What Percentage of LinkedIn Users are Social Super Connectors?

How many super connectors do you know on LinkedIn? Are you one of them?

What is a super connector?

Let’s start with the basics. A super connector is basically someone that is very well connected (no surprise here). The author Keith Ferrazzi uses the term in his book Never Eat Alone, here’s his definition:

“Super Connectors are people who maintain contact with thousands of people in many different worlds and know them well enough to give them a call. Restauranteurs, headhunters, lobbyists, fundraisers, public relations people, politicians, and journalists are the best super-connectors because it’s their job to know EVERYONE.”

I think we all know people like these, people whose name keeps popping up here and there in different contexts.

So who is a super connector on LinkedIn?

Some would say that anyone with 500+ connections is a super connector. I would probably say 1,000 makes you super at connecting. The poll below used 3,000 connections as the threshold into super connectivity.

If you feel like checking out some real life super connectors on LinkedIn, have a look at Neal Schaffer’s post listing 10 LinkedIn LIONs and Super Connectors.

But hang on, it’s not about the size…

Let me add the obligatory disclaimer here so I don’t get too many angry comments about quality vs. quality, engagement vs. broadcasting, farmers vs. hunters etc etc etc. This post is only about the numbers, what you do with your connections is another matter. The fact that someone has amassed thousands of connections does indicate that they have an ability to connect with other people (or they just trawl LinkedIn 24/7).

What percentage of LinkedIn users are super connectors?

A recent LinkedIn poll conducted by Michael Field Pty Ltd has identified LinkedIn super connectors (with at least 3,ooo connections). They asked 1,006 LinkedIn members in April 2011 exactly how many connections they have.

The findings:

• 54% of respondents have less than 500 connections,
• 27% have between 500-999
• 12% have between 1,000-1,999
• 3% have between 2,000-2,999
• 4% have 3,000+ connections.

So only 4% or one LinkedIn user in 25 have more than 3,000 connections and can call themselves super connectors here. Most folks have less than 500 connections which makes perfect sense. The first 500 connections are the most difficult to get, from there LinkedIn tends to snowball in the user’s favor and before they know it they’ve hit 1k.

Where are you on this scale, how many connections do you have? Do you feel that the connections you have are enough for your networking efforts?

And if you feel like skilling up on LinkedIn, check out our LinkedIn workshops we run every month in central London.

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Jorgen Sundberg

Founder at Link Humans
After 7 years in tech recruiting, Jorgen now consults organisations on how to use social media for recruiting, sales and marketing.
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  • http://windmillnetworking.com/ nealschaffer

    Thanks for the shoutout and link Jorgen! A very interesting poll – but the problem, of course, is that super connectors or at least those that are very active on LinkedIn were more likely to either find/react to the poll or be found by the polling company.  Based on my own experiences and people I meet, I would say on average that 80% to 90% of people have less than 500 connections and less than 1% have over 3000 connections.  Just my 2 cents – what do you gentlemen think?

    • http://jorgensundberg.net Jorgen Sundberg

      Yes of course you have a good point. As with all surveys you have to question who the respondents are and what type of person actually likes to participate! The super connectors are probably over represented as you say. When I do trainings and talks I seldom come across people with more than 1,000 connections unless they are savvy recruiters of course! And now for the obvious question Neal, how super connected are you on LinkedIn?

      • http://windmillnetworking.com/ nealschaffer

        Do you really want me to reply to that Jorgen? Let’s just say I have a few thousand connections… ;-) How about you?

        • http://jorgensundberg.net Jorgen Sundberg

          Same here, 7 years of recruitment does that to ones’s LinkedIn network… It’s now come in very handy for business development :-)

  • Susan Schild

    Nice to see you out here Neal.  My question is what is the value in the 3000 connections.  It takes time to grow to 3000 anythings.  How are people cultivating 3000 network points into something meaningful that they can derive value from and of course find substantial value to give back?  

    • http://jorgensundberg.net Jorgen Sundberg

      Hi Susan, you can get lots of value out of 30 connections if you nurture and cultivate the network. I suppose you have a better reach when you reach 3000 connections as you can see their 2nd degree connections, the amplification effect on LinkedIn is key.

