We forever get the question of quality vs. quantity. I continue to preach that people who are naturally inclined to manage a strong network in real life can do the same online.
Many of our friends and fans know that Mike and I are “maxed out” on LinkedIn and I talk about being among the Top 3 most connected women on LinkedIn. In real life, we maintain a large network of friends, supporters, followers and easily make friends everywhere we go. One of those – also super connected in real life – friends asked this:
Subject: LinkedIn max 30,000
I need some advice.
Did you remove some at that time to allow more targeted connections, or how did you handle that?
I have 18,000 right now, and am just wondering what I should do when I reach the max. We are wanting to reach a global audience, so I don’t want to disconnect from anyone, but just wondering what my options will be further down the road.What did you do once your LinkedIn connections reached the max of 30,000 that LinkedIn allows?
Here’s my answer:
Great Question! Here’s what I’ve done…
From the beginning I have targeted my outgoing network growth except that quarterly I would access the TopLinked List and invite people on the list who weren’t already in my network. The reason I did that was to add people to my network that were also building large networks, thereby increasing my reach (larger 2nd and 3rd level connections).
I also accept people who send me a request. The question I ask is “Why not?” instead of “Why?”. Who am I to decide that someone will or will not bring value if I don’t give them a chance to prove themselves?
There have been many occasions when I wanted to send an introduction (even at 30,000 connections) and found that there was only one person connecting us. Had I not accepted their invitation, I likely wouldn’t have found that person in my network. Sometime people bring value passively and I’ve learned that is true, even in real life.
However, since the beginning and especially now, I focus strongly on connecting to people that I meet and that are in or represent our target audience. This includes people I meet when I speak at conferences or events who take the time to meet me and give me their card; people who reach out on any platform who intrigue me; and other people I come across that just interest me.
When culling my network, (I’ve hit 30,000 three times now and removed people to accept more), I first look for fake profiles that have gotten in (see the post here about how to spot them) and remove them.
NOTE: Once you get past a certain number of connections (for me it was 27,000), the remove connections feature times out so you have to use a kluge offered by Stacy Zapar, the most effective network builder I’ve ever met and the most connected woman on LinkedIn. You can find it on her blog here. A quick find is to go to the beginning of each letter and find any profile that only contain initials… First name “A”, last name “A”, etc. They likely change to initials after serious network building because I’ve never accepted an invitation from someone who invites me and looks like that.
I also go to the bottom of the list and remove connections that have muck in their name field, unless I personally know them. If that’s the case, I send them a note warning them of LinkedIn’s militant stance on maintaining NOTHING but your natural name and lettered credentials in your name field.
Usually when I do this, I drop a hundred people or so… the first time I did it, I lost almost 700. That would answer a related question from someone who wondered why the top 60 people moved around so much. (Sometimes you’ll find Stacey in the top 50 instead of the top 15 for example. Today, at 30,004, I’m the 20th most connect person in the world and the #3 woman.
Hope that helps!