They say business development is about both who you know and what you know. While at JD Supra we focus mostly on the “what you know” side of things, when a colleague recently mentioned that he’d been asked in a LinkedIn training session “why should I add people to my network?” it occurred to me that this may be something many others wonder as well. So here’s a quick list of 5 reasons to grow your LinkedIn network:
1. Intelligence: When you add someone to your network, you’ll receive updates from (and about) them on your LinkedIn homepage, including: links to articles that may be useful to you, events they are attending that may be of interest, and new connections they’ve made that may also be good connections for you. These updates can help you stay current on developments in your own practice, your clients’ businesses, and your connections’ lives.
2. Communication: The converse is also true. Each person you add to your network is one more person who is willing to receive information from you when you take that single action of updating your home page, blog, twitter account, or JD Supra portfolio. A LinkedIn network is a very easy way to stay in regular contact, and top of mind, with a multitude of people.
3. Common Ground: Beyond the two-way flow of information between you and your connections, perhaps the most important benefit of growing your network is the fact that, with each new connection, you exponentially increase the likelihood that you share a common connection with someone else. This matters either when someone vets you through your LinkedIn profile (which they inevitably will – coming to your profile via search on LinkedIn or Google), or when you use LinkedIn to vet someone. The value of this common connection cannot be overstated. Imagine you are comparing two lawyers, deciding which to contact about a new case. Here’s what you see in the right hand column of each lawyer’s LinkedIn Profile:
Lawyer #1 knows people in your network – their profile includes a list of people that you know and trust from whom you can seek a reference. Lawyer #2: nothing; no common connections. Who would you be more likely to investigate further/contact?
4. Search Visibility: The more connections you have, the more likely you are to rank well in search results on LinkedIn. By default, LinkedIn gives priority in results to those who are within three degrees of connection (or in groups) with the person searching. Further, even within these results, users can (and likely do) filter based on connection proximity. The more connections you have, the more likely you will be at least a third (if not second) degree connection when someone searches on key words in your field.
5. Serendipity: Last but not least, grow your network because you just never know. Sometimes it’s about science, and sometimes it’s about serendipity. The more you show up and participate, the more likely that the magical confluence we call serendipity will happen.