For years, there’s been two camps of folks on LinkedIn, those who are “open” to connecting and those who are not.
The debate rages on and off throughout various groups and discussion boards. Much like other things in life, politics comes to mind, people get dug in on a position and feel the need to defend it.
I see two different ways to use LinkedIn and many shades in between. For me there is not really a debate, just a set of choices. (But I’m not really surprised as people to go to guns over the little things and miss the big picture all the time.)
Most will agree that a LinkedIn profile will “rank” in the search engines for your name higher than any other site you are associated with. Sure there are exceptions, but not many. Don’t believe me, search for your name and see. If your profile is not the highest ranked page for your name, please comment below or contact me. I am looking for some examples of the exceptional few for my course work and talks.
Since your profile ranks high for your name, then having a profile so people can find you is important if you are looking for a job, if you are in business, or both. You don’t need connections or anything else, just a well done profile.
So, now you have a profile. Why connect?
It may not be worth connecting with anyone. But then again, if you want to find out about the person you are interviewing with or making a sales presentation to, then some connections may be helpful. If you are using LinkedIn to prospect or get exposure, then a network of connections is incredibly important, as your network size dictates your exposure and your ability to get introduced.
So, should you connect?
That depends on what outcome you are looking for from the LinkedIn platform.
Business people are fond of saying “it’s a numbers game” when it comes to prospecting. And to some extent I agree. If you accept this is true as well, and you are really trying to build a business using LinkedIn, then doesn’t it make sense to be open to connecting with anyone who asks (creepers aside of course)? After all, it’s your second and third level connections that allow you to leverage the real power of LinkedIn. That’s where you find out which of your first level connections know the person you want to meet or will be talking to at that interview tomorrow. And what those people have done, where they went to school, and a host of other juicy tidbits they have shared in their profile.
Yes, you may get some sales pitches and notifications about LinkedIn posts that you don’t care about. But you can ignore them pretty easily. Or, you may even learn something about your competitors from their pitch.
Bottom line – if you are going to use LinkedIn to prospect and build your business, then you will eventually find you need connections. If not, then you won’t. Who those connections are is much less important than who they connect or expose you to.
Both are valid strategies for using LinkedIn, it’s just a business decision.
Here’s to moving your business forward!
PS – if you want to discuss getting the most from LinkedIn for your business, give me a call 888.469.4686. And while your are thinking about it, pick up our free LinkedIn Profile checklist and workbook. You’ll be glad that you did.