5 Nov 2012
By Mark Evans
If your business is all about people — and whose isn’t? — Rapportive could offer you a lot of benefits.
This free plug-in hooks into your Gmail account (so it’s not that helpful if you’re not running your email using Gmail) and turns your contacts list into a wealth of information via a sidebar .
When you make contact with someone from your list, the app kicks in to list everything about that person’s social media persona. So you get images, recent Facebook posts, LinkedIn statuses and whatever else they’re doing out there.
Such information can offer you basic insights such as whether or not your contact is experience a power outage, is away on holiday, just landed a new deal or is hiring.
Where that contact fits into your business will determine just how valuable this information is. Perhaps you don’t care if a colleague’s mother is having a birthday. But you might care a client is hiring a new secretary (that’s why your phone message keep getting lost) and you certainly care if you find out your supplier is dealing with a crisis at the plant.
The add-on also lets you communicate with contacts via those social networks — allowing you to send personal messages, comment on status updates and the like. This means you can show support for a partner’s social media campaign or get involved in a Twitter conversation you might have otherwise missed.
The tool also lets you record notes about your contacts.
The app has done well — the company reports it looks up more than 20 million social profiles a month. In fact, the concept is such a hit that LinkedIn purchased Rapportive last February.
It’s a lot of new information about your contacts that could overwhelm at first. But if your company requires you to keep tabs on certain people, it’s probably a worthwhile tool. And since it’s free, why not?