When you start out on LinkedIn, connections are one of the first features that grab your attention. A lot of users perceive them as Instagram’s follower feature or Facebook friends – but that’s a misinterpretation.
Connections are an integral aspect of LinkedIn. They are the contacts you know personally and trust on a professional level. Once you connect to a particular user, they become your first-degree connection.
There’s also an extended network of connections present. The second and third degree connections come under this, your level of communication depends upon how well you are professionally related to the user.
Having the right and strategic LinkedIn connections can be a game changer. Generalized niche users and specific niche users have different needs. It is always necessary to connect to relevant profiles. The process of connecting and knowing a professional on a personal level can also be beneficial.
When I was a novice marketer on LinkedIn, I made the mistake of connecting to random professionals just for the sake of numbers. I am here to make sure that you don’t make the same mistake.
Let’s dive deeper into this topic.
TABLE OF CONTENT
1/ Things To Remember When Connecting
When you’re new on LinkedIn, it’s a basic urge to want to send a connection request to every user that pops up. Well, I hope you are not doing that.
When on LinkedIn, you’re supposed to remember a few things while connecting to someone. Ask yourself these questions.
- How well do you know this user?
- Is this user in your professional field?
- If this user is a stranger, would connecting to them benefit you?
- Do you think this user has potential?
- Is this user your critic? (Explaining this below)
- Does this user post content that interests you?
- Is this a demographic-relevant user?
If even a single question is a ‘yes’, then you should connect with this user. However, if all the questions are answered no, then you don’t see a reason to professionally know that person.
In the long run, this process may seem like a drag. Ultimately, it’s a brief decision. Some experts believe that you understand in the first five seconds whether that user will be a valuable connection.
Here are the types of people I would recommend you connect with.
- Professionals you already know are your key demographic. You know these people. You have worked with them. They are most likely in your professional field. Even if they are not, they can prove to be valuable in your professional future.
- Professionals you don’t know but are relevant to your niche. Being on a social platform means getting to know strangers, and when it is a professional platform, it means you get to connect with strangers who help you learn and vice-versa. Plus, it is always a good idea to have as many relevant contacts as you can.
- Professionals you may be related to. At first thought, you must have thought, why would I connect to a relative who belongs to a completely different industry? But when you think about it, you never know who ends up helping you. Connecting to professionals you know at such an extreme level is a smart idea.
- Users with Potential. When you come across people putting out new ideas or maybe announcing inspiring start-ups, it can be smart to connect with them. It may prove to be helpful once they have gone up the career ladder. Moreover, it would be inspiring to follow their work.
- Your Rival Critics. That’s right! Knowing what your professional rivals are doing will always keep you on your toes. Moreover, you need people who provide you with much-needed constructive criticism occasionally.
2/ Why Prioritize Connections?
Let’s be honest. We look at our followers count with way more interest than who our connections are. We have all been there. But in all honesty, it is high time that you start prioritizing your connections too if you want to level up professionally. Here’s why!
- Relevant connections will help you maximize your business success rate.
- You never know when a connection might be a source of qualified market leads.
- You may end up turning a connection into a prospective client.
- Your connections can open newer business opportunities for you.
- Your connections will endorse your skills when you ask them to.
- Your connections are more likely to engage with your content than your followers.
Connections on LinkedIn suggest that you know the person professionally and they are their trustworthy business connection. There is a huge difference between a casual contact and a LinkedIn Connection. To change a person from a contact to a connection, they must accept your invitation to join your set of connections. Once they do so, they become a part of your network.
If you are someone who has a lot of connections but a very small portion of it is relevant, you might want to rethink your marketing strategies. The word ’relevance’ comes up in every sub-paragraph, and yes, it is as important as I denote it to be.
3/ How Many Connections Are Enough?
I am sure you must have asked yourself at some point of point, do I have enough connections?
The problem with this question is that there is no correct answer to it. A good marketer can make the best use of 500 connections as well as 30,000 of them!
It’s all part of the process. A user with 30,000 connections also had 500 connections at a time. In fact, the said user also started at zero like everyone else.