    • http://troydwhite.myopenid.com/ Troy D. White

      Susan, I have over 10,500 connections now (I’m not as modest as Neal and Jorgen :). I had to work to get the first 4,000, but after that, people find you.

      About the only work I do now is an automated Twaitter post to my Twitter account that invites connections; I’m always amazed that after posting, I’ll *immediately* receive 30-40 requests (the power of Twitter, I guess).

      I use my network, somewhat passively, for business development. Whenever I’m reaching out to a company, I always check LinkedIn first. Who do I know, directly or indirectly, at that company? I find I’m almost always connected to people with at least a 2nd degree, and at a minimum with a 3rd degree.

      I believe Jorgen is right, though, that it’s not the size of your network, but how well you cultivate it.

      • http://jorgensundberg.net Jorgen Sundberg

        Good work Troy, just checked and we are of course already connected :-) What does your Twitter invite say? I have an auto-DM saying “Hi there, happy to connect on LinkedIn as well [LI URL]” which seems to work fairly well.

  • http://interviewiq.com.au Karalyn Brown

    I have lots of LI connections, which I have grizzled about managing or celebrated having depending on how the stars are aligned that day. Today I am glad, because having an extensive network helps me promote my clients and connect my clients. I receive more shares on Linkedin, for blog posts now than I do on Twitter. I have to say though that I think based on my own survey of friends and family compared to the social network crew, that LI seems to have a small % of dedicated users, and many other people up there reluctantly, or randomly.

    • http://jorgensundberg.net Jorgen Sundberg

      Same here Karalyn, the LinkedIn network I built up in my recruiting days has been extremely useful for business development at Link Humans. And yes, LinkedIn is definitely the place to share any career related content, it’s how it all started and it will continue to be a large part of LInkedIn’s attraction I think.

  • http://il.linkedin.com/in/orenbarkai Oren

    Hi

    I pass the criteria of Super connected with 3300+ connections. Currently in Israel top 50 LI connections. It took me about 4.5 years of getting to 3000.
    I found out that people network because “they have to”. It is like making friends, the more you work it the better you become. I also preach to the non-convinced (with some success).

    One remark about value – it is there when you are super connected. You can bring leads (from Answers page), you can help your network in BizDev or work as a free career counselor (I do it). The amount of favours you can give is proportonal to your network. If you think in a “Pay it forward” kind of way, you will get a lot from your network.

    Oren

    • http://jorgensundberg.net Jorgen Sundberg

      Thanks for the input @a9141a6d57571fbae57bc1f5c91f0897:disqus , nicely said about paying it forward – it’s what networking is all about!

  • http://qspike.com Mark Chambers

    I just had this forwarded to me from a friend and had to put in my two cents. I know you said this is about the numbers, not the Quality vs. Quantity, but the problem is with the initial definition:

    “Super Connectors are people who maintain contact with thousands of people in many different worlds and know them well enough to give them a call.”

    Your entire article regarding numbers is undermined by that very phrase. I know MANY people with over 500 connections that cannot pick up the phone with over half of them. I would argue that the percentage drops precipitously as the number of connections grow. When you say the first 500 are the most difficult, that is because after that it really IS a numbers game and at this point you really don’t care if you know them or not. I will point to the LION’s as a classic example. Connect, Connect, Connect … that is all that is important.
     
    Now I know there are many TRUE Super Connectors, but I would argue it is difficult to tell from within LinkedIn. I would also say that true Super Connectors will likely have a fair amount of recommendations.

    Striving to be a better Connector regardless of numbers,
    Mark

    • http://jorgensundberg.net Jorgen Sundberg

      Hi Mark

      Thanks for the comment and yes you are right, Keith Ferazzi’s quote is about people that can pick up the phone but he wasn’t referring to LinkedIn. 

      A ‘LinkedIn Super Connector’ is probably not clearly defined but numbers is one way of measuring how well connected a user is and this is what the survey looked at.

      Agree with you that it’s of course better to have a small strong network that you can really make use of instead of lots of random connections you never speak to. Ideally you’d have both quality and quantity in a network but this makes it very difficult to manage professionally I would think.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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