I am approaching six weeks since I decided to see if LinkedIn was relevant to my business. When I started I had 20 contacts. As of today I am up to 131 contacts, mostly built from networking in the North Fulton Chamber.
Looking at my connection statistics reveals that in addition to my 131 1st degree connections, I have 9100 people that are 2nd degree connections and I just broke the $1 million mark for 3rd degree connections which is at 1,059,700. Let’s take a look at how degrees are defined.
1st degree: People in your immediate network. Ideally these are people you know well enough that you could introduce them to others in your network, ask and receive an introduction to a direct connection of theirs, or use them to connect someone in your network to someone in their network.
2nd Degree: People that have a 1st degree connection to someone that you have a 1st degree connection to.
3rd Degree: This gets a little confusing but to explain in a written form but I’ll try. You (A) are connected to (B). B is 1st degree connection of (C). C is is a 1st degree connection to D. So you have A-B, B-c, and C-D. D is a 3rd degree connection to you.
To connect to D you would request a connection through B. B would forward the request to C. C would forward the introduction request to D. This is all accomplished through LinkedIn and is subject to each connection passing the request on. The down side is if C is connected to D but does not know that person personally, your connection request may die a slow death.
Also it could take weeks for the connection to happen if anyone is on vacation, not checking their account, or just overlooks the request.
One alternative is to take the introduction process offline. Meaning, rather than sending a request through LinkedIn, you pick up the phone and call the first person in the process. Then they call the next person to see if they will make an introduction. Then that person can call the final person in the connection chain. Or, at least when you send the LinkedIn introduction request each person is expecting it and likely to take action sooner rather than later.
One thing to keep in mind is that the strength of your network is not solely based on the number of connections you have. It’s based on how well you know your contacts and how well they know theirs. LinkedIn will never replace the value of face to face interaction and personal relationships. It’s just a tool to enhance what you are currently doing, or should be doing.
That’s it for now. Coming up in future posts I will cover:
2. LinkedIn Answers
3. LinkedIn Groups
Acuity Benefits Solutions/Atlanta Health & Life
My Employee Benefits company: www.benefitsroi.com
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