The right number of connections ultimately comes down to what your objective is.
In my experience, if you are trying to build a professional network to advance your career, then having a limited set of VERY relevant connections is preferable.
However, if you are marketing a product or a service, which is the case most of the time, having a large connection list can do wonders. The mass appeal is more in the case of connections instead of followers.
Here’s how it goes in different cases:
If you are operating in a specialized niche, then limited connections are the way to go. Here’s a case study for you. This user works in the healthcare industry as a financial analyst. When we investigated these keywords, we found more than 200,000 profiles which made it a broad niche. But we noticed that her content is all based on the company she works in, so we also factored the BJC in the niche, the organization she works at, and we found roughly 500 profiles.
The conclusion was that this profession can come under a specialized niche if narrowed down. This user has 461 connections and happens to be highly successful in her field and LinkedIn had a significant role in this.
Another situation is being a professional in a very well-defined industry. In this case, having more than 500 or 1000 connections is highly recommended! Some users go up to 10,000 or even 30,000 when they have stayed in the industry for too long.
For instance, David Bombal is a very successful LinkedIn marketer. He markets his YouTube content and the courses that he authored as a programmer. These were the prime keywords on his profile. Very broad if you think about it.
We found more than 150,000 profiles and it wasn’t possible to narrow it down since David is using LinkedIn for marketing and follows a generalized niche.
Thus, it is appropriate and highly effective for him to have 30,000 connections.
The third category would be an amalgamation of freelancers, consultants, internet coaches, and others. Usually, people in these professions are self-employed and are open to working with a worldwide audience. Clearly, it is highly recommended to have a big connection list. This list usually comprises people from their own niche, and in some cases, like freelancers, the connections may belong to different fields as well.
4/ Your To-Do List
Here’s a simple recap of how connections work, and the basics that if utilized well, can do wonders for your marketing plans!
Connect with others by sending them an invitation, or by accepting their invitation to you. Each new connection can increase your access to thousands of professionals in your existing network. You can have up to 30,000 1st degree connections.
🧙 Pro Tip
You can also decide whether you want your connections to be visible to other users or not.
The process of interacting begins once a message is sent or received by your new connection.
If it would be beneficial for you to know a particular user at a personal level, then send them messages that are equally professional and welcoming. Show interest in their profile, the user should see why it would be mutually beneficial to have you as a close contact.
You can see their updates on your connections’ profiles or on your feed whenever there is something new. Make sure you interact with them! This puts you on the radar, plus there are chances of cross-engagement.
Well, I think you are ready to go out there again and make some meaningful and relevant connections.
Remember, your LinkedIn connections are like your co-workers. You don’t know them all at a personal level, but you know professional facts about them and that is enough for you to forge relevant relationships with them.
If you are still hesitant to go back there or if this whole thesis seems overwhelming to you, feel free to schedule a 30-minute call with me where a team of professionals will help you out in your journey.
- What is the difference between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-degree connections?
– First connections are your direct connections; people who are part of your direct network.
– Second connections are the connections of your 1st-degree connections, or simply the ‘friends of your friends’.
– Third connections are LinkedIn users that are connected to your second-degree connections. They are on the outskirts of your network, but you can still connect to them.
- Why is there a limit to the number of connections I can have?
LinkedIn values quality over quantity. It doesn’t want its users to exploit the connect feature by merely connecting to anyone, that would ruin its essence. The 30,000 connections are supposed to be utilized well, and relevant.
- Why am I facing issues with connecting to someone?
– You have exceeded your invitation limit; hence you have been restricted by LinkedIn itself.
– Too many people selected the option I don’t know you, hence you have been restricted as a consequence.
– This user was outside of your network.
– He/she has blocked you for some reason.
- When is a user outside my network?
When you have no whatsoever relation to that particular user, they remain outside your network: they are neither your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-degree connections nor do they share a group with you.
- What can I do if someone is outside my network?
There is no full-proof technique that brings a user into your network but here are some things you can try:
– Join a group they are also part of.
– Increase your network with relevant connections.
– Find and add connections in common. (But do not add random people)