Is LinkedIn a Numbers Game?

This article will answer the question, Is LinkedIn a numbers game? This remains one of the most frequently asked questions from active users who are trying to gain wider exposure.

As an active LinkedIn user myself since 2007, I can say from years of observation and working with clients, there are distinct reasons why people use this social media platform. 

Let me go back for just a minute to gain some perspective…

The platform itself has gone through many updates since it was founded back in 2003. As of July 2021, there are 774M users worldwide and from its inception was designed to connect the world’s professionals. Initially what they became known for was that social media platform you went to if you needed a job.  

LinkedIn evolved from simply job search to lead generation

LinkedIn is still the #1 platform if you are a job seeker or a recruiter looking for new talent. However, over the years users realized that key decision-makers were present on this platform making it ideal of lead generation.

As the platform has grown, so has the strategies for gaining visibility, more engagement and seeking influence within industries. LinkedIn is now so much more!

Does having more connections make sense?

That leads me to the question about how many connections do you need to be seen by more people?
There are many salespeople who believe LinkedIn is a numbers game and the more people they invite to their network they are bound to meet their objectives.

There’s a term you may have seen in some people’s profiles called LION which stands for LinkedIn Open Networker and you can indicate on your profile that you were an open networker.  The reason to become an open networker was to maximize your visibility and reach.

Most people who were or still are LIONS have many thousands of connections, there is a 30,000 maximum number of 1st degree connections you are allowed. When a LION asked me to connect I always asked them some questions such as “What did you have in mind when you invited me to connect?” and I would say 9 out of 10 times I never got a response. Or I might ask, “How might I be a valued connection when you have 20,000 connections?” again, I rarely got a reply or if I did, I found it interesting they rarely if ever asked me about myself. So what was the point in connecting?

So does this strategy still work?   I say no, not if you want meaningful relationships.

How we’re connected matters to professional success

I wrote an article titled “Has LinkedIn Created the Illusion We’re Really Connected?” because I felt that social media was taking the place of real relationships.

I truly believe that if your network connections lead to conversations, then you are building a true network versus collecting names in a rolodex and never stopping to get to know those people who could be great resources.

LinkedIn Now Limits Connection Requests

LinkedIn has made many changes to the platform over the years and one they made this year was to limit the number of invitations to connect to 100 per day.  This prevents the impersonal, automated messages so many of us have received from someone wanting to target titles or keywords of an ideal client.

I agree that networking online and offline takes an investment in time and many people simply don’t want to do it. 

Another thing LinkedIn has implemented is the ability to ‘Follow’ someone versus ‘Connect’ with them. The reason you would want to follow someone would be to follow their posts if they are an active user. This could be a prospect or a competitor!  You can comment on a post without being a connection, many people don’t know this, so it is simple to stay top of mind this way.

Understand LinkedIn’s algorithm if you want to be seen

LinkedIn really cares about two things… 

Keeping users on the platform as long as they can scrolling through the home page feed, and they care about members engaging with each other and their posts.
If you understand LinkedIn’s position and you use it to your advantage, then you will be rewarded by having your posts being seen more often.  

Having a large quantity of connections does NOT ensure they will all see your posts.  LinkedIn measures the engagement of your posts and the more comments you receive, the more people in your network see it.  If your posts get zero comments, the large number of connections won’t help your overall visibility.

If you are an active user, meaning you log onto your account with some frequency each week, leave comments, invite new connections and start a dialogue and post your own content that positions your expertise and provides value to your network, you will see the rewards from LinkedIn. There are many ways to communicate on LinkedIn, the point I’m trying to make is by practicing active listening and being strategic by aligning your business goals with those people in your network, business will come your way.

Quality over quantity wins more business

I have been training individuals and company’s LinkedIn marketing for over a decade and I can with certainty tell you more business is won by the quality of your network and relationships.  The more people you have nurtured relationships with that know you and your work will also refer you to others.
This is how you become a valued connection.

Taking time to reach out to your network and jump on a phone call, leave a thoughtful comment on a post or creating a post shouting out to someone in your network are all ways you become a valued connection.

Conclusion – Add more value not more connections

𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐝𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐚𝐝𝐝 𝐯𝐚𝐥𝐮𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐧𝐞𝐭𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤? It’s not that hard…

📌 Ask yourself, what am I good at? Offer what you are good at to someone you want to know better
📌 Who do I know that you could add value in making an introduction?
📌 Purchase the person’s program you want to know better – let them know the value you gained from it

Drop the “I don’t have time excuse”

Create 5-minute favors – simply put, find someone you can help in 5 minutes or less

By adding value to those in your network, you are demonstrating that you are someone who is interested in building long-term relationships and you have a giving mindset!

Need a fresh perspective on your LinkedIn Marketing?
I invite you to schedule a complimentary call with me, I want to learn more about your professional goals and if I have a solution that can help you get there faster!

JoAnne Funch

JoAnne Funch

Helping business owners and corporate leaders use LinkedIn and relationship building strategies to gain more exposure for their brand so they have more impact, credibility & income.

2 Responses

  1. Ah the LIONS – haven’t seen that word in a while and now that I think of it, LinkedIn has become full of them!

    But I’ve also noticed that a lot of the ‘dead’ connections came to life last year and started communicating. I guess we needed a nightmare pandemic to remind ourselves that staying connected and having conversations is the purpose of LinkedIn.

    1. You are so right about the dead connections coming to life. I have spent a lot of time this summer reconnecting with the people in my network too. I think we all probably have valuable networks worth nurturing versus adding new connections all the time.

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A Practical Guide for Business Owners, Consultants & Salespeople to Effectively Use LinkedIn for Marketing.