Do you want people to follow you or connect with you on LinkedIn?

It is becoming more common to exchange the ‘Connect’ button on your profile to a ‘Follow’ button.

But which one is right for you?

Before you can answer this question you might want to know what the difference is.

A follower can see your posts and articles without connecting with you. They will get alerts when you post and your content will show up in their newsfeed. They can follow you without your agreement.

A connection is someone who has requested to connect with you and you have accepted. Or vice versa. You see each other’s posts and get notified of updates and anniversaries etc. And the big difference is that you can message each other. This is very important to me for nurturing relationships and finding new clients. When someone connects with you they automatically become a follower too.

LinkedIn prioritises showing your content to your 1st Connections and Followers.

As a Linkedin member you have the option to use a Connect button or a Follow button on your profile. You can change this in your settings.

This is an example of a profile with a ‘Follow’ button.

This is an example of a profile with a ‘Connect’ button.

When does it make sense to use the Follow button?

It can save you time

If one of your main goals or strategies is to become an influencer on LinkedIn that will mean putting a lot of effort into your own content and engaging on other people’s content. Doing this increases your visibility and will generate a lot of connection requests from people who want to see more of your content. Then you have to wade through each connection request to decide if you want to connect.

Having the Follow button means zero effort on your behalf. They follow you, read and, hopefully, engage on your content. Note: Your Visibility settings need to be set to ‘Everyone on LinkedIn’ for people to be able to follow you.

LinkedIn has limits of number of invitation you can send

Linkedin has recently introduced a limit of 100 invitations a week to try to stop the level of spam.

It can give you flexibility to grow your 1st connection network as you wish

If you are planning to build your visibility fast then you are likely to reach the maximum of 30,000 1st connections quite quickly. That gives you no room to add people to your network who you really want to connect with over the following years.

In this case it would make sense to exchange the Connect button for the Follow button at some point. That point is NOT when you have only a few hundred or thousand connections.

My position on this is that I would not consider switching to Follow until I had at least 10,000 1st connections. But I have no big goal to become an influencer. I want a high quality network. I purge regularly to keep my network in good shape.

It can increase the number of people who see your content

Assuming that people have followed you because they want to follow your content, potentially your views will increase and, hopefully, so will the engagement.

A downside of the Follow button….

There is the potential to miss opportunities. If people want to message you and they do not realise how to connect with you then it is likely that they will move off of your profile onto someone else’s.

If they are interested in doing business with you it would be more tricky as you are not connected to each other. They would have to send an InMail. Or know that the Connect link is hidden in the drop down menu under ‘More’ on your profile.

Having a huge following is prestigious and impressive. But a large following does not necessarily bring you any more traction on your content. I have seen people with 1,000 connections get consistently fantastic engagement on their content and people with huge numbers of followers and connections get very little.

You have little control over the quality of your following.
Followers see less of your content than your connections.

Should you use the Connect button instead of Follow?

We are all on LinkedIn for TWO WAY communication. Or at least I hope so.

When someone asks to connect with you and you accept, it gives you the opportunity to start a relationship and explore possibilities.

By connecting and starting conversations I have found:-

people I want to employ
people I can do business with
useful contacts for my clients
new clients
people who I can connect with other people
opportunities to speak at events
podcast guest opportunities
How many of those would I have missed if I had a Follow button instead of a Connect button?

The Connect button enriches my LinkedIn experience.

What message does it give to people who are interested in you if you discourage them from connecting? I personally feel a little put off by a Follow button! However, it does stop and make you think about the action and you spend a few seconds considering what you want to do!

Two Quick Tips

As all of our Connections become Followers automatically, you may find that there is some content in your newsfeed that you would rather not see. If you want to stop seeing someone’s content in your feed, simply go to their profile and click on the ‘More’ button under their profile banner and the drop down will give you the option to unfollow.

On a regular basis, delete outstanding connection requests that you have sent. LinkedIn has a limit of 1000 outstanding. If you go past that your account will be flagged.

A few guidelines to ensure you have a quality network on LinkedIn

Only connect with people who match your criteria for your network. Choose these people strategically.

Design a connection strategy for yourself.

I suggest a mix of :

Potential clients
Potential partners/collaborators
Media – mainstream media, podcast hosts, bloggers, summit and event organisers
Peer group
Set yourself a target number of people to approach each week.

And give your network a spring clean.

Read my article on purging your connections HERE.

What do you use – a Connect or Follow button – and why?

What effect did making the switch have on the number of your connections and followers?

Want to know exactly how to use LinkedIn to gain a consistent stream of new clients?

Book a call with me here,