Perhaps we should start by defining what a Super Connector is. There are various views on this and most people would probably say a super connector would be someone whose profile shows they have 500+ connections.
Actually that’s all that LinkedIn will show on anyone’s profile. So they may have 501 first level connections or they may have hit the limit of 30,000 that LinkedIn has imposed.
The point is that this is about more than just the numbers. A Super Connector is someone who does probably have several thousand connections, but they actually know them. They could probably put in a call, confident in the knowledge that the contact would answer.
A recent research survey produced some very interesting statistics. Using 3000+ as the definition of a super connector, just over 1000 LinkedIn members were asked how many connections they actually have.
This is what the survey revealed
- Fewer than 500 connections – 54%
- 500 and 999 – 27%
- 1000 to 1999 – 12%
- 2000 – 2999 – 3%
- 3000+ 4%
(Source: Michael Field Pty Ltd, quoted by Jorgen Sundberg in ‘The Underground Recruiter”)
It isn’t always easy to build up the momentum to hit that first 500. Are you one of the 1 in 25 who have fewer than 500 connections or are you already higher up this table?
If you are still in one of the lower brackets this is what you can do to increase the size of your network without annoying other LinkedIn members. Most of it is common sense.
Focus on building relationships based on trust rather than pushing to ramp up the numbers for their own sake. It’s a long game not a mad sprint.
Follow these principles to build a steadily growing, highly engaged LinkedIn network.
Messages and invitations to connect
Absolutely always personalise every message you send to anyone on LinkedIn. Members can spot a generic automated (aka spam) message a mile off. That will quickly kill off the responses you want.
So put in a little work to find a point of genuine common ground. Refer to someone who’s recommended you get in touch or specifically what it is about the new contact’s background that caused you to think they might be interested in connecting.
Messages like: “Hey you have a fantastic profile” or “I’m building up my network so I’d like to connect” just don’t cut it!
Be specific and meaningful
Fluff and superficial messages get little or no traction. Be clear and specific about why you are getting in touch and what you would like your contact to do in response. Use this as a foundation for starting great conversations off the platform in the real world.
Generosity goes a long way to building trust
You will quickly discover that a generous spirit and genuine desire to help your audience are much more powerful than pitching your product or service in the first few contacts.
It may seem to take less effort to connect online than in person because no-one has to go anywhere and there’s no awkwardness over who’s paying for the coffee. But relationships are built on trust which can be harder to develop when you can’t shake the person’s hand and sit across a cafe table from them.
The evidence is consistently overwhelming that approaching LinkedIn relationships with a drive to help and serve others before expecting a return pays off far better than a shallow, transactional, salesy style.
Contribute through great content
I’ve said plenty about this elsewhere so I won’t go into all that detail again here. It’s similar to the last point. Consistently creating and posting high quality content that can genuinely benefit your connections will steadily serve to position you as someone they can trust and follow. Go for it!
Ultimately all of this is aimed at what I regard as the most important key principle for being on LinkedIn to promote your business:
“Creating real conversations with the right people is the key differentiator”
(Adam Houlahan – yep, that’s me)
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