Before the meteoric rise of social networking, it was a lot harder to keep in touch with your network – you were basically limited to face to face meetings, phone calls and e-mails.

Now, we are blessed with a myriad of tools to help us maintain a level of contact with the people important to us. Here are some ideas of tools which you can use to keep in touch and regularly communicating with the people in your network who are important to you:

1. Connect with them on LinkedIn

Most professionals are on LinkedIn – and most people if they have met you, either online or in person are happy to connect with you on LinkedIn. Turn on the LinkedIn update feature and use this to prompt you to make contact with your network. For example, a new profile photo, a promotion or a new job.

2. Connect with them on twitter

Twitter is a very easy medium to connect with someone – just follow them – you don’t normally need to ask permission to follow them. Do make sure you add them to a list which you check daily for tweets from them. A tool such as tweetspinner (affiliate link) to help you tweet even when you are snowed under with work.

3. Google feedburner

This is a tool which many people do not use to its fullest extent. (Myself included) Sign up to this tool and use it to allow people to subscribe to your RSS feed or receive e-mail updates of new blog posts. Feedburner also generates java script for you to place into your website or blog to automatically display your latest blog feeds.

4. CRM system

When people talk about CRM systems, most people think about big company databases and joined up enterprise software. There are many great CRM systems out there, for every company’s size, shape and budget. We personally like capsule CRM – particularly because it is fully integrated with social media and mailchimp. Use your CRM system, or even a simple spreadsheet, to prompt you to make contact with the most important people in your network.

5. Microsoft Outlook

We often forget that some of the tools we need to maintain contact are right under our noses. Use the recurring task feature to set up reminders to contact the people who are important to you.

6. RSS reader

Use a RSS reader, such as Google Reader to inform you of updates or changes to someone’s website or blog. This way you will always be ready to make an insightful comment, or contact them with a message relating to their changed website.

7. Google Alert

Set up google alerts of the names of people who are important to you. This way you will get to see whenever they have been quoted or written about – you can then use this as an excuse to get in touch.

What tools do you use to stay in touch with your network?

Photo reproduced under the creative commons licence by by ali edwards