As LinkedIn goes global, it has become an increasingly powerful platform for finding leads, delivering targeted advertising, making connections, and publishing and finding valuable content. It has become very popular around the world, reaching more than 400 million people in 200+ countries and territories, in 24 languages. With more than 100 people now working for the LinkedIn Growth team, even more growth is on the horizon.
Out of these millions of users, a small group of people have become LinkedIn “super connectors” with tens of thousands of 1st degree connections. Sanjoy Kumar Malik is one such super connector. Sanjoy was born in Howrah, West Bengal, India and completed his BE in Computer Science & Technology at the Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST), Shibpur. He currently works at MagikMinds in Hyderabad as principal consultant. Sanjoy has been a LinkedIn member since December 2009 and now has more than 130,000 connections with people all around the world!
We reached out to Sanjoy to learn some of his networking success secrets, to gain his perspective on how LinkedIn is changing the nature of global B2B selling, and to find out what he sees as the key trends for LinkedIn success moving forward.
Q1). What originally inspired you to become a LinkedIn super connector?
Around mid-2009, I felt like I was not focusing on building my personal brand. Honestly speaking, I wanted to position myself in unique way. But, how? I started researching various solutions for building my personal brand and increasing my professional visibility, and even planned to start a couple of blogs. But realistically, I did not have enough time to spend on this approach. What I really wanted was one platform through which I could increase my professional visibility through reaching people almost every day. It took around five months to choose that platform and eventually in December 2009, I chose LinkedIn. So, that was the beginning, but I didn’t really know what I was getting into! Now I am one of the top most connected on LinkedIn. I am absolutely loving it.
Q2). Clearly there are tremendous business opportunities on the LinkedIn platform. What are your three top growth secrets for growing your network and conducting global business on LinkedIn?
1). Leverage Existing LinkedIn Tools
This may not really be a secret, but first of all be sure to really take advantage and optimize the many existing LinkedIn features, such as creating your LinkedIn company page. This helps to position and brand your services in the marketplace, and provides a platform for building relationship with prospects or followers through meaningful posts. Interestingly, 10 AM and 2 PM seem to be the best time for publishing posts in terms of generating shares.
Organizations and sales professionals should also consider investing in advanced features such as the LinkedIn Sales navigator program which provides the ability to export contacts directly to SalesForce and mine the social data of your contacts for identifying additional points of commonality and connection.
2). Target Your Own Team
Every employee, but especially marketing and sales professionals in your organization should take LinkedIn networking seriously. Collective LinkedIn networking efforts of the marketing and sales team will help generating more brand awareness which eventually translates into greater lead flow. Schedule a standing meeting with the business development and marketing teams to discuss ways you can share LinkedIn posts, leads, and insights.
3). Groups Are Great!
LinkedIn Groups are an incredibly active platform on which to build and engage with a like-minded set of colleagues. In fact, there are now more than 2 million LinkedIn groups, and users generate thousands of comments every day. If you don’t have the time to actually launch a group, be sure to become an active participant in groups that are aligned to your field!
Q3). What has been the most surprising aspect of having such extensive LinkedIn connections? In general, what positive and serendipitous things have happened now that you have all these connections?
First thing is that my visibility on LinkedIn has been increased tremendously. For example, I just checked my profile views and had 59,653 views over the last 90 days. Another important thing is that when your visibility (or number of connections) gets increased, you can expect more engagement around your posts. I have certainly found this to be the case. Perhaps the most important thing is that I approached top executives (Chairman, C-Level, VP, and Director) from reputed companies through LinkedIn invitations. The positive point is that many accepted my invitations from companies as diverse as GE, Ericsson, Microsoft, Google, General Motors, Thomas Reuters, Criteo, Schneider Electric, McKinsey, Gartner, and Deloitte Consulting. I’ve also made many valuable connections with marketers and content publishers such as yourself. Overall, I can say LinkedIn networking has been invaluable in establishing myself as an expert networker and social selling strategist who knows the value of connecting with people. I personally believe and follow the below quote from Adam Small, founder of the Strategic Business Network: “NETWORKING is the single most powerful marketing tactic to accelerate and sustain success for any individual or organization!”
Q4). As you connect with people in different countries, what are some of the similarities and differences you have observed?
Whenever I approach someone through LinkedIn, regardless of where they are from, I follow one simple rule: Keep it professional. Using this rule I have been networking with people in different countries since 2009. And, it is working like a charm. That does not mean I should ignore any cultural differences. Something (comment or joke) may be ok in my culture, but may not be ok in other culture. During engagement and building relationship I try my best to keep any cultural differences in mind. By chance, if I do [make] any cultural mistake, I try not to repeat the same cultural mistake again. For example, one of my connections from Trinidad and Tobago published one book on leadership. She personally communicated with me via LinkedIn message about her book trailer. It was really amazing.
Q5). Looking forward, how do you think LinkedIn will evolve in 2016 and beyond?
Obviously I don’t have any special connection with LinkedIn management, but from my experience over the last few years, I think they will continue to come up with more effective features around their existing Talent, Marketing and Sales Solutions products. They may also go for more acquisitions to further strengthen their core products. For example, they recently acquired Connectifier to help recruiters and hiring managers find the perfect talent fit. In the past, they went through a couple of important acquisitions like Rapportive, SlideShare, Pulse, Lynda, Fliptop, etc. I think this trend will continue moving forward. I also imagine they will continue to improve the overall user experience and interface.
Finally, this might be self-serving, but I hope LinkedIn will also come up with rewards and enhanced features for super connectors such as myself. For example, one feature would be the ability to accept invitations from others when one exceeds 30K 1st degree connections. Currently, I cannot accept invitations, for I have crossed the 30K 1st degree connections limit.
Thanks, Sanjoy! If you would like to connect with Sanjoy and join one of the largest personal networks on LinkedIn, please visit his profile @
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