six degrees of seperation

Six Degrees of Separation: LinkedIn Style

by Jackie Davis

Have you heard of the game Six Degrees of Separation? It’s a vintage parlor game that expounds on the idea that all people are six, or fewer, social connections away from knowing each other. This may seem like a strange concept, but when you apply it to today’s connected world, it makes a lot of sense.

Take LinkedIn for instance. Every new person that appears on your timeline is labeled with a degree of separation and it’s more likely that you’ll accept their request or send one yourself if they are connected to you through common people. Mark Amtower, a leading government marketing expert and host of Amtower Off Center on Federal News Radio, explored how marketers can use these degrees of separation to connect and start conversations in a recent blog.

“In the business world, shortening the distance between you and a prospect is huge, and if you can successfully leverage that by actually connecting with the prospect, you are closer to the sale. LinkedIn has provided the ecosystem to accomplish this,” said Amtower.

In the Federal government market where he focuses, relationships are the key to connection. Simply reaching out to a target won’t do much, but with some recognition backed by meaningful, shared LinkedIn connections, people are much easier to engage.

“When I am reaching out to connect with nearly anyone associated with government contracting, I am dealing with those a mere two or maybe three degrees away from me,” explained Amtower. “If they are a 2nd degree from me and I reach out, their first reaction may be to see who we share as connections. If they see people they know and trust, my credibility goes up and the likelihood of connecting is much higher.”

This philosophy can be replicated in any market by marketers at any level. “If you connect with key players in your market, especially those you wish to do business with, you will find that they really are not that far away from anyone you need to reach,” said Amtower.