I am a LION, hear me ROAR!
Your LinkedIn network is the most valuable part of LinkedIn and the key to truly leveraging the system. The problem is LinkedIn tells us to only connect with people you know and trust. Like a good little girl, I followed their directive for a very long time. But then I started to notice that in LinkedIn search results, certain profiles ranked higher than other profiles. These higher ranking profiles didn't even match the search criteria that well. In fact, the higher ranking profile wasn't even as closely connected to the searcher as other lower ranking profiles. Why were these higher ranking profiles getting SPECIAL treatment and placement?
As I researched this phenomenon, I noticed that what differentiated the higher ranking profiles from the other lower ranking profiles was that the higher ranking profiles almost always had an exceedingly large amount of connections. When I say exceedingly large, I don't mean 500. I don't even mean 1,000. I am talking THOUSANDS plural! At that moment I changed my strategy. If I wanted to rank higher and get found, I needed a much larger network than only those people I know and trust. It was at that moment I decided to become a LION.
What is a LinkedIn LION?
LION stands for LinkedIn Open Networker.
A LION is a LinkedIn user who understands the power of having a large LinkedIn Network. LIONs will connect with almost anyone on LinkedIn regardless of whether they know, trust, or even respect the person. An easy way to spot a LION (although it is not foolproof) is to see how many connections they have. If at the top of their LinkedIn profile it says 500+ Connections, odds are the person is a LION.
Once I became a LION and my LinkedIn network grew, the views of my profile and the amount of times my profile appeared in searches SKYROCKETED. Since there were so many people in my LinkedIn network, more people saw my status updates and received my messages. Opportunities rushed at me and my business GREW!
Why Should I Become a LinkedIn LION?
Here's a bunch of reasons why you might consider becoming a LION:
- If you plan on using LinkedIn to grow your business, whether locally or globally, I highly recommend becoming a LinkedIn Open Networker.
- If you plan on using LinkedIn status updates to promote yourself, I highly recommend becoming a LinkedIn Open Networker.
- If you plan on using LinkedIn to FIND people/prospects/candidates, I highly recommend becoming a LinkedIn Open Networker.
- If you want to get FOUND on LinkedIn for either job or business opportunities, I highly recommend becoming a LinkedIn Open Networker.
Why is There Even a TERM for This?
Remember how I told you that LinkedIn wants us to only connect with people we know and trust? Well, they MEAN IT.
Check out Section 11 of LinkedIn's User Agreement.
LinkedIn User DOs & DON’Ts
“As a condition to access LinkedIn, you agree to this User Agreement and to strictly observe the following DOs and DON’Ts:
Don’t – Invite people with whom you have no prior relationship to join your network.”
How does LinkedIn police this? When you send out a LinkedIn invitation, the recipient has a few options:
- They can accept your request
- They can ignore your request
- They can report your request as SPAM
By accepting your request they are accepting you into their LinkedIn network. When this happens everything is hunky dory.
By choosing IGNORE, the recipient archives your request. If the recipient does nothing more at this point, everything remains hunky dory. However, two more options will appear:
THIS IS WHERE PEOPLE GET IN TROUBLE!
By choosing I Don't Know or Report as Spam, the recipient of your invite is citing you as an ABUSIVE LinkedIn user! If you get 5 invites marked as IDK (IDK stands for I don't know), your LinkedIn account will be set to "restricted." Once restricted, you must enter an E-Mail address each time you try adding new people to your network. This is a major inconvenience to say the least.
So instead of aiming low and wide and inviting the world, YOU HAVE TO MAKE SURE YOU ARE ONLY INVITING PEOPLE WHO WILL NOT CLICK IDK OR REPORT AS SPAM. By connecting with people who are LIONs, you can rest assured they will NOT report you as SPAM or click IDK. Usually. There are jerks in this world but more often than not, by connecting with LIONS, you are safe from the dreaded IDK/SPAM label.
If you take anything away from this paragraph, I hope it is that YOU MUST BE CAREFUL on your quest to expand your LinkedIn network.
3 Easy Ways to Become a LinkedIn Open Networker / LION
Okay, okay! You get it! You see the benefits. World domination is at hand. Now it's time to TRANSFORM yourself into a LION! Here are 3 EASY steps to help you down the exalted path of LION-ness!
#1: Brand Yourself
You need to let other LinkedIn users know you are open and willing to connect. The way to do this is to place the words LinkedIn Open Networker and LION throughout your profile. Here are the steps to do it:
1. At the bottom of your profile in the Contact Preferences Section, let people know you are a LION. Here's some wording you can use:
I am a LinkedIn Open Networker :: LION. Please connect with me using my email address: HelloDonna@LinkedIn-Makeover.com
2. State it again in your LinkedIn Summary! Here's some wording you can use:
I believe in the power of networking, that's why I am a LinkedIn Open Networker (LION). Please feel free to connect with me using my email address: HelloDonna@LinkedIn-Makeover.com
3. State your LION status in your Headline! Here's mine:
Social Media ★ Web Design ★ Public Speaker ★ Author ★ LION ★ Writer of POWERFUL LinkedIn Profiles ► Read My Profile!
4. And if you are really GUNG HO, put it in your Name field. Add the word LION or simply your EMAIL ADDRESS to your last name.
John Smith LION firstname.lastname@example.org
# 2: Join LION / OPEN NETWORKER Groups within LinkedIn
There are Groups on LinkedIn dedicated to being an Open Networker. By simply joining these LinkedIn Groups you are letting other Group members know you are willing to network and connect openly.
- Join the top LION Groups. They are:
- TopLinked.com (Open Networkers)
- LION500.com (Open Networkers)
- InvitesWelcome.com (Open Networking)
- LION™ Worn with Pride! [Choose wisely ... ] < BEWARE OF COUNTERFEITS
- For further information, read my article all about the importance of joining LinkedIn Groups
#3 Use a LinkedIn Open Networker Directory Service
Believe it or not, there are directories out there for Open Networkers. Two of the most popular are TopLinked and Invites Welcome. Both of these sites allow you to download the directory for FREE! You can then use LinkedIn's bulk upload tool to import the lists.
How can you get YOUR name on this amazing list? You have to PAY to get on it. Yes, you pay money to get LinkedIn invitations. Very sweet, huh? And the really awesome part of this is that you do not need to accept everyone. Just accept those LinkedIn invitations that you like and ARCHIVE any that look hinky. Remember, it's okay to archive invitations... it's NOT okay to IDK or Report as SPAM.
Costs to Join Open Networker Directories
Here's some good news! I recently signed up for both programs and I plan on blogging about my experiences. So stay tuned to learn more!
There are many other ways to expand your LinkedIn network. But that's for another blog entry! Right now there are LinkedIn profiles that need saving and I must be off!