“It is quality rather than quantity that matters.” — Lucius Annaeus Seneca
It’s time to weigh in on the LinkedIn Network Quality vs. Quantity debate, and I think you’ll see it my way unless you are a public figure or an author/social media personality.
I believe the power of your LinkedIn network is not just about how many connections you have, but rather who is in your network –both individually and collectively.
THE QUANTITY OPTION — connecting with people who find your profile and then click on the Connect button.
I don’t recommend this approach, but those that subscribe to this approach believe that “you never know who may know someone you want to know.” That may be true, but being connected to someone who is connected to someone you’d like to meet is valuable only if they can facilitate a personal and genuine introduction.
The chances of someone you’ve never met or spoken with, taking the time to write an introduction is unlikely. In other words, if you don’t have social or emotional capital with the individual, they won’t be inclined to risk their social capital to make an introduction.
The downsides aren’t worth it either:
- Lots of Spam — you’ll receive daily e-mails a day from unknown members, many offers, presentations, and scams
- Irrelevant content — your feed will include a lot of irrelevant content from other industries, individuals or regions that are out of your scope/interest
- Less engagement — real connections will hear less from you, and you will hear less from them as they will get lost among hundreds of thousands of other connections
THE QUALITY OPTION
I recommend a strategic and pragmatic approach that allows you to curate your LinkedIn network with minimal effort and maximum engagement value.
“Connections” should be people you care enough about to share your thoughts and ideas, and to stay in touch from time to time, not just when either of you needs something.
Initiate or accept connection requests under the following conditions:
- Someone that you have met or spoken to personally or professionally (don’t accept connection requests before a meeting)
- An introduction from a Connection that you remember and have social capital with.
- I am just as happy connecting to an executive assistant or low-level staffer as I am to someone in the C-Suite.
When it comes times to leverage your network for an introduction, your connections will more than likely be willing to make the effort to initiate the kind of introduction that will get you in the door.
The most important step is once you’ve made a connection, regardless of who initiated, is to make the connection meaningful by moving it to a phone call, video chat, or coffee meeting to advance the conversation and relationship.
If your LinkedIn network contains lots of connections that you don’t remember or know who they are, your should consider pruning your network. This article outlines the rationale for building and maintaining your LinkedIn network.
If we are connected and there is someone in my LinkedIn network you would like to meet, let me know and I’ll be happy to make an introduction 🙂