Enough LinkedIn Connections?
How many LinkedIn connections do you need to make the magic happen? The answer is … it depends.
It depends on how many people are in your niche. If you are in a highly specialized niche then less may be better.
It depends on the size of the networks of your 1st-degree connections. If everyone in your network has a small network (less than 10 connections) then you will need more.
If your prospective client base or the industry you work in is large you will need more.
It all depends on the size of your total network. LinkedIn used to tell you the size of your total network. With the latest version, you can only see how many 1st degree connections you have, which for me is 4,604.
I recently was working with a gentleman who was looking to move into a very specialized niche of mathematical modeling. Searching LinkedIn using 3-4 keyword phrases we found almost 3,000 profiles.
We then started to find the influencers in the industry and connected with them. Next, we found people who were working in the industry and had a similar background. We sought out people who looked, smelled and tasted like our client. Check out my post on this topic titled Finding People Who Look, Taste and Smell Like You.
The third step was critical, connecting with recruiters at target companies. Recruiters have large networks, and if they are recruiting in a specialized niche, they will be connected to many in the niche.
When accepting LinkedIn connections, you can be selective on which ones you accept.
My guess and it is only a guess if you reach 200 connections you probably have enough LinkedIn connections to get the magic to happen.
Skilled Professional in a Well-Defined Industry
Let’s say you are a marketing professional in a well-defined industry like financial services. 200 connections will not be enough to get you to the level of visibility needed to manage your career.
How many? Well, definitely more than 500 which LinkedIn defines as the limit it will display.
I recommend you follow the same process as someone in a niche industry:
- Find influencers and connect
- Look for people who look, taste and smell like you and connect
- Locate recruiters at your target companies and connect
You will need to be more aggressive in finding and connecting with people. You may also want to be less selective in accepting invitations.
My guess, and it is only a guess, is that if you reach 500-600 connections you probably have enough LinkedIn connections to get the magic to happen.
Freelancer, Consultant, Coach, …
People like myself who work with a worldwide audience need a much broader network that is not easy to define. This is why I have over 4,500 connections.
A good example of this is the LinkedIn Profinder function. It wants to match clients with service providers via your LinkedIn network. As a service provider, the larger my network becomes the more people who will be matched with my services.
I send very few LinkedIn connections except when it will benefit a client or promotes my business. On the other hand, I receive many LinkedIn connection requests.
Last week, I was a sponsor of Product Camp of Austin unconference. I gave a presentation based on my blog post Why Are You Not Being Found? Try Thinking Like a Recruiter. I told everyone who attended my presentation to feel free to send me a connection request but asked them to tell me that they had attended my session in their connection request. About a dozen connection requests have been received. I also asked them to like my FaceBook page because it was lonely.
When I receive a LinkedIn connection request, I make a quick assessment as to whether it is someone who is real (not spam) and with whom it makes sense for me to connect. I accept their request and send them a LinkedIn message:
Dear [first name],
I just accepted your LinkedIn connection request.
How did you find me?
Believe or not, most people do reply. I get a significant number of people who found me from a LifeHack.org article titled 50 Great People To Follow On LinkedIn, No Matter Your Industry.
My guess, and it is only a guess, is that if you reach 1000+ connections you probably have enough LinkedIn connections to get the magic to happen.
What About You?
How many LinkedIn connections are enough connections for your success?
There is no simple answer.