Are you familiar with the term LION on LinkedIn? Or perhaps LinkedIn Open Networker?
Chances are you’ve seen the term LION in the headline of someone sending you a LinkedIn connection request. Maybe you have even wondered if you should become a LinkedIn Open Networker to grow your network more quickly?
These are questions that people frequently ask me, and throughout this article, I will share with you what I tell them.
First, let’s start with…
What is a LinkedIn Open Networker (LION)?
A LION is defined as a LinkedIn Open Networker. Essentially, a LION is someone who will accept a connection request from everyone and anyone who sends them one.
Typically, There are Three Types of People Using LinkedIn
The first type of LinkedIn users is LIONs, mainly those people who will connect with anyone who sends them a connection request.
The second type of LinkedIn users are people who will ONLY accept connection requests from the people they actually know – offline.
The third type of LinkedIn users are the people that fall somewhere in between these two extremes. I personally lean towards the middle and would recommend this for anyone who wants to use LinkedIn to generate more leads and sales for their business.
Benefits of Having a Large LinkedIn Network
There are some significant benefits to having a large LinkedIn network.
It wasn’t long after I started using LinkedIn, I realized the importance of growing my network. The reason this is so important?
The only way that you can show up in the LinkedIn search results is if you are a 1st, 2nd or 3rd-degree connection of the person that is 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.
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 that you share a group with. If your network is small, this will severely restrict your ability to find your ideal clients using LinkedIn.
That is why it is imperative to growing 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 be posting personal information on it that you feel the need to protect.
Quality vs. Quantity of Your LinkedIn Network
Now having said that, quality is actually far more important than the quantity of your network and you do need to be selective.
I am incredibly selective now when choosing who I will connect with, 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 Networker and here’s why:
Someone who declares themselves as a LION on LinkedIn is saying that they will connect with everyone and I don’t want to connect with someone who has such 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 who’s network is mainly filled with low-quality connections, many of which can be spammers and fake LinkedIn accounts.
There are shady characters on LinkedIn, just like on any other social media platform. You will find many spam and fake accounts on LinkedIn, and personally, I don’t want to be connected to this.
How to Spot a LinkedIn LION (LinkedIn Open Networker)
LIONs are easy to identify, as they will often display this in their profile, in some places including their name field, headline and summary section.
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 it to your headline may turn off quality connections as well as waste valuable space where you could create a LinkedIn headline that speaks directly to your ideal clients.
You will also find many LinkedIn Open Networkers adding it to their Summary sections. This provides no value to the viewers of your profile, and 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 Important Tips to Ensure Your Connection Requests Are Accepted
By using these three tips when sending connection requests on LinkedIn, you will significantly increase the likelihood of your invitation being accepted. You will also be more likely to avoid people selecting the “I don’t know this person” option, which can land you in LinkedIn jail.
- Have a complete and professional LinkedIn profile.
- Avoid adding the term LION or LinkedIn Open Networker in your profile.
- Always send a personalized connection request.
When personalizing your connection request, always include why you want to connect.
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 of 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 make you lose credibility.
Think about it from their perspective. If you are credible and professional, why would you want to connect anyone and everyone, fake and spam accounts included?
Another benefit of building a high-quality network is that you also make use of Scarcity, one of the six elements of persuasion, shared by Dr. Robert Cialdini from his proven system, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. People like the idea of being part of your hand-picked, exclusive network, rather than part of a network belonging to someone who will connect with anyone.
Does the term LinkedIn Open Networker affect your decision when deciding whether or not you will connect with someone on LinkedIn? Let us know in the comments below.
Want to learn more about how and who to connect with on LinkedIn and how to generate more business? I share these and many more ideas on LinkedIn and Social Selling in my latest book LinkedIn Unlocked. If having a proven lead generation system is a priority for you, I’d love for you to pick up a copy.