Now, how many of you have been contacted on LinkedIn by someone who found you through search? Probably just a few.
But it doesn’t make sense, huh?
- You groomed your profile so it had a compelling headline.
- You put the keywords with which you want people to find you in the right spots.
- You have recommendations from your coworkers, boss, and clients.
- You have joined the groups related to your industry
- And you’ve connected with everyone you know who’s on LinkedIn.
So what’s left?
No, it’s not that you haven’t answered LinkedIn Questions or been a more active member of your network. It actually comes down to one number. Your connections.
I’ll show you.
In this case, I’ll demonstrate with a fairly generic term like Business Consultant.
Obviously specific results differ based on your profile, who you are connected to, etc. But the general guidelines I’ll show you will be consistent for everyone.
Those in your network will automatically shoot to the top, whether it’s a group or direct connection.
This is just one reason why having more connections and groups will be to your advantage, but let’s dig deeper first.
It’s pretty obvious from a glance that Kenneth has stuffed his profile with the keywords he wants to show up for, but you’ll also see he has 500+ connections.
Keyword stuffing doesn’t get penalized on LinkedIn like it does on Google, so lots of people take advantage of it. But just stuffing your keywords all over your profile won’t get you seen. The real differentiator is the connections.
In other words, if you keyword stuff your profile, don’t expect to shoot up the search list if you still only have 100 connections.
Also, I don’t recommend stuffing your profile full of keyword jargon if your goal is to be seen by recruiters or headhunters. Do you think they want to hire a person who has a shady profile full of repetitive keywords?
The people who tend to do this are mostly hoping viewers will click on the link in their bio to see their actual website.
Let me show you another example to demonstrate that you can still stand out without using a gimmick like this.
Here’s Dennis’s profile.
This is much more acceptable. He uses appropriate keywords but also has 500+ connections.
An important thing for me to note is that, many times, the people who are coming up aren’t just sitting on 500 connections…it’s more in the 1,000’s.
I can do this with several more, but you get the point.
But I Don’t Know 500+ People on LinkedIn
Neither do I. And to confess, I haven’t gotten to that 500+ number myself. (But I’ll show you how you can a little later).
You see, LinkedIn has strict rules for who you connect with. And the penalties could be very bad for your network growth.
When you ask to connect with someone, that person has three options.
1. Accept the request
2. Ignore your request
3. Report your request as SPAM
There are two ways you can get in trouble.
First, you can get reported if they select your connection as SPAM.
The second way is a bit less obvious. If they click ignore, two more options come up. These are; “I Don’t Know This Person” and “Report as Spam.” If either of these are selected 5 times, LinkedIn will require you to enter the email address of anyone you want to connect with in the future.
So How Have Others Connected With Thousands of People Without Getting Reported?
The trick these people have found is to connect with only those they know will not click those two options.
The obvious low-hanging fruit are the people they know in person who are on LinkedIn.
But for most of us, that won’t be enough.
So that’s where LIONs come in handy.
What’s a LION?
You may have seen a profile headline that looked something like this.
This means that person is a LinkedIn Open Networker. Meaning, s/he is open to connecting with new people. whether s/he knows you or not. There’s a good chance that if you request to connect with one of these people, they will accept, or at least not mark you as spam or “I don’t know.”
So Where Do I Find Them?
Glad you asked.
Here’s a List of Top LION Groups
- TopLinked.com (Open Networkers)
- InvitesWelcome.com (Open Networking)
- LION Worn with Pride
Often times you can join these groups and see if they have a discussion in which people have openly commented that they are seeking new connections. Those are the people to start with.
Some Hidden Benefits of Connecting with LION Members
One thing I found while looking at these groups was that many of these LION members also happened to be recruiters. So that’s a plus.
Secondly, being connected with other people who are connected to a wide network will make you that much closer to being a 2nd or 3rd connection to those you want to be noticed by.
For example, say a headhunter is looking for a sales manager for their client. When they search for sales managers, you show up because you are now connected to someone in the headhunter’s network. That connection may be a LION member with over 5,000 connections who just happened to have this headhunter and you as two of them.
Basically, the more connected the people in your network are, the more likely you will end up being connected to those who can make a difference in your career.
What Are Some Actual Numbers I Can Expect to See If I Become a LION?
How many times you show up in search or are looked at by other people on LinkedIn obviously depends on a few other things on top of the number of connections you have.
But will connecting with more people increase these numbers?
I was lucky enough to share one LION’s numbers after they passed the 500+ threshold.
How would you like to have over 600 people see your profile in a month or come up in search over 1,000 times?
Is Becoming a LION Right For You?
LinkedIn is YOUR personal network.
Before becoming a LION yourself, I’d ask this question.
What Is The Goal of Your LinkedIn Profile?
For some it’s to help them passively find jobs.
Others use it to show credibility in case someone Googles their name.
Some just made a profile because they were curious.
If coming up in search more often or getting more eyes on your profile will help you with your goal, think about it and see if it’s the right fit for you.
If LinkedIn is more useful to you to see what connections you have through the people you actually know, becoming a LION could make that much more difficult.
What do you think? Share in the comments below.
Bryce Christiansen stays busy marketing, blogging, and managing communities across the internet. Be sure to check out his latest project, The People Profiler, a new web app that helps you communicate more effectively with others. You can find more of his work on The Balanced Worklife Blog where you can download his “Career Toolkit For Balanced Workers” free.
Image courtesy of HasinHayder