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Why is it so important to be connected on LinkedIn?

Statistics Say:

If you have less than 500 connections on LinkedIn, you can be found by approximately 3%ish of the LinkedIn Community.

However, if you have 500+ connections on LinkedIn, you can be found by approximately 90%ish of the LinkedIn Community.

Once you have over 500 connections, your total number of connections is not displayed on LinkedIn (in case you were worried about your employer wondering why you have so many connections).

Building your network dramatically improves your ability to be found on LinkedIn in addition to being seen as a thought leader and player in your industry.

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You may have already answered this question about connections on LinkedIn, but what I'm wondering is this: shouldn't we know the people we're connecting with pretty well? Or was that advice I was given years ago, when that was the theory. I ask you this because I heard that if we connected with people we didn't know, some of whom may not have the best of reputations, it could make us look unfavorable. Yes? No? Thanks, in advance, for your feedback.
It is a personal choice.

You can invite people one by one with an invitation which takes time and effort. You can also choose to be an open networker like me. I welcome most anyone who sends an invite. For me, being an open networker works due to the nature of my business. I am also an open networker in my personal life so they go hand-in-hand.

The key in either case is to have a relevant network. If you have 2 to 3 people who can help you, it may not be as good as having 200-300 who cannot help you. In your case, continue to grow your network to over 500 if you can but using relevant contacts. I have many relevant contacts who help me all the time but I also have what I call "little surprise" contacts who become great relationships. I also have non relevant contacts but they have connections / networks I need. For me, the spidering of connections works amazingly well.

On the other side, if I have a small network, say of 10 connections and want to get introduced to a Florida CEO and did a search, I would probably come with zero. In this case, my search is based on those 10 people and who they are connected with. LinkedIn Power is in the second degree connection so a wider net catches more than a smaller net.

There are 3 real purposes of LinkedIn: Share your brand (personal or corporate), grow your network and nurture relationships. You can do all of this by casting a wider net and focusing on growing your relevant network.

Hope that helps!
Thanks, Carrie! Based on your reply it seems as though it would be to my advantage to cast a wider net!
I find LinkedIn to be extremely professional and even with over 11,000 first connections, everyone has been extremely nice and helpful. ;)
My only "beef" with LinkedIn is that I get a whole lot of unwanted "invitations" from some people with whom I'm connected. By "invitations" I mean solicitations : )
Just ignore the invite in your case versus saying you don't know them. The key for people sending invites is to send a personal invite rather than the canned invite. An invite is to tell you why they want to connect...what is the reason or purpose (I am writing an article on an area you specialize in and would like to ask your opinion or we are in the same group and share interests). In most cases, when an invite is personalized, you will read it and accept it based on the reason for connection. The standard invite is downright impersonal.

Nine times out of ten I ignore the solicitations and if they were done right, I might read those too!
I probably should have explained what I meant by "invitations." I meant that there are some people with whom I have a first level connection who send me "invitations" to their events or teleclasses, and it gets to be rather annoying and spam-like!
I just mark them as read. I know what you mean though.

Ellen,

That does happen a lot.  I don't mind finding out about events or even teleclasses.  However, I HATE hard selling messages.  Some people send me messages asking me to buy something or check out their websites before even trying to get to know me first.  I no longer have time to respond to pe,ople like that and I simply delete them out my network.  I will probably never reach 500 contacts because I remove people often. From the time I have been on linkedIn, I have probably exchanged conversations with 1k people, but I had to drop some of them once I learned their true motive for connecting.

Marlene,

 

You actually sound more tolerant than me : ) If I've never had any contact with someone, except for accepting his or her LinkedIn invite, I really don't want to be solicited with teleclasses, etc. Maybe it's just me, but that feels like spam. Though I am connected with these people, I'd like to get to know them before they begin slamming me with "offers." I actually hadn't considered removing people. Maybe that is something I should consider. As it is, I've just been deleting their messages. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

I agree about getting to know each other first.

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