The Difference Between Following and Connecting on LinkedIn

man following womanIn this digital age, there’s a daily conversation about getting social media followers up, especially when you’re a professional trying to expand your audience. It’s not uncommon for personal accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to constantly interacting with others and posting frequently with the hope that new people will follow their page. The thing is, LinkedIn hasn’t really fit in the, “I need to get my followers up” category—but maybe it should.

So far the focus of LinkedIn users was to connect with other professionals with the intent to network, keep in touch and seek new professional opportunities. This has been an instrumental tool for building relationships with others in your industry or in your target industry. But now we can take it a step further. Did you know we have an option to follow people on LinkedIn who we aren’t connecting with? This feature has been around for a while now, but just like LinkedIn Groups, many of us have overlooked it.

Learn how following and connecting differ and which you should prioritize on your personal LinkedIn profile.

What are Connections?

Your connections are people who you know or see yourself building a relationship with. These people can see your profile and have the freedom to send a message to you. A connection is also a mutual agreement—once on person sends a request, the recipient has to accept it in order for you to become connected. Once this happens you will both be able to see one another’s updates, articles and other activity.

What are Followers?

Your LinkedIn followers can see updates and articles you’ve created on their newsfeed. However, unlike your connections, you won’t see your follower’s posts unless you’ve opted to follow them as well. It may sound like a downgrade, but we have a couple of reasons why you shouldn’t write off this feature.

Making the ‘Follow’ button more accessible for other professionals can help your content reach more people to spread awareness of your business and your expertise. Click To Tweet

How the Following Feature Can Help Your Business

LinkedIn is now pushing this feature to help professionals see more of your content. In order to do so they have given you the option to make following a primary action on your profile, which replaces the ‘Connect’ button.

“When members follow you, they are more likely to see your content in their Feed. This allows members to stay up-to-date with topics they care about and join your conversation.” –LinkedIn

This doesn’t mean that professionals won’t be able to connect with you anymore. They will just need to click “More” and choose ‘Connect’ from the drop-down menu. Making the ‘Follow’ button more accessible for other professionals can help your content reach more people to spread awareness of your business and your expertise. It also allows you to have a more concise newsfeed filled with content you’re interested in seeing from connections and people you choose to follow.

57% of LinkedIn Traffic is actually mobile.

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Follow Shanice Gravesandy:
Shanice is an experienced journalist and marketer with a background in email marketing, copywriting and online publishing. She is a Content Editor at KWSM and has a passion for visual storytelling.