There’s some talk on LinkedIn about whether you should be a “LION.” We think this is a good idea for consultants.
“LION” means “LinkedIn Open Networker,” (here’s a little history on the idea) and it basically means you try to connect with as many people as possible, until your profile shows that you have “500+ connections.”
While many people (and LinkedIn itself) advise you should only connect with people you know, “LIONs” connect with everyone they can, whether or not they have an existing business relationship, and regardless of whether they even know the person.
Here’s a pretty good overview of things to look out for if you try to become a LION yourself, or connect with other LIONs. One takeaway is, people on LinkedIn have the option of responding to your invitation by pressing a button that says, “I don’t know this person.” If more than five people flag you in this way, you may face restrictions to your account — so only connect with people whose networks seem open. You can make an educated guess by looking at the diversity of people they are connected to. Generally, the larger and more diverse the group, the more likely it is that this person is a LION and will welcome your invitation for a connection.
So why should you do it? You might have 700 Facebook friends and sometimes remark, “I can’t possibly be “friends” with 700 people. This is pointless.” In your social life that might be the case.
But LinkedIn is a different animal (that’s the only LION pun in this whole post, so cut me some slack).
When you have hundreds of connections on LinkedIn, your profile comes up more frequently in searches. More people see see you. You now have thousands, or tens of thousands, second- or third-degree connections. It’s also not a bad idea for consultants to be connectors. One way to be a more effective connector is to have a bigger network. In short, taking a LION approach to LinkedIn increases the odds of the right people finding you.
And isn’t that the point of inbound marketing?