Let’s have a short talk about following on LinkedIn

Following doesn’t work like it used to, and in fact, it sucks. 

Well, I told you it would be a short talk. 

Over the past couple years following has changed on LinkedIn. There are four facets to following, only one of which I think is worthwhile (but it really really is worthwhile). 

Let’s cover the rotten ones first. 

Following companies

Does nothing for you. I have not been able to find any circumstances where I have been notified that a company I am following has published something on LinkedIn. 

Following people

Follow all you want, you won’t see their content either. I don’t get notified about new content from people I follow. 

So in both circumstances we don’t see the content we thought we were going to see. Note that if you have a Sales Navigator subscription, you can designate people and companies as leads, in which case your Sales Navigator home page feed is filled only with the content and activities of the people and companies you’re following. So perhaps this is all an extraordinarily ham handed attempt by LinkedIn to get people purchasing Sales Navigator. But paying seventy bucks a month is a pretty expensive way to see anyone’s content.

The following “flirt” signal

Some people will follow someone in the hopes that that someone will invite them to connect. This is a weak strategy as not everyone checks their followers. 

The follower connect strategy

This is the one I advocate. I regularly review my followers, and when I see someone interesting I invite them to connect. When I do, I always include a personal note and make a point of telling them what’s in it for them in connecting with me. I have been doing this for five years and it works around two thirds of the time.

Following is another example of a LinkedIn feature that is best used in a manner different from how everyone thinks it should be used.