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Followers and connections on LinkedIn

This blog will look at the difference between followers and connection and how to make the most of both to increase your reach on LinkedIn.

Differences between followers and connections

Ok so let's deal with the difference between followers and connections first.

Followers can see your content but cannot interact with you. so the sharing is only in one direction.

Connections can see your content and you will see theirs but you can also see their network and also direct message each other.

Why is this important? You want to use LinkedIn to build relationships with potential customers, investors and collaborators. To do this in a meaningful way you need to be able to interact with them. So you need to connect.

Some people have their profile set to follow or only allow connection if you know their email address, for me this is a bit of a waste of time, if I know your email address I will send you an email. I do understand some people, mainly high profile celebrity types, will get thousands of connection requests but this is unlikely for the rest of us. I find its very easy on a quick glance to see who is a genuine request and who is just trying to sell me something, often that I have no interest in at all.

Whenever you reach out to someone to connect and they accept I would suggest you always send them a message using the direct message function in LinkedIn. This initial message SHOULD NOT be "thanks for the connection do you want to buy/ invest." This is the start of a relationship so imagine you have met this person for the first time at a business event you wouldn't go straight in with this would you? I would suggest if you connected because of a shared interest or you see there being a way you can work together in the future keep to this maybe "Thanks for the connection, I am looking forward to learning more about your companies investment strategy through your posts" or " Thanks for the connection I know we are both passionate about healthcare so I look forward to learning more from your posts"

If you just connect and don't make any response what's the point in the connection? Keep an eye on what comes up in your feed from them over time, as relevant like their comments or comment on them further. You can then get in touch with the start of a relationship instead of cold to sell your goods or discuss investment.

Who to connect with?

This is a question I get all the time. OK so if I want to grow my business using LinkedIn should I just accept all requests and try to connect with as many people as possible? The simple answer is no, think back to our business meeting, if you are hoping to connect with potential customers would you chat to everyone at the event or would you ask around and find out who might be interested in what you sell. It's the same for LinkedIn so take a look at their profile, what do they do, what interests do they have, what groups are they part of who do they follow. If you see this aligns with your product then make the connection and remember to follow up.

The same applies if you are making connections and you should try to grow your network not just wait for people to reach out to you. Look at the hashtags relevant to you and see the people/ companies who are using these, check out their profile to make sure they are aligned and reach pout to them. There is a big debate on if you just connect or use the message. Personally, I always use the message, it's the start of your conversation so let them know why you want to connect. Again this shouldn't be because i want to sell my services to you but because you have a shared interest in Med tech or you are both trying to break into a particular segment of the market.

LinkedIn will suggest connection for you. This algorithm learns for the people you are connected to so the more potential investors in med tech you connect to the more of this type of person you will see in the suggestions. When you start out and haven't invited many connections it will take data from previous jobs and industries you were in as well as collages and universities so don't be disheartened if the suggestions don't look relevant initially

Another area to look at for connections is who has viewed your profile, if their values align then drop them a line. "I see you recently looked at my profile and we both work in radiology I thought it might be good to connect." You can do the same by looking at who has commented or liked one of your posts, make the most of all these engagements.

Finally on finding the right people/ companies to connect with. If you are connected to someone you can see their connections. You can look at the list and see who might be relevant, drop them a not in the connection to say " I see we both know Joe Blogs and work in orthopaedics it would be great to connect."

Your profile

You want to ensure when making the offer to connect if someone views your profile it shows you in your best light. In this previous blog we included what to put in your personal profile.

Remember to make your profile as open as possible for people to get a real understanding of who you are. I would suggest setting our status so it can be seen by all not just LinkedIn. How many times do you search for a person on the internet and the first thing that comes up is their LinkedIn profile. don't miss this opportunity.

Here's how to do this

In your profile you will see on the top right Edit, public, profile &URL as shown below

This will bring up the screen below on the right hand side you can see edit visibility. This allows you to select who can see your profile photo, its automatically set to all LinkedIn but i would suggest setting it to public this allows it to be used in google searched ETC.

You will also see below this you can set which pieces of your profile can be viewed. As you can see from the image below I have mine set to share all. I want to be a open as i can with potential connections so they get a good understanding of me and my brand so have them all set to visible but this is really up to you.

Finally, I would say this might sound daunting initially. It doesn't need to be once you get going it's quite simple to do but don't expect results without some effort. You might make connection with some people who turn out not to be a beneficial connection but sometimes people you were not expecting a lot of tend to be the best connections. I have a connection made some 8 years ago when we were both in very different jobs but now find we have a need to work together. Consistency is the key to LinkedIn just like any other social media. I would suggest when you take a coffee break or lunch break take a look at LinkedIn find content to engage with and the people associated with it. If this doesn't work for you get in touch and we will see how we can help you.

If you have any specific questions on LinkedIn or want help with your profile or your company profile please get in touch we are always happy to see how we can help.

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