Since the beginning of my online social networking career, I have found myself involved in discussions involving the value of large networks. I have written posts about it on LinkedIntelligence, and our own RockTheWorldMedia blog, as well as here on IntegratedBlog, and always received interesting responses: some for, some against, while others are not sure which way to go.
As one of the top networkers I find many benefits to having a big network. The quality of my network is all about responding to people who reach out to me, and looking for ways for us to work together. It is in no way a numbers game, unless you count more opportunity. I value each of my connections and the opportunities they have provided for me.
Let’s face it – some of the most successful business people, both before and after the birth of LinkedIn have been the most connected. Even the likes of Forbes Magazine (Why the Numbers Matter) considers the numbers important. Take note: You can be influential with a small network; but the most influential ALL have large networks. They’ve just learned how to build quality into those numbers.
Do you speak Chevy V8? Is a 427 better than a 307? Which do you pay more for? How about concerts? Aren’t the most coveted seats right up front?
In the spirit if Women’s Day, celebrated March 8th, lets look at some of the women who have been the most successful in this endeavor on LinkedIn.
|March 2012||October 2010||July 2010||February 2010|
|1.||Sehrish Hafiz #27||Stacy Donovan Zapar #11||Stacy Donovan Zapar #9||Stacy Donovan Zapar #15|
|2.||Mary Leeds #57||Sheree Ruland #43||Sheree Ruland #46||Sheree Ruland #46|
|3.||Stacy Donovan Zapar #62||Mukta Kanojia Jha #49||Mukta Kanojia #59||Jenny (Voigt) DeVaughn #64|
|4.||Paula Rutledge #75||Mary Leeds #54||Judith Miller #63||Judith Miller #69|
|5.||Sheree Ruland #78||Judith Miller #58||Mary Leeds #65||Mukta Kanojia #77|
|6.||Lori Ruff #85||Jenny (Voigt) DeVaughn #65||Jenny (Voigt) DeVaughn #66||Jessica Max #84|
|7.||Marjan Bolmeijer #97||Vanessa Coussens #94||Vanessa Coussens #88||Mary Leeds #85|
|8.||Mukta Kanojia #98||Jessica Max #101||Jessica Max #90||Vanessa Coussens #92|
|9.||Alyson Mabe #112||Lori Ruff #107||Lori Ruff #122||Lori Ruff #138|
|10.||Leslie Merrow #114||Erika Barkin #149||Lisa Maria Mikkelsen #148||Lisa Rokusek #141|
I have been asked why there is so much movement up and down in the rankings. I’ve been as high as number 3 and fully intend to reach that again. But when you reach the max, 30,000 LinkedIn connections, if you want to accept new people into your network, you have to remove other connections that have not proven to be as valuable. So, I reached 30,017, was the 3rd most connected woman on LinkedIn, then removed some connections and I’ve been rebuilding with new people I meet, new clients and new audience members.
Another example why you might purge your network is Stacy Zapar. She experienced a life change (became a new mom), is no longer with her former employer (Intuit), and now works as a consultant. It made sense for her to purge her network so that she could refill those limited spots for people who might impact her in her more fully in her new role.
How do you benefit from having a large (yet targeted) network?
Here are just some of the ways I have benefited from my large network.
1) When traveling I search for active networkers in the area to try to meet in the hopes of impacting each other’s business.
2) I use searches to see who might be able to help with business initiatives – that’s how I found my partner in business and life: Mike O’Neil! I was looking for a connection in the Denver area and he (an open networker) showed up at the top of the search!
3) Having a large network enables me to show up in searches for people I might never have otherwise met – and I have met some of my closest friends just because I “showed up”.
4) Did I mention the business leads that come to my inbox because I am in the network of so many other people that I inevitably show up in their searches!
You never know who you might meet through social media. For me, social networking is all about building and nurturing relationships that mean not just business but also a fuller life.
For other open networkers, what do you consider the biggest benefits of having a strong network?