By Annakate Tefft Ross

In Part II of our productivity series (check out Part I on Three Online Tools To Be More Productive at Work), we dive into digital tools to help you get to know people in your network better. Whether you’re conducting media relations, looking for new business or just networking in general, these tools will save you time.

#1 Talkwalker Alerts

First up is Talkwalker Alerts. If you’ve been using Google Alerts to track Web mentions for companies, names or topics important to you, you’ve probably noticed in recent months that they’re not working very well. While Google hasn’t issued an official notice that alerts are going the way of Google Reader, it’s pretty obvious something is up. Talkwalker Alerts is a great alternative. This free tool works just like Google Alerts in that it emails you alerts on the topics you select as often as you want – as they happen, daily or weekly. Setting one up is as easy as filling out the form below. 

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#2 Newsle

Newsle bills itself as “News about your people.” The service will email you when folks you’re connected with on Facebook and LinkedIn are named or quoted in blog posts or news stories. The service also allows you to search for people you’re about to meet. It’s free, and it takes all of 10 seconds to create an account, then Newsle takes it from there. Here’s a screenshot of a recent result in my newsfeed (I also get this via email).

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I met Matt Rozen (above) from Adobe at a Ragan PR Conference in May, then connected with him on LinkedIn. I’d like to stay in touch with him, and knowing what he’s up to will help me do that.

#3 Rapportive

Rapportive “shows you everything about your contacts from within your inbox.” So when you’re working on an email to someone, Rapportive uses their email address to automatically pull in your contact’s social profiles in a box to the right so you can see what they look like, what they’ve been tweeting about lately, where they live and lots more.

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To use Rapportive, you will need to be using Gmail or Google Apps Mail. (See this from Tech Republic about all the Google mail products.) If you use Gmail at work, you will find Rapportive really shines, with loads of background on your contacts. For example, in the screenshot above I’m composing an email to a friend who works in technology.  Rapportive tells me I’m not yet connected with him on Twitter, and it reminds me that he’s active on lots of other networks that I can consider connecting with him on. This could be helpful to me considering we’re in similar industries.

I hope you find these suggestions helpful. What other tools do you recommend? Leave a comment below!