image: © Nan Palmero (CC BY)

The only special thing that happens on LnkedIn when you reach 500+ connections, is the 500+ connections badge on your profile.

Why should you care about the size of your network on LinkedIn? Why these superficial digital connections? What truly matters is having a real, personal connection. At least, that’s how I felt about building my network, until recently.

Three things happened that changed my mind.

The three events

First, I updated my LinkedIn profile using this guide. Step 16 says “connect to people”. I frowned.

About two weeks later, I talked to my friend Adrian, who helps me improve my online presence:

One more thing […] I would like you to get the 500+ connections badge for your LinkedIn account. This is important. […] There are a lot of good contacts out there, and they will all accept your request because you are awesome.

My friend Adrian

I frowned again.

Then, two days ago, I read this LinkedIn post about a translation project of a book I loved. I read the post and really appreciated the work. Yves Hanoulle initiated and facilitated the project. I’d like to be connected to people like Yves. We have not met. I do not know him, he does not know me.

I frowned again.

Yves’ work reached me because of our networks. If my network were bigger, I’d get more of these articles on my feed. If my network were bigger, I’d reach more people if I have something to share.

Maybe I should grow my network on LinkedIn … or should I. Time for some research.

More connections - the Good

Why more connections is a good thing (from: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5):

  • More valuable content on LinkedIn, because your feed is greatly influenced by the people you are connected with.
  • 500+ badge gives you more credibility as a networker.
  • More profile views, likes comments and shares, which is better for your personal brand.
  • Your updates, posts, comments, likes and shares reach a larger audience.
  • Your second- and third degree network grows, so you’ll end up higher in search results.
  • You’ll show up more often in People Also Viewed.
  • You’ll appear more often in People Similar To.

More connections - the Bad

So what are the downside of a large network?

  • Spam, although this can be easily managed.
  • People connect to others through you; if they connect to “bad” people through you, this will reflect on you. This can be avoided by simply taking some care in expanding your network. And it works the other way around too.

I changed my mind

Well. Much good. Little bad. Discussion closed.

A connection is truly a connection when it is valuable for both sides. Yes connections on LinkedIn are more superficial than real life connections. As long as you’re honest about this, it’s OK.

Your network will reflect your personal brand. It pays to be put together with care. If you’re an honest, transparent, caring and awesome person your network will reflect that. It can still be a big network. Just grow it the right way.

Next, an experiment

So, here we go. An experiment:

When I grow my LinkedIn network to 500+ connections, my next availability update in late September will reach 1000 views.

In my next post I’ll share my plan on how to do it.

Got this far? Let’s connect on LinkedIn


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