The reason why I have decided to shrink my LinkedIn network
Yesterday I downloaded my connections list from LinkedIn and exported it into Excel. There is a new service being launched by Edenchanges in March specifically for recruiters and I wanted to ensure that my sales and email database had all my recruitment contacts in it from all my various networks.
As I was processing the contact list and removing all the non-recruitment clients it struck me just how few actual recruitment connections I have given that I spend the vast majority of my time working with recruiters.
Whilst I have over 4,500 LinkedIn connections what I discovered yesterday was that only around half are in the recruitment field. If my connections more accurately reflected how my time is split then the number would be much closer to 4,000.
Yesterday it took me quite a while to filter through the non-recruitment contacts to generate a list of names and people who I could present the new service to. Like everyone I hate irrelevant emails so I I worked hard yesterday to ensure that everyone I will email about the new service is in the recruitment field.
As I was wading through the names I couldn’t help but think how much easier this would have been if I had been more selective in my networking on LinkedIn.
Now it can be argued that simply having a large number of connections is a good thing. It’s something that early in my time on LinkedIn I strongly argued. Indeed I blogged about it (How Many LinkedIn Connections Should I Have?) back in 2011 but since then my thoughts have been shifting. In 2012, in this article (Removing LinkedIn Connections) I advocated a large network but I offered the thought that you might want to focus your network.
During 2013 I thought about this a lot and started to really examine how people use their LinkedIn networks and where business tends to come from. That thinking combined with my experience yesterday has brought me to the firm conclusion that the best type of network is a large one that is in proportion to a person’s target market.
Consequently as I do 90% of my work in the recruitment field so 90% of my contacts should be in that market and to that end I am now in the process of removing contacts that don’t fit with the aim of reaching a 9:1 ratio of recruiters to non-recruiters in my network by the end of the exercise.
Yesterday was a specific event – going through the contacts and sorting them out and as such not enough reason in itself to keep a focused network. Rather it was for me a practical illustration of what I have been witnessing during 2013.
In 2013 I either saw people win business through LinkedIn with established contacts who they already knew fairly well and were simply keeping in touch with via LinkedIn or people won business from industry specific contacts. I didn’t witness any business won in a new industry simply as a result of a connection on LinkedIn; either by myself or anyone I worked with last year.
Yesterday when I was going through the list the people I recognised were, for the vast majority, in the recruitment sector. And those who I didn’t know were mostly outside of the recruitment sector and on inspection didn’t look like they would be likely clients.
I had simply connected with them at some point. What I realise now is that has little value and is in fact a detriment. So it’s time to trim down and focus my network where the bulk of my business comes from – recruiters!
I will talk more next week about how I am selecting who to remove and who to keep in an article entitled “How to Create a More Focused and Profitable LinkedIn Network”.
So those are my thoughts at the start of 2014 – what are your opinions on this?
Until next time, be successful;Stephen Hart Development Specialist, Edenchanges.com