500+: The Most Thoughtful App in Business?

FireShot-Screen-Capture-156-Five-Hundred-Plus-www_fivehundredplus_com_connectionsRecently, I decided to take a look at my entire list of LinkedIn connections. I found a lot of people who represent powerful contacts for me but I couldn’t recall how we originally connected. Without a reminder of why I wanted to link up with those people in the first place, I feel that the potential value that could have resulted from that initial exchange is lost. Does this happen to you?

Luckily, there’s an app aimed at changing that. Five Hundred Plus is a personal CRM system meant to eliminate the connect-and-forget mentality plaguing so many LinkedIn users. Its name comes from the ‘500+’ you see on the profiles of LinkedIn’s super-connectors (as in more than 500 connections) and it’s a super simple fix to managing all those would-be relationships on LinkedIn that never came to fruition.

The offer is simple: never lose touch with your contacts again.  Social Solutions Collective recently laid out a great overview on the tool with lots of concrete tips on how to use it. Here’s the gist:

  • You log-in to the service (free at this point) with your LinkedIn username and password
  • Five Hundred Plus splits your screen into a bunch of columns: weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly. The far left column is a searchable list of all your contacts (listed with name, title and thumbnail of their profile pic)
  • Now, it’s up to you. Simply drag and drop contacts into the column that signifies how often you feel you’d like to be in touch. Old boss? Maybe once or twice a year. Your last mentor? Maybe once a month.

That’s it! A handy Monday morning email seals the deal. You’ll get a reminder that it’s time to connect and, as Artic Startup writer, Greg Anderson, says “it makes LinkedIn actually useful” and not just “a big list of people I handed my business card to once.”

The app offers a useful range of actions in terms of how to “reconnect”: send a private DM message, comment on their latest status update, endorse them for a skill or – LinkedIn gold – leave them a personal recommendation.

And, it’s free – at least for the first 25 contacts you put under relationship management. After that, it’s $14.99/month (but the personal user would probably never need to pay).

To me this seems like the start of some great virtual friendships. I never regret sending a quick note of congrats around an old contacts’ new job or recent success. Five Hundred Plus seems like a great way to make that happen – on a more predictable and purposeful level than I am capable of on my own.

What do you think? Is Five Hundred Plus networking strategy-overkill or a useful system for being more thoughtful and in-touch?