How many times do you make a professional connection on LinkedIn or Facebook, only to forget about following up or staying in touch? Granted, if we are making quality connections, this should not be the case, but we do not live in a utopian world and things frequently slip our minds. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a collective way for our social network to remind us to follow up without having to revisit each site one at a time?
FellowUp will help to solve this problem.
FellowUp “is an automated, personalized ‘Executive Assistant’ powered by an insight engine for managing interactions.” Adding someone as a friend or as a professional contact on Facebook or LinkedIn is only the first step of a much larger process. Making the connection and never interacting with the person is fruitless. We all know that, yet we often find it tricky to approach people we really know nothing about in real life for fear of coming across as awkward. FellowUp not only takes advantage of the full potential of one’s business and social network, but also reduces cognitive load. And who doesn’t need a cognitive load reduction these days?
FellowUp launched in private beta in January 2011. The company was founded in 2010 by Tomer Cohen, an engineer and MBA who has work experience in the telecommunications industry, and who most recently worked for Beijing-based Oak Pacific Interactive, a company that has built an array of leading online platforms including renren.com, the biggest Chinese social networking site, which boasts over 31 million active monthly users. So Cohen knows a thing or two about communication…
What you can do with FellowUp
What FellowUp has done is made it easier to get all of your social network updates together in one location. Check out this video for a quick look at some of the things you can do with FellowUp:
Once you sign up for an account, you can then connect your third-party accounts and FellowUp will pull in contacts and calendar items. Data is available three tabs: my day, contacts and notes.
In the “my day” tab, you can see items happening in your network, like birthdays, a job change (based on updated job information on LinkedIn), calendar events, and tasks that you manually attach to a contact.
In the “contacts” tab, you can browse through all of your social network connections. You’ll be able to see when a contact is a connection on more than one network as well, and as not everyone uses the same information with which to register on multiple accounts you can easily merge duplicate contacts. In individual contact records, you can see a complete profile built from your contact’s social networks.
Check out my coworker Lance Haun’s profile in my FellowUp network. You can see we are connected on both LinkedIn and Facebook, and you can see his birthday as well as his career and educational information. His birthday will automatically show up on my “my day” tab on that day, and I can add any other reminder to contact him that I wish. I can also add contact notes to his profile for conversations we have had — basically, FellowUp becomes a very simple CRM tool for your social networks.
FellowUp currently supports Facebook, LinkedIn, Google (including your Google Calendar), and Outlook integration and is working on iCal, Yahoo, Twitter, Hotmail/Live, Salesforce, and MySpace integrations. The benefit here is that you’ll be able to automatically add items to the calendar of your choice instead of having to switch back and forth between services. Anyone with a busy schedule can appreciate the time-saving benefit of this.
Finally, FellowUp has an iPhone app that will allow for quick browsing of your social network connections. There’s nothing particularly unique about the app that isn’t available on the website, but it’s a handy on-the-go tool for taking notes on contacts and syncing with your calendar.
According to a Mashable article on FellowUp, the biggest positive about this new service is its capacity to learn what events are most important to individual users. “The startup is best experienced as a systematic, daily approach to personal relationship management, which means some of the appeal can only be seen through repeated usage.” Adam Dachis wrote an article for Lifehacker that also says, “As you do more with FellowUp, it’ll learn what’s important to you and start notifying you of relevant updates in your network.” So, the more you put in, the more relevant the information you will get back from this service.
For anyone who struggles with maintaining large social networks, I recommend giving this a shot. If nothing else, it’ll bring all your contacts together under one website and give you an easy way to sync communication reminders and notes with your calendar. Check it out and share your experiences in the comments below.