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What is the difference between follow and connect on LinkedIn

Have you seen some LinkedIn accounts with follow instead of connect on their Introductory card?

What does this mean and which should you have on your profile?

How to Connect with someone on LinkedIn

The default setting on LinkedIn profiles is to show the ‘Connect’ button. It appears to the right of your profile photo.

When you connect with someone on LinkedIn, you are automatically following their content.

Click on the Connect button

Click on Add a note to explain why you want to connect (and to start a conversation with your new contact)

How to follow someone on LinkedIn

When you ‘follow’ someone on LinkedIn, you will see posts from that person in your newsfeed, but they will not see yours. When you follow someone but don’t connect, they are not following your activity on LinkedIn.

In the image below, the user has set her personal profile preference to ‘Follow’ first.

When you visit this profile, the automatic step would be to click on the Follow button.

This means that you will see the content from this user in your newsfeed, but they will not see the content that you post.

Note – You can still invite the person to connect with you by clicking on the ‘More…’ button (and you can choose to follow someone rather than connect with them using the same menu).

Why do you choose Follow first rather than Connect?

According to LinkedIn, your network should consist of people you already know. The follow option is to follow posts and articles from someone you want to hear from, but you don’t know.

For example, the above profile is the News Editor for LinkedIn News. So you may want to follow her articles on LinkedIn news.

Having a smaller network of people you want to engage with on LinkedIn usually provides a better experience than connecting with lots of people you don’t know.

How to build a powerful network on LinkedIn

One reason to choose to follow someone rather than connect, is if they are a thought leader within your industry and you want to keep on top of what is happening in the industry.

Examples of people you may want to follow – speakers, podcasters, authors, politicians.

The key differences between Followers and Connections

  • When you are connected, you can see each others posts in your feed
  • Followers can see your posts in their newsfeed. If you want to see one of your followers posts, you can follow them.
  • You can only send messages to people you are connected to unless you have LinkedIn Premium*
  • You can only endorse your connections for their skills
  • You can only recommend (or request a recommendation from) a connection, not someone you follow

*With LinkedIn Premium, you can send up to 15 ‘InMails’ per month to people who are not your connections.

How to change your call to action to Follow First

To change your own profile to ‘follow first’, go to the Settings and Privacy option on your ‘Me’ drop down menu.

Click on the Visibility tab on the left hand menu

Click on the Followers option at the bottom of the menu and select ‘change’

Choose the ‘Make Follow Primary’ to change

How to view your followers

To view who is following you, go to the My Network button on your profile

Click on ‘People I follow’

To see who is following you, click on the Followers option at the top

You can choose to follow the people who are following you.

Conclusion

If you wish to build a network of people to engage with on LinkedIn, then it is probably a good idea to keep your profile as ‘connect’ first.

If you wish to build a following of people who want to learn from you and read your content, then set your profile to Follow first.

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