Is It Really That Important To Have 500+ Connections On LinkedIn?

500. That’s the golden number when it comes to LinkedIn. Pretty much every professional on the site is trying to get to that number connecting with friends, family, coworkers, even coworker’s friends and families. LinkedIn has set the bar that 500 connections makes you a great networker and someone with influence on their website. But how much weight does that 500+ on your profile really hold?

Image source: Flickr

Image source: Flickr

Well, none if you don’t do anything to interact or take advantage of those 500 plus connections. Having that distinction on your profile is just that, it’s just a status symbol that only works as hard as you do. Those 500 connections could be the key to your next job, client or referral. Are you taking full advantage of them?

Sharing interesting articles with your network is a great way to communicate and stay on connection’s radars. Best-case scenario, they share your article and spark more connections with people in your industry. When your connections share a good article, engage with them. Comment on it, thank them for sharing it or even share it with your connections. This is a great way to start a conversation with a former coworker or potential hiring employee at a company you would love to get the chance to work for.

Look through your 500 plus connections to see what groups they are a part of and what they are saying. Don’t go crazy joining hundreds of groups, join just a few that are interesting to you and that you could realistically interact within. Then actually spend time each week interacting, not selling, with the group members. There is a group for anything on LinkedIn so whether you’re a member of the C-Suite or an entry-level marketing assistant, there’s a place for you to meet and network with likeminded professionals.

Having 500+ connections on LinkedIn is just the beginning. Staying connected and influencing through communications are what really make those 500 plus connections worth the time and energy it took to get them in the first place. There’s no doubt that out of those 500 people you have connected with, at least a few could help your professional or personal goals.

How often do you connect and communicate with your LinkedIn connections?

STOP the Social Media Insanity!

Do you remember the Stop the Insanity weight loss program from Susan Powter?   In the 90’s, you couldn’t turn on television without hearing her infomercial with that famous catch phrase, “Stop the Insanity!”

insanity

Do you ever feel the need to scream, STOP the Social Media Insanity?  Websites, Blogs, RSS feeds, Emails, Email newsletters, Facbook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ Instagram, Vine, Pinterest, FourSquare, Yelp, and on, and on, and on!  Do you get overwhelmed as you try to keep up with reading information, posting or joining various social platforms for yourself or your business? If so, I have a few suggestions that may help you stop your own insanity.

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It’s About Time

Several years ago, a business owner and sales manager uttered these words that have resonated with me throughout my life: ” I can give you all of the training and tools you need to succeed, but I cannot give you more time.”

Image used under Creative Common License

When you stop and think about it, that may be one of the truest statements ever spoken because we can never give ourselves more time. I chuckle when I read or hear advertisements that claim, “we can save you time.”  Really?  How do you actually save time?  Do you have a special box that you put time in so that I can use it later?  Of course not, we can’t save time; we can only make better use of the time we are given.

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Summer Session

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We have celebrated Memorial Day and the 4th of July, which for most of us in North America means we are right in the middle of summertime.  The kid’s are out of school, the temperatures are HOT (what else do you expect during July) and plans are being made for summer vacations .For some of us, we alter our schedules during the summer months; but for others it is business as usual. I am going to focus some of my energies in different areas this summer; not taking a break, but breaking with the normal routine in some ways.  

Below are my my plans for my Summer Session. 

My Summer Session

  • Reading: I will continue to read during the summer, focusing on books & publications that are business related, as well as ones that are personal in nature. Biographical and inspirational to be exact. 
  • I will produce 3 blog posts per week. This is essential to my business, and businesses do not take the summer off.
  • I will meet with existing clients to re-visit the plans we have in place and to adjust them for the coming year. 
  • I will laser focus my social networking efforts; spending no more than one to two hours on any day on my own profiles and platforms.
  • I will swim as much as I can. Whether in a pool, an ocean, or a lake, water is essntial to my rejuvination.
  • I will review and revamp my goals for the year.
  • I will relax and take a vacation….or two. 

The reason I am sharing my plans is to hold myself accountable and to encourage my referral partners to do the same.  If it stirs some thoughts in you about your own Summer Session, that is a bonus.  Please share them below in the comments section. 

What are your plans for this summer?

     

     

    You’re Gonna Screw Up!

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    While we strive to do our best in life, relationships, work, and everything else; I am convinced that if we learned and accepted at an early age that we will screw up, we would be much happier. Now, none of us expect to be perfect of course, but we all have problems with making mistakes.

    For example:

    * We will completely ruin a good relationship or friendship.

    *We will disappoint others.

    *We will get fired or reprimanded in our jobs. Incidentally this could be a good thing for us!

    *We will say the wrong thing at the wrong time.

    *We will make complete fools of ourselves.

    If we are LUCKY, we will do these things! Why lucky? They are learning experiences. The best learning experiences are from the mistakes we make as human beings. Hopefully we will learn from our mistakes and not make the same ones twice, but even if that happens we can learn a lesson.

    I have learned SO much in my life; which means I have screwed up….a LOT! I am sure I will screw up more, but that’s okay, I am human. It doesn’t mean I don’t try to not screw up, but I’ve learned to not worry so much about the mistakes. Life is too short; apologize if you can and if appropriate, learn from the mistake and move on.

    Thoughts?

    Want to connect with me? That is easy, I am always on! You can Friend me on Facebook, Follow me on Twitter, add me to your Circles on Google+ and connect with me on LinkedIn.

    3 Focused Words for 2012

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    For several years now, I have followed and consumed most of the writings of Chris Brogan. Working in marketing and social media, Chris is a wealth of information.  However, to me,  the nuggets of wisdom on life, work and other topics are just as valuable.

