Elevate your networking game with MYLinks—seamless organization, personalised prioritization, and instant access to your contacts to maximize the value of your network.
How might we provide a seamless and organized way for people to organize their LinkedIn connections?
The quote, "Your network is your net worth," motivates professionals to attend networking events, with LinkedIn emerging as the go-to platform for instant connections. Our own user research validates LinkedIn's dominance as the preferred method of adding new contacts . Furthermore, as professionals not only connect in person but also virtually with those discovering their profiles, this network continues to grow. With 27% of users boasting 500-999 connections , the platform serves as a pivotal networking tool throughout careers.
However, this networking abundance poses a challenge – the difficulty of accessing and recalling connections when not consistently visible on the LinkedIn feed. Participants in our research expressed the cumbersome process of having to recall contacts by scrolling through connections based on vague date ranges, highlighting a significant issue: the diminished value of a network if accessibility falters. This growing problem necessitates a solution, and MYLinks aims to address this. How truly valuable is your network, if you can’t access them?
Seventeen (17) participants participated in an online survey, with nine (9) providing additional feedback through one-on-one virtual interviews. The chosen participants were individuals who had attended a networking event in the past month and made in-person connections.
User Pain Points
Some of the user pain points we discovered were:
- LinkedIn is the preferred platform for adding new contacts post-networking events for the majority of participants.
- Most participants do not use formal organization methods and solely rely on LinkedIn to manage their networking connections.
- Participants express dissatisfaction with their current contact organization on LinkedIn but do not prioritize addressing this issue.
- There is a general need for more organization within LinkedIn contact lists, without a desire to use additional applications or platforms.
Limited Access to Past Connections:
- Participants find it challenging to easily access individuals they have met at past networking events, indicating a lack of an efficient system for managing historical contacts.
Some notable quotes from our interviews are below:
- When asked about accessing past connections, participant #14 responded “The closest thing is chronologically looking at my LinkedIn connections, because if I'm trying to recall someone, I'll kind of remember what time I met them. Was it like a year ago? Was it three years ago? And then I'll generally remember what company they worked at, so I'll just do a search for them. I'll know if they worked at [redacted]. I'll just look up all my connections that work at [redacted], and then if one of them looks like that, like, that's probably how I would find that.”
Landing on the Solution
Our research revealed users' reluctance to embrace additional networking apps while clearly expressing a desire for enhanced organization. Acknowledging LinkedIn as the platform of choice, we aimed to cater to a wider user base by integrating our solution with it. To meet this need, we propose a LinkedIn extension feature designed to seamlessly augment users' current contact-adding methods, providing a more efficient approach to address their organization pain points.
Explanation of Solution
MYLinks is a LinkedIn extension feature that allows users to document critical information about how they met the new connection. These include:
- Tagging the event that they met the person at.
- Tag keywords of discussion points with the new connection and
- Set a ranking/prioritization of connections for follow up actions.
Post Event, the tool will allow you to
- Export contacts based on these categories for networking tracking, and
- Provide AI generated prompts to guide follow-up discussions.
Recognizing that while LinkedIn is the preferred platform, it's not the sole method for organizing new connections, our next steps involve exploring the expansion of our tool to encompass various contact forms. Additionally, we aim to optimize the tool for individuals requiring a more dynamic tracking system, such as those in sales, business development, on a job search, or looking for funding. This broader approach will ensure our tool caters to a diverse range of users with distinct tracking needs beyond traditional networking scenarios.
Image 1: LinkedIn Screen with MYLinks (ML+) extension feature on connect button.
Image 2: Once the ML+ extension feature is clicked, the user is prompted to enter where they met the person, keywords surrounding the initial conversation and a rating of 3 stars that determines if this is someone they want to follow up with.
Image 3: All contacts connected through MYLinks can be filtered by event, or other criteria, so you can easily find your contacts based on where you met them. There is a link to export the contact list to excel, and for high priority (3 stars) there is an auto generated prompt that can be used to message the contact.
Product Manager Learnings:
My biggest lesson came very early on in the product development journey: spending quality time exploring the problem space during the brainstorming phase will be a game-changer to the end product. After doing the user research, and realising that the proposed solution may be more of a “vitamin” then a “painkiller”, it was really important for me to pivot and focus on the needs of the user, otherwise I would end up building a product that the customer wouldn’t use.