When it comes to LinkedIn connections there are two schools of thought.
On one side you have proponents who believe that your attention should be focused on minimizing your connection count by only connecting with people you have met in real life or have some other strong connection with.
They believe that if you have hundreds or thousands of connections then there is no way for them to be real connections. You can’t possibly nurture that many relationships. You can’t really argue with that rationale because it’s true, you can not possible physically or emotionally connect with that many people.
On the flip side there are proponents that believe the goal is to get as many LinkedIn connections as possible. Spreading your network out and connecting the strands to as many people as you can in and outside of your current network. Regardless of who they are.
Today I am going to share why I believe in the later. And why I think quantity is the better choice and one that LinkedIn encourages (if not officially). I’ll explain exactly why I believe LinkedIn prefers it too and was designed for it.
Number Of Connections Visible
When you visit a connections profile you will notice a number in the bottom right portion of their top main section. This number represents the number of direct (or 1st tier) connections that person has.
The maximum number you will ever see here is 500+.
For a social network that has millions of users, and had every intention of growing larger since it’s inception, I have to imagine there is a reason for this.
I believe this was meant as a profile differentiator without overwhelming other professionals. If a new professional were to join LinkedIn and see someone who has 5000+ connections, they might be hesitant to connect with them because there is no way either of them could add value to each other.
That is obviously only an opinion and not the actually case butI believe the 500+ limit was set for that reason or one similar.
*If you can think of other reasons why LinkedIn set the 500+ visible limit let me know in the comments below.
Connectivity Is Based On Tiered Connections
Being able to view profile information is dependent on your tiered connection to that individual.
There are four possible tiers, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and group connections.
And the more people you are directly connected to (1st tier connections) the more 2nd and 3rd connections you have. It is almost exponential growth when it comes to making 1st, 2nd, and 3rd level connections.
This is very important to understand because the more connections you have the larger your network will be…obviously.
The more connections you have the more people will see your updates, the more they will share them, so on and so on…
Higher Search Rankings
LinkedIn’s search function is very powerful and like most search engines focuses on keywords. However unlike other search engines like Goolge, Bing, or Yahoo; the LinkedIn search takes into consideration your connection level when showing results.
For example if I were to search “property management software” I would simply get a list of my 1st tier connections because I have many connections that have “property management software” in their title or profile.
However if I were to search for “marine biology” I get very few connections showing because I have little connection to the “marine biology” industry and people that would have it in their profiles. Instead I get available jobs, companies, and groups that have those keywords listed.
The fact is that the closer in connection I am to a person doing a search for keywords listed on my profile, the better chance I have for ranking highly in their search results.
The more connections you have the higher your visibility
You’re Able To Send Messages To Direct Connections
It doesn’t matter if you have a 2nd tier connection that is 100% relevant to you or what you’re searching for. You can’t send them a direct message.
However if you are a direct connection then you can send them as many messages as you want. Obviously you don’t want to spam them.
But the only way to send a message to a 2nd or 3rd degree connection is if you have a premium account. And then, based on your membership, you only have a certain number you can send.
The fact of the matter is that LinkedIn may promote quality over quantity when it comes to connections but it’s system rewards quantity.
What do you think? Quality or quantity?
~ Johnny Bravo
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net