To connect or not to connect? That is the question. If you’re on LinkedIn, you’re probably aware of how many connections you currently have. It’s a defining number for professionals, because it speaks to how connected you are, right? Well... maybe. Lots of connections doesn’t necessarily mean lots of credibility. Perhaps connections aren’t as valuable as the LinkedIn community has made them out to be. Perhaps choosing not to connect has value.
Whether or not the connections you have are of any value, the number of connections you have carries a lot of weight. However, when it comes to building credibility on LinkedIn, the value of connections must be viewed within a larger context than just a number on a screen (i.e. 500+ connections). Experience is necessary in order to build the right connections. And by building the right connections, you’ll receive the best recommendations and leads to future relationships. This process will build and nurture a healthy group of connections and will transform your personal profile on LinkedIn into one that adds credibility and growth to your professional service.
It’s not uncommon to see LinkedIn users with over 500 connections. These users typically function on an Open Networking strategy, meaning they connect with anyone and everyone. “Why not?” they say. Connections are good, but the number of connections you have doesn’t always mean more business. In fact, LinkedIn is most powerful when you connect with the right people, not the most people.
You must ask yourself the question, “Am I doing my true friends and business partners justice by connecting with anyone and everyone?" By connecting with someone you don’t know, you position yourself as having experience with that person’s business or service. When a genuine connection sees that you are connected with this person and is interested in their service, you run the risk of having to “speak up” for them, even though you might not know them.
To connect or not to connect? That is the question. It’s really up to you and the strategy you’ve established for using LinkedIn. It’s easy to connect, but ease shouldn’t be associated with value. Hopefully this gives you a rationale for why you should not connect. Feels strange, doesn’t it? Remember that LinkedIn is a professional place that’s designed to generate business. Be strategic with whom you make connections and watch how LinkedIn does its job and builds value for your business.