Some LinkedIn users indiscriminately collect “connections”, never asking who is making the request or how they may benefit one another. This type of network is referred to as an “open” network.
I have heard of LinkedIn users with over 10,000 connections. This is a lot – LinkedIn stops displaying after 500. If you are promoting a product or service with broad appeal and using your LinkedIn Profile like a webpage to present information about yourself and your service, this may be effective. On the other hand, if you are a business professional promoting your services locally based on your knowledge, understanding and integrity, there is another, more effective approach.
Professionals are better advised to mirror traditional networking methods where they “connect” with individuals they know and trust; people with mutual interests who they believe they can benefit from knowing and, who in turn, can benefit from knowing them. This type of network is referred to as a “trusted” network. In a trusted network you only connect with colleagues in your industry who you believe you can help in some way and who, in return, think they can also help you. These people may be clients, prospects or possible referral sources.
Think of your connections as a business asset like inventory, equipment or intellectual property. These are individuals who can halp you grow your business, establish you as an innovative, progressive, thought leader in your field and who, one day, may be clients. Learn to nurture them; demonstrate that you are worthy of their connection; and, that you respect them.