    Each January Chris publishes via his blog his three words for the year.  Chris does this to encourage himself and others to use these words to focus on defining goals for the year instead of making New Years Resolutions. If your curious about his post for this year, check out My 3 Words for 2012.

    I also read a story from a more spiritual perspective by Debbie Macomber, Choosing Words to Live By.  She choses one word per year to focus on for the entire year.  Her story is powerful and her words are ones that have helped her over the years.

    I have chosen to do this in years past and it helps me focus on goals for the year, so I encourage you to give it a try.  Let me know how it goes for you!

    Here are my 3 Focused Words for 2012:

    Listening

    We have all heard the phrase “we were given two ears and one mouth for a reason.” Sometimes that is lost during the moment, especially with me. So my first focused word of the year is Listening. My committment to those around me is to spend more time listening and less time talking. Anyone that knows me knows I can talk; but doing so instead of listening is not the best use of time for myself or the other person.  Listening is paramount for me this year.

    Friendship

    My second focused word for this year is Friendship. I am blessed with an abundance of connnections, followers and friends online as well as offline.  However I have not always been the best friend I can be to those people. That is changing. Focusing on Friendship is vital to maintaining the friendship as well as just overall relationships. Luckily I have shinning expamples of how friendships should function. Friendships come first for me this year.

    Challenging

    My third Focused word for 2012 is Challenging. I am challenging myself with being a better Listener, with developing and valuing all Friendships. I will challenge myself to be the best friend, husband, brother, son and business owner I can be.  I will challenge myself to improve my health this year. 2010 was a good year for getting in shape for me, but ended with a triple play that sidelined me; bulging disc, rotar cuff injury and the need for a cortizone injection just to walk. Yes, I overdid it, but then I let that be an excuse for 2011.  No more. Challenging myself is key this year.

    Those are my words; what about yours?  Do you focus on specific words for the year?

    You can connect with me through the platform of your choice:  Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or Twitter.

     

    Sheriff Buford T. Justice & Goals

    Recently during a cold and rainy Saturday afternoon while working, I turned the T.V. on for background noise.  Since I was tired of my music library, my thought process was that the T.V could provide something to tune out while I worked.  See mom, I still do that; it worked in high school and it works now! Well, for the most part; read on to see what I mean.

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    After a couple of minutes of bouncing around on various channels, I settled on Smokey & The Bandit on one of the movie channels.  Talk about a classic movie!  Well, classic for my generation, not classic like Gone With The Wind or something of that nature.  Other than watching a few scenes, I mostly worked while reciting  famous lines from memory; most of them compliments of Jackie Gleason’s character, Sheriff Buford T. Justice.  Also laughed at myself for remembering a lot of the lines.

    Watching and listening to the movie sparked thoughts of goals and how Sheriff Justice was a master at goal setting and goal pursuit, even if he never reached his goal; catching Smokey.

    Think about it:

    • He had one single goal in mind; catching and arresting Smokey.
    • Nothing kept him from pursuing his goal; not being out of his legal jurisdiction (comfort zone); not dealing with unexpected circumstances like losing the top of his car (roadblocks), nor having his not so smart son with him (dealing with others).
    • He never lost focus of his goal, catching Smokey; not matter what happened along the way or what roadblocks he encountered.

    How may times do we stop pursuing a goal because we are out of our comfort zone, we have roadblocks or we struggle with others?

    Those are my thoughts on how a hilarious movie character reminded us that we need to keep pursuing goals, no matter what.  Your thoughts?

    Want to connect with me?  That is easy, I am always on!  You can Friend me on Facebook, Follow me on Twitter, add me to your Circles on Google+ and connect with me on LinkedIn.

    Build Your Alliance: Online & Offline

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    I believe most of us have confidence and faith in our own abilities.  We believe we can accomplish quite a bit on our own, and traditionally, we don’t like to ask for help.  In life, as well as in the business world; we need to get past this outdated way of thinking and build an alliance. This alliance can and should consist of both online connections and offline, or real life connections.

    More simply stated, we cannot do it alone.  It takes the help and support of others to reach our goals in business, in life, in everything we strive to accomplish.  I admit that I need help in certain areas and thankfully I am part incredible alliances that I have built over the years.My network is strong and it is growing each day; but make no mistake, it takes time, energy and effort to build and maintain these alliances.  How do you build an alliance?  Here are some simple steps:

    Online

    • Consistently Connect – the proliferation of social media profiles and platforms have made this easier than ever.  Whether your preference is Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or others, you must consistently connect and provide valuable content for your alliance members.
    • Promote Others – spend considerable time online promoting others in your alliance or network.  Open up your network to the people that you trust, respect and recommend.  We all have different alliances & networks and promoting others to your alliance is beneficial to all.
    • Respect Your Alliance –  if your alliance doesn’t want to promote someone you believe in, respect their wishes.  If they do not want to take part in a project you are involved with, it’s okay. It just  may not be for them or their network; so respect your alliance and do not take advantage of them!

    Offline

    • Meet Regularly –  this can be accomplished by meeting for coffee, lunch or a business meeting at their place of business.  This will enable you to see their environment and what is important to them. For valuable members of your alliance, scheduled regular meetings;  do not leave this to chance!
    • Make Connections – much like promoting others, you can work to make connections for your alliance members.  Who do they need to meet? What itch of theirs can you scratch by making introductions?
    • Never Assume – just as your time is valuable, so is the time for your alliance members.  Never assume that they have time to just chat by stopping by their office.  Respect their time and what they do and never assume!

    Notice how the tips are similar for both online and offline?  That’s because they apply to any type of relationship, alliance or professional partnership.  In building an alliance of people that will help you, you must FIRST help them. If you approach building an alliance by seeing who you can help; you will have one of the strongest alliances possible.Those are my thoughts; what say you?