My LinkedIn Network Has Grown

I just added my 200th LinkedIn connection and I must say it feels good. I’m proud of it because it is an indicator of my networking skills and general likeability, especially considering I’ve always worked for very small companies, have never hired a consultant, rarely consult others, and rarely get to go to conferences. 98% of my network consists of people I’ve had several in-person discussions with and the other 2% are people I share common interest or situations with (more on this topic below).

LinkedIn
According to LinkedSEO, I’m the 2nd most well-connected SEO in the Greater Seattle area. I’m sure my buddy Rand will catch up to me soon, but for now Dana Melick is the only person listed above me and it appears that Dana Melick is more of a salesman of SEO services than an SEO practitioner.

LinkedIn is definitely hitting critical mass. In the past couple months, I’ve seen tons of people jumping on the service. Social networking for business seems to have caught on. LinkedIn is doing a great job of staying focused on launching features that compliment their core focus. LinkedIn Answers is working well, groups are cool, recommendations make complete sense and the ability to find unbiased references when hiring people is awesome.

My tips for anyone looking to grow their LinkedIn network:

  • Connect with only people you know or trust. This isn’t like myspace where having tons of friends makes you look cool. People are weary of connecting with people with large networks and recommendations from a stranger are essentially worthless.
  • If you have a good conversation with someone and get their business card, send a LinkedIn request within 3 days and remind them exactly who you are. Don’t wait to long because you may forget who they are and they may forget who you are, which greatly reduces the likelyhood of a connection.
  • Use LinkedIn as your rolodex. It is where you keep all your important contacts.
  • Don’t recommend people you don’t believe in. I haven’t done it, but I am confident it will come back to bite you.
  • Avoid linking up with recruiters unless you want to scare your boss or co-workers.
  • Don’t be afraid to connect with a competitor. Being connected to them allows you to see who they are working with based off their new connections. Besides, you never know when a competitor will become an ally when tackling an issue that affects you both.
  • If you participate in Answers, know what you are talking about. Stupid answers (or even questions) can leave a scar on your entire career. No pressure ;).
  • Help people out in your network.

And, of course, if you know me or think you should know me, definately check out my LinkedIn profile and send me a request. My email is my [first name]@[the website address you are visiting].com. Here’s a link to my profile:
View Dustin Woodard's profile on LinkedIn

4 Replies to “My LinkedIn Network Has Grown”

  1. Likeable? You? I think I saw your picture in the Visual Dictionary right next to the word ‘likeable’… or was that ‘linkable’? ;)

    I agree completely with the practice of only linking to people you actually know. My network has been growing more slowly as a result of my philosophy, but the quality of my contacts is much higher than it would be otherwise.

    One question I have for you though… what about people you know and link to who end up being “serial linkers” with 500+ contacts (most of whom they don’t even know)? Would you just look the other way, confront them about it, or quietly drop them from your network?

  2. Good question Pat. I don’t like seeing any of my contacts putting their email address in their name or short description, which is usually a sign of someone who wants to connect to everyone with a heartbeat.

    I haven’t really faced the scenario you mentioned yet, but I could see it happening. I’m going to have to give you the adult diaper answer: it depends!

    If a serial linker does a good job of connecting with people I feel are valuable contacts, then I’d probably keep them. Some people are simply great connectors – the kind of person at a party who introduces people to eachother.

    However, if the serial linker is linking to anyone with a heartbeat and possibly creating fake profiles to boost their status, I’d remove them and might even let them know about it (gives them a chance to rethink their Linkedin philosophies and possibly clean up their network).

  3. I bit the bullet and quietly dropped this guy. My total network dropped from 190,000+ to 54,500+, but I’m not concerned. Like I said before, I’m more interested in quality than quantity anyway.

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