Sharepoint and Windows Live.
Here is a snapshot of how your interaction with a contact is consolidated in Microsoft Office via the Social Connector:
According to Microsoft, the Outlook Social Connector provides:
- A People Pane with the name, picture, and title for your colleagues whenever reading a message from them
- One-click Access to the most recent messages and attachments from a contact
- Activities Snapshot of your contacts
- Consolidated Contact Directory by adding the business cards of your LinkedIn contacts into your contacts directory
You can download the Microsoft Social Connector here, but before getting started, check out Microsoft’s nifty video on how to install the Social Connector.
One last item to note about the Outlook Social Connector is that the privacy settings you have set in LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media sites are recognized by Microsoft Outlook and the basis for what information is shown. Read more about Outlook Social Connector and privacy here.
Image & Video Credits: Microsoft