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).

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

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