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Why You Need 500 or More Connections on LinkedIn

LinkedIn – the World’s Easiest Network for Professionals

LinkedIn is the worlds’ largest professional business directory. Put another way,  LinkedIn is the world’s largest social network for working professionals. That means if you’re in the law, accounting or similar profession, you need to be on there. More that you need to be actively on there. Like any network online or face to face, it only works if you work it. That means contributing to conversations, making connections and building relationships. Consider how easy this online platform is to network.

  1. Convenience. You don’t have to leave your office. You can network with CEOs and millionaires in your pyjamas.
  2. Instant. You can dip into the network at any time, for as little or as long as you want.
  3. Access. You can pretty much talk to anybody ‘in the room’.
  4. Credibility. LinkedIn is different to social media in that it’s all about business and nto about pleasure or social. That makes it a legitimate platform to have high quality business conversations.
  5. Rejection-free. Nobody is going to reject you in the traditional sense. You can reach out to as many people as you like, and the chances are, a good few of them will say yes to your request.

Doesn’t this sound like the kind of networking that most accountants or lawyers might prefer to be involved in?

LinkedIn Statistics to Make You Think

If you google “LinkedIn statistics” then you’ll see the following numbers are pretty accurate (though forever changing):

  • There are close to 500 million users, with 2 people joining every second. Of those, around 100m are active (use it at least once a month). 40% of people on there use LinkedIn daily. An average user spends 17 minutes monthly on LinkedIn.
  • 80% have a free account and 700% of users are outside the US.
  • 41% of millionaires use LinkedIn, so it’s rich pickings for B2B marketing. 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn.
  • It’s a brilliant thought leadership platform too, with 50. 71% of professionals feel that LinkedIn is a credible source for professional content. 46.
  • There are 5.5 million accountants on LinkedIn.
  • The average CEO has 930 connections.

There’s a lot happening here. A lot of potential. A lot of reach. A lot of exposure. A lot of business opportunity. Your job is to be intentional with your online networking and your use of LinkedIn. One of the first and best things you can do (if you haven’t done it already) is to get to 500 or more connections.

The Magic of 500+ LinkedIn Connections

The number of your LinkedIn connections can be seen as ‘the amount of gas in you tank’.  While it’s not necessarily the more the better, you should be aiming to get over the 500 barrier. Anything below that and LinkedIn lists your connections as an exact number, say 295. All things being equal, you’d be more inclined to connet with somebody who had 500+ connections than 87m right? Getting to 500 shows you have a useful, relevant network and that you are a ‘player’ on the platform. Close to 30% of LinkedIn users have between 500 and 999 first degree connections:

  • 54% of users have less than 500 connections
  • 27% have between 500-999
  • 12% have between 1,000-1,999
  • 3% have between 2,000-2,999
  • 4% have 3,000+ connections

Once you get to 500 connections, LinkedIn simply announces that you have 500+.  It doesn’t give the exact number. Why? Some say LinkedIn doesn’t want to inadvertently turn into a professional popularity contest. Others think that that if you had at least 500 connections then you would appear higher in search than someone with less than 500 (if all other factors were equal).

In truth, 500 is probably just an arbitrarily chosen large number to stop the contact hunters showing off. Whatever the reason, it’s a good milestone to attain, and puts you in the top half of networkers at least by size of your network.

Three Good Reasons To Hit 500+ LinkedIn Connections

There are three benefits of reaching 500+ connections on LinkedIn:

  1. Credibility. Perception is reality. If a potential client or professional is looking for a high level person to build a relationship with, you’ve got instant authority through your number of connections. it also shows you’re active on LinkedIn, which means you’re serious about investing in relationships.
  2. Audience. If you’re sharing updates and posting content, you naturally want a bigger audience to see them. With 500+ connections on LinkedIn, you have a greater chance of click throughs to your blog or website. that means profile, reach, presence and influence. It’s also likely that you’ll appear more often in search results and be higher in the search rankings if you are more connected.
  3. Opportunity. With 500+ connections on LinkedIn you have a much better chance of being thought about when someone wants your service, product or skillset. This prospecting is guaranteed to generate ‘warm leads’ and potential introducers for you. Put simply, more connections gives you access to more or the right people.

It’s worth the little extra time it takes to build your connections. It seems logical that a larger LinkedIn network improves your chances of success. Of course, some may argue the benefits of a small, close-knit, strategic network, but that’s really not what LinkedIn is about. Of course, quality beats quantity. But quality and quantity together means a larger network of strategic alliances, fellow professionals, potential clients and business opportunities.

One of the training modules in the BD Academy program is on LinkedIn. This is the transformational training program that can put £5-10m of new business into your firm over the next few years. To discover more and see whether it might be a fit for your firm, let’s have a chat…