When LinkedIn first came out everyone raced to get 500 connections. It was a badge of honor, and it demonstrated networking prowess. I remember being happy to see “500+” LinkedIn connections on my profile. Now most of my clients ask if that number is necessary to LinkedIn and social selling success. Will they close more deals if the have more than 500 connections? The answer: NO!
It is beneficial to connect with like minded professionals on LinkedIn, but you should connect to the right people for the right reasons. 500 LinkedIn connections is not a magical panacea that benefits professionals in every industry. There are benefits to shedding some of those LinkedIn connections. Yeah, I said it! LinkedIn users should manage and limit the number of people to whom you are connected. Here is why:
- People – Connect with your clients, customers and co-workers. These are the connections you need to manage. Your connection might see your Likes, Comments, Shares and Posts, but there is no guarantee. You might see their content, but there are no guarantees. Scientifically Speaking must see content by financial professionals because that is number one industry we serve. We don not necessarily need to posts of random other industries. Limiting your LinkedIn connections helps manage your news feed.
- Cyber Security – Hackers will try to friend and connect with people to gain access to their personal information. If they know your interests (LinkedIn), birthday (Facebook) and when you are out of town (Instagram), those data help with cyber attacks, phishing and social hacking. All of these social media sites allows you to limit the amount of information people can see. Connecting with everyone can expose your client list and connections to hacks.
- Numbers – LinkedIn is not a numbers game where the person with the most connections wins. You should truly know your LinkedIn connections, so when you send them a birthday or congratulations note they recognize you. Similarly, when someone asks me for a referral to Daisy Johnson (a made up name), I want to be able to say I actually know Daisy Johnson (still a fictitious name). It is harder to say you actually KNOW people if you have 5000 connections.
- Audience – Professional with more than 5 years experience can easily get more than 500 LinkedIn connections. Friends, family and neighbors should be reserved for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. LinkedIn is for people sales, marketing, finance, technology and more. If your connections are filled with dozens people from your church choir, your connections are diluted. Save them for Snapchat.
Some people argue that 500+ LinkedIn connections shows you know how to network. My teenage daughter can exceed 500 connections by sending message to her college professors and classmates. So what? Connect with the right people for the right reasons. That’s how to grow sales, get a career and hire the right people. And if you need help with your profile and building a LinkedIn strategy, let us know.
Scientifically Speaking, of course…