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LinkedIn, an ever-evolving professional network, provides you with a choice to display either a ‘Follow’ or ‘Connect’ button on your profile. This option might seem insignificant, but it significantly impacts how you interact with your connections and followers on this platform.
Understanding LinkedIn’s ‘Follow’ and ‘Connect’ Buttons
Before we delve into the nitty-gritty, it is essential to understand the distinction between ‘Follow’ and ‘Connect’ on LinkedIn.
The ‘Follow’ Button
The LinkedIn ‘Follow’ button lets users receive updates and view content from a particular profile without establishing a connection. When you follow someone:
- You can see their posts and articles in your newsfeed.
- You don’t need their agreement to follow them.
- You can’t send direct messages to them unless you utilise InMail (a premium product).
- You don’t have control over the number of followers you accrue.
The ‘Connect’ Button
On the other hand, the ‘Connect’ button initiates a two-way interaction that requires an invitation from one user and acceptance from the other. When you connect with someone:
- You can view each other’s posts in the newsfeed.
- Both parties get notified of updates, anniversaries, and more.
- You can send direct messages to each other on LinkedIn.
- When you connect with someone, they automatically become a follower.
The ‘Connect’ button is ideal for nurturing relationships and generating new clients or opportunities.
Deciding Between ‘Follow’ and ‘Connect’
The choice between ‘Follow’ and ‘Connect’ boils down to your objectives on LinkedIn. Here’s a detailed comparison to help you make an informed decision.
Benefits of the ‘Follow’ Button
- Time-efficient: If your primary goal is to position yourself as an expert on LinkedIn, the ‘Follow’ button can save you from sifting through connection requests. People can follow you and engage with your content effortlessly.
- Flexibility: LinkedIn limits the number of invitations you can send (and since November 2023, there is now a 10 per month limit on personalised invitation that holders of free accounts can send), encouraging users to utilise their paid services. By using the ‘Follow’ button, you can save your connection requests for individuals you want to interact with.
- Increased visibility: People who follow you will likely see your content in their feed, potentially increasing your views and engagement levels.
Drawbacks of the ‘Follow’ Button
- Missed opportunities: If individuals want to message you and they don’t know how to connect with you, they might move on to someone else’s profile.
- Limited control: A large following doesn’t necessarily guarantee more engagement on your content. You have little control over the quality of your following.
Benefits of the ‘Connect’ Button
- Direct communication: When you accept a connection request, it gives you the opportunity to initiate a relationship and explore possibilities.
- Enriched LinkedIn experience: By connecting and starting conversations, you can find potential clients, business partners, useful contacts, and more.
Drawbacks of the ‘Connect’ Button
- Time-consuming: You will need to review each connection request to decide if you want to connect, which can be time-consuming if you receive a large volume of requests.
The relationship between LinkedIn’s Creator Mode and the Connect button involves a shift in how users interact with professionals on the platform. Here’s a breakdown of this relationship:
LinkedIn Creator Mode: This is a feature designed for individuals who regularly create and share content on LinkedIn. When you turn on Creator Mode, your profile is optimised to help you grow your audience and increase engagement. Key features include:
- Highlighting your content (posts, articles, videos) prominently.
- Changing the ‘Connect’ button to ‘Follow’, making it the primary action for users visiting your profile.
- Allowing you to add hashtags to indicate topics you post about frequently.
- Connect Button: Traditionally, LinkedIn profiles have a ‘Connect’ button, which, when clicked, sends a connection request to the individual. This is typical for networking and building a list of contacts.
The Shift from Connect to Follow: When you enable Creator Mode, the primary call-to-action on your profile changes from ‘Connect’ to ‘Follow’. This shift reflects a different kind of relationship as explained above:
Follow: This option encourages users to follow your content without the need for mutual connection. It’s ideal for content creators who wish to reach a broader audience without expanding their network with direct connections.
Connect: This remains an option, but it’s less prominent. It’s more suited for establishing mutual, professional relationships where both parties can see each other’s full profiles and updates.
Impact on Networking and Visibility:
For content creators, this shift helps in building a larger, more diverse audience, focusing more on content reach and engagement rather than expanding a personal network.
For users who prefer to build a network through mutual connections, the traditional ‘Connect’ button is more relevant.
In summary, LinkedIn’s Creator Mode reorients a profile from a networking-centric approach (emphasised by the Connect button) to a content-centric approach (emphasised by the Follow button), catering to individuals who are focused on content creation and broad dissemination of their ideas and expertise.
Strategy for Following and Connecting
- Evaluate your followers: Check out the people who have followed you regularly to see if you would like to connect with them. If so, send a personalised connection request, thanking them for following you.
- Develop a clear connection strategy: Connect with potential clients, people you are interested in supporting you in your business, people who post content that you are interested in, influencers who interest you, and people with whom you might want to partner. Follow relevant #s so that you you see content from potential clients in your feed. If you’re stuck which #hashtags to follow – here is my latest hashtags guide which has real-time follower numbers, links and a guide to use! https://www.linktank.pro/encyclopedia-of-linkedin-hashtags-2023
3. Unfollow unwanted content: 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 to unfollow them.4. Set a target: Define a target number of people to approach weekly.
Ultimately, you should connect with people you wish to have a conversation and relationship with, and follow people who write interesting content.
Your Next Steps
Once you’ve decided whether to set ‘Connect’ or ‘Follow’ as your primary call to action on LinkedIn, your next steps should be strategically aligned with your goals on the platform. Here’s a bullet point list to proceed effectively:
- Optimise Your Profile
- Have a Content Strategy
3. Network and Build Connections
4. Join Groups
5. Newsletters: Start a LinkedIn newsletter to grow your following.
6. Monitor and Adapt
7. Feedback: Be open to feedback from your network and adapt your strategy accordingly.
8. Learning – Book in a LinkedIn training session for 2024!
Knowing whether to use the ‘Follow’ or ‘Connect’ button can significantly impact your LinkedIn experience and your business’s success. Make an informed choice based on your goals and strategy and watch your network grow in 2024!