Published April 29, 2019
Updated March 29, 2023
Do you know who’s following you on LinkedIn?
(And for that matter, who are you following?)
What’s the difference between a LinkedIn follower and a Connection? My good friend, accountant Aimeé Hargreaves, asked me this recently. I answered:
Connections are two people who have Connected on LinkedIn because, at some level, they know and trust each other. A Connection automatically becomes a follower (in LinkedIn terms).
On the other hand, following someone on LinkedIn (not Connecting) allows you to see their posts and articles in your feed (when the algorithms determine so) without having to Connect with them. However, you must remember that the person you are following won’t see your posts at all unless they Connect or follow you in return.
Personally, I will follow a person who can add some value to my life. Usually, someone who has provided thought-leading content that has come across my path. Perhaps someone who is geographically at a distance from me as well.
This was another question that Aimeé posed on LinkedIn.
Your follower list is private information. No one but you can see it.
Yes, you can turn off the ability for people to follow you if you wish. (However, I can’t see the point in this myself. I’m on LinkedIn to engage, so if someone wishes to follow me, then I have no objection.)
To stop someone from following you:
There’s also a switch here to make ‘Follow’ the primary call-to-action when people view your profile rather than ‘Connect’. Personally, I would always keep my blue call-to-action button as ‘Connect’ as I’d rather have a meaningful Connection with them.
You can find out who you follow and who is following you on LinkedIn here.
Why? If people are taking an interest in you, learning from the valuable content your share – videos, tips, infographics, podcasts, photos – might there be an opportunity lurking? A chance to help them and begin to build a trusted relationship with them? An opportunity that could blossom into a new client, business partner or contact?
Why not consider following them back or even sending them a Connection request? Remember to always personalise a Connection request with a note saying why you would like to Connect, where you know them from or how you can help them (without sounding ‘salesy’). For a more in-depth guide on growing your Connections on LinkedIn, check out my posts:
You never know where it might lead …
Another one of my valued Connections, Roger Masterson (brilliant at creating memorable experiences in historic castles), asked for a way to categorise your LinkedIn follower data and filter out followers who haven’t Connected with you, or if this feature was only available if you pay for LinkedIn Premium.
Although LinkedIn doesn’t make your follower data easy to manage or understand, you can find your own Connections here.
The only way to understand how many people who follow you, as distinct from being a Connection, is to subtract your number of Connections from followers. (In my case, I have about 7% more followers than Connections.)
To my knowledge, this method is not improved by any upgraded LinkedIn option.
Marketing Manager at JBC Industrial Services Ltd, Angela Spurling, asked me if it was possible to sort her LinkedIn followers and/or Connections into different groups so she can identify each more easily. This was because she has a mixture of current industry-related contacts and non-industry-related colleagues, friends and acquaintances from previous employments on LinkedIn.
Unfortunately, this is no longer something that LinkedIn offers.
Instead, I would always recommend storing your contacts outside of LinkedIn on your own CRM system, be that a database or a spreadsheet! There, you can ‘splice and dice’ your Connections any way you like! (You can categorise your leads in LinkedIn Sales Navigator, but that is an expensive package for this purpose alone.) You can find out about Sales Navigator prices here.
What strategy do you have for determining who to follow on LinkedIn? Let me know over on LinkedIn!
On how I can help you turn your Linkedin profile into multiple opportunities in a few hours.