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Is Being A LION Worth It? The Pros and Cons of LinkedIn Open Network

With the popularity of LinkedIn on the rise, it is important to know how you want to brand yourself and your business through your network. Do you want to connect with everybody who asks to be a part of your network? Do you want to limit it to people you personally know or may help further your growth as a business person? Those who choose to connect with everyone are considered LinkedIn Open Networkers, or LIONs. While there are some benefits to becoming a LION, including having a large network, the drawbacks of being a LION may outweigh the benefits.

When a person is considering becoming a LION, they do so because they want to have a large network. By having a large network, LIONs can connect with a wide range of people and market themselves or their business to more potential clients. The more connections a person has, the higher they will show up on a search list that pertains to their industry. This helps to boost their network. LIONs believe the best way to market themselves and their companies is by simply having a large network. However, just because a person may have a lot of connections does not mean that these connections will be beneficial.

Becoming a LION increases the amount of spam received on multiple platforms. If you have 30,000 connections on LinkedIn, then 30,000 people have access to your work or personal email address. According to LifeWire, the average American office worker receives 121 emails per day, with almost 50 percent of those emails being spam. Why increase unwanted spam in your mailbox and miss beneficial emails that could spark growth for your company? This spam could potentially spread to your LinkedIn profile; causing spam-filled inbox messages and producing unwanted comments on posts that you share. You want your network to be beneficial, effective and engaging, which simply will not happen if you are allowing everyone to be a part of your network.

LinkedIn was created to allow you to connect with individuals within your industry and those industries you may work with, who are located relatively close to you. For example, if you’re trying to sell high school textbooks, you would benefit more from connecting to teachers and principals than connecting to 30,000 fashion designers. The more people outside of your industry that you are connected to, the less likely you are to see beneficial opportunities. Your newsfeed will be full of irrelevant information.

People like to feel personally connected to you as well. If you have 30,000 connections, it’s impossible to create a meaningful relationship with all of them. However, if you have 300 connections, it’s much more manageable. For example, LinkedIn sends out notifications for birthdays, promotions and other accomplishments. Taking the time to send them a short message to congratulate them goes a long way. The next time that teacher is looking for a new math textbook, they may remember you, simply because you took the time out of your day to wish them a happy birthday.

Just because you have a large network on LinkedIn does not mean it is helping your personal or business’ growth. Take some time to consider why you want to become a LION; chances are it won’t prove to be as valuable as you originally thought it would.

This post courtesy of Digital Media Intern, Taylor Lanfear

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