Small Business Development: Outlook Is for More Than Just E-mail

June 19th, 2012 By Super Admin | comment

If you are like many small business owners, you look forward to customizing software as much as you do getting a dental cleaning. But, like the cleaning, setting up and learning to use your software is really not that bad – the results are worth the initial inconvenience and can help with your small business development.

Take Microsoft Outlook, for example. Most business folks probably use it only for small business E-mail, but this is just one of its many cool features. (Please note that the functions discussed here will be for PCs and won’t necessarily work with a Mac.)

Social Media

You probably use some sort of social media, right? Well, Outlook has a feature called the Outlook Social Connector, which connects your Outlook contacts with your social media friends and connections you have through LinkedIn, Facebook, Windows Live Messenger, viadeo and XING.

This Outlook feature is a good tool for small businesses because it saves you time. If you add it to your Outlook, you no longer need to visit one or many different websites to get the info you need on a client or colleague; it is all right there for you in Outlook. Here’s how to get it:

  • If you have Outlook 2010 you have a “People Pane” that connects you to the Outlook Social Connector. The People Pane, which is minimized by default, appears at the bottom of the Reading Pane.
    People Pane in Microsoft Outlook 2010
  • Click the expand arrow, or drag up to expand. The People Pane should now be open.
  • Download and install an Outlook Social Connector add-in for each social media network you want, such as LinkedIn or Facebook. Do this by clicking Account Settings and then Social Network Accounts.
    Installing Microsoft Outlook Social Connector
  • If you are successful, when you click on an Outlook item, you will see, through the People Pane, all the info about your contact, such as status updates, profile picture, messages or more.
  • You can access all sorts of information about your connection by clicking on various tabs.

Note: If you have Outlook 2003 or 2007, you need to download the Outlook Social Connector first.


You know what can be fun and bring a higher level of engagement for co-workers and clients? Polling them. You get to find out some valuable information, and the people you poll can simply check a box and have their opinion heard. It’s sort of like those elementary school notes that got passed around: “Do you like me? Check “yes” or “no.”

Use this feature for small business development by creating a simple yes/no poll (you can add a “maybe” option if you want) or you can ask the gang where they want the lunch meeting held, and then provide a few options for them to check.

  • Simply compose your E-mail, and head to the Options tab.
  • Click Use Voting Buttons. This takes you to the Properties dialog box where you can choose the standard answers or customize responses.
    Voting with Microsoft Outlook 2010
  • Track the responses by opening the message you sent in the Sent Items folder.
  • Click Tracking, which starts keeping track after the first person responds.

Be sure to check out our next blog post to learn about other useful features in Outolook such as jump lists, distribution lists, rules and delayed E-mail features.

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