Are you familiar with the term LinkedIn Open Networker, or LION?
Chances are you’ve seen the term LION in the headline of someone sending you a LinkedIn connection request. You may have even wondered if you should become a LinkedIn Open Networker to grow your network more quickly.
People frequently ask me questions about the value of LION. I share my answers in this article.
First, let’s start with answering this question:
What is a LinkedIn Open Networker (LION)?
LION stands for LinkedIn Open Networker – a person who will accept a connection request from anyone who sends them one.
Typically, there are three types of people using LinkedIn:
The first type is LIONs – LinkedIn users who will connect with anyone who sends them a connection request.
The second type is LinkedIn users who will accept connection requests ONLY from the people they actually know offline.
The third type is LinkedIn users who fall somewhere in-between these two extremes.
I lean towards the middle and recommend this approach to anyone who wants to use LinkedIn to generate more leads and sales for their business.
Benefits of having a large LinkedIn network
Not long after I started using LinkedIn, I realized the importance of growing my network.
Why is it important to have a large network?
The only way you can show up in the LinkedIn search results is if you are a 1st-, 2nd– or 3rd-degree connection of the person searching or if you belong to the same group.
Unless those criteria are met, you will not show up in the search results of someone looking for what you offer.
Let me explain this a little further. Let’s say someone is using LinkedIn’s Advanced Search to find a person or business that does what you do. This means that if you are not their 1st-, 2nd– or 3rd-degree connection or share a LinkedIn group in common, you won’t show up in their search results. And that is a lost opportunity for you to acquire a prospect.
The same applies if YOU are looking to connect with YOUR ideal clients on LinkedIn.
You will only find people who are your 1st-, 2nd– or 3rd-degree connections or people with whom you share a group. A small network will severely restrict your ability to find your ideal clients on LinkedIn.
That is why it is imperative to grow an extensive, high-quality network if you are using LinkedIn as a lead generation or social selling tool.
It’s important to understand that you do not need to “guard” your network as LinkedIn is not a personal social network like Facebook, and you shouldn’t post personal information on it that you feel the need to protect.
Quality vs. quantity of your LinkedIn network
Although having a large network is important, having a quality network is far more important. That means you do need to be selective about your connections.
Now, I am incredibly selective when choosing with whom I will connect compared to when I first started using LinkedIn. Typically, I won’t connect with most people who don’t send me a PERSONALIZED connection request, explaining why they want to connect with me.
I also don’t like connecting with LinkedIn Open Networkers. Here’s why:
A LION on LinkedIn is willing to connect with everyone, and I don’t want to connect with someone who has a low-quality network. I like to connect with people who have put time and effort into making sure they are connecting with the right people.
There is NO BENEFIT to connecting with someone whose network is filled with low-quality connections, many of which can be spam or fake LinkedIn accounts.
There are some shady characters on LinkedIn, just like on any other social media platform. You will find many spam and fake accounts on LinkedIn, and I don’t want to be connected to them.
How to spot a LinkedIn LION (LinkedIn Open Networker)
LIONs are easy to identify. They will often display the title somewhere in their profiles, including their name fields, headlines and about sections.
It is important to note that adding LION to your name field is actually breaking LinkedIn’s User Agreement as nothing should be in that field except your name.
Adding LION to your headline may turn off quality connections as well as waste valuable space that could be used to create a LinkedIn headline that speaks directly to your ideal clients.
Many LinkedIn Open Networkers add the title to their about sections. This provides no value to the viewers of their profiles.
If you do that, you are telling everyone who lands on your profile that you will connect with anyone, including spammers, who might scrape their information from your connection list.
Three LinkedIn tips to ensure your connection requests are accepted
To significantly increase the likelihood of your LinkedIn connection requests being accepted, follow the three tips below. You will also be more likely to avoid people selecting the “I don’t know this person” option when they decline your request, which can land you in LinkedIn jail.
- Have a complete and professional LinkedIn profile.
- Avoid using the terms LION or LinkedIn Open Networker in your profile.
- Always send a personalized connection request, and include your reasons for connecting.
Learn more about why I don’t connect with LIONs on LinkedIn in this short video.
Being a LinkedIn LION can hurt your credibility & network
LinkedIn is a platform for professionals, business owners, service providers and executives.
When reaching out to these people on LinkedIn, you must appear both professional and credible. Adding LION to your profile will not do that for you. In fact, it could damage your credibility.
Think about it from your potential connection’s perspective. If you are credible and professional, why would you want to connect with anyone and everyone, fake and spam accounts included?
Another benefit of building a high-quality network is you make use of scarcity – one of the six elements of persuasion described in Dr. Robert Cialdini’s proven system, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. People like being part of a hand-picked, exclusive network rather than a network anyone can join.
Does the term LinkedIn Open Networker affect your decision to connect with that person on LinkedIn? Let me know in the comments below!