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This is a very common question that I get asked by my clients when I give them LinkedIn advice and training. Once they get to the magic 500+ connections status, will they be flooded with business leads and not have to do anything further as that goal will have been reached…

No, it is vital to continually look to grow your network. Growing your network is essential to increasing your chances of being found when someone does a LinkedIn search for what you offer. If you are not in their network, you won’t show up. Visibility is vital because when you start using LinkedIn to reach out to potential prospects you are limited to finding people that are within your network. People can only find you if you’re in their 1st, 2nd or 3rd-degree networks. Your 1st-degree network is anyone you are directly connected to, your 2nd-degree network includes the contacts of your 1st-degree contacts, and your 3rd-degree network includes the contacts of your 2nd-degree network.

Stranger danger?

I would encourage you to connect with people who you don’t know and who may have sent you the usual LinkedIn “connect” message

“I’d like to join your LinkedIn network”.

From my LinkedIn Training Courses, every month I see that people don’t know how to personalise their invites (particularly when using the LinkedIn app). LinkedIn – why can’t you make it compulsory that everyone personalises their connection messages?

Consider accepting their connection message and reach out to them and see why they reached out to you. Look at their profile in detail – could this be a potential client or a professional strategic alliance? Who are your shared connections?

Consider that it’s a win-win situation because every single person you connect with expands your network available.

Obviously, you won’t connect with anyone who looks suspicious or looks like a potential spammer. A real bugbear of mine is people who abuse the individual LinkedIn profile and set up a company page in the form of an individual profile and look to raise their company profile through that system by then sending out connection messages.

I have been approached every week for the last month by several companies within the Thames Valley who have sought to exploit this avenue. Do I accept those connection invites? No I do not. Set up a company page and direct people to your company page and ask them to follow it through your email signature, draw attention to it in your company newsletters, etc…

As you can see, the number of connections you have on LinkedIn is a good lead generation strategy BUT the quality of your connections counts. Build real business relationships with each connection by inviting them to a telephone call to find out more about who they are and what they do and then you will establish at the outset how you can help each other or question this point in your Welcome message. Maybe there are key business introductions you can make for them?

LinkedIn works when used effectively by creating professional relationships with your prospects that are built on trust. It is an ongoing process – just like any relationship, it requires regular time and upkeep.

So start reaching out and connecting! 

I would welcome hearing from you with your views over the Quantity versus Quality LinkedIn connections debate.

I work with a wide variety of clients throughout the Thames Valley and beyond to help them create achievable #LinkedIn strategies to promote their business and generate further business leads both in my one to one LinkedIn #Training Sessions and my monthly Training Courses which are run in Reading, Berkshire.

For monthly LinkedIn tips and my Top Ten Tips for professional Success on LinkedIn, visit my website and fill out the contact form or alternatively connect with me on LinkedIn and/or follow me on Facebook or Twitter