Whose Content Do You See On LinkedIn?

What the heck difference does it make if you Subscribe, Follow, Connect or Ring the Bell? I recently had a hard time explaining the differences to a client when in all four cases LinkedIn seems to assure us that making any one of these choices will result in us receiving that person’s content.

When we visit someone’s LinkedIn Profile, we are offered one or more of Following, Connecting, Subscribing and Ringing the Bell. But what are the differences between the four with respect to seeing their content? So today we venture into the weeds to see what those differences are.


You decide you don’t necessari;y wish to connect with a person you find on LinkedIn, but you are interested in what they have to say, so instead you follow them. LinkedIn tells us that when we follow someone, we will receive their posts, articles, and shares in our homepage feed. And as far as I can tell, this is typical LinkedIn speak: it is both true and disingenuous. If I follow you, your post winds up in my feed…somewhere. I may have to scroll down for fifteen minutes and it is the four hundredth piece of content in my feed, but it’s there alright. And this makes sense. If ten people you follow all post early next week and you check in to LinkedIn mid week, all those posts can’t be at the top of your feed at the same time.

I think that it would be more accurate to say following someone will result in a largely random smattering of their content showing up in your feed where you can see it from time to time.

LinkedIn does say that you will get notified for their “top posts,” but of course the algorithms will decide what those top posts are. This is the thing that makes me grind my teeth. I either like someone’s thinking and writing, or I don’t. I would like to be the one deciding whether I want to read it, not LinkedIn.


LinkedIn used to use something called the Connection Strength Score to decide which Connections’ content should appear prominently in your feed. The Connection Strength Score was based on how much you had engaged with another person’s content recently. I have not seen any mention of this anywhere in the past couple years, so this may have quietly gone away, and as far as seeing someone’s content is concerned, Connecting is really no different from Following (does that mean a Connection is just a “Follower with privileges?”).

Newsletter Subscribers

Now we are getting somewhere. When Newsletters came out on LinkedIn two years ago they included the option to Subscribe to them. LinkedIn would notify subscribers via Email, a LinkedIn Notification or both that a new issue was available. While I have heard multiple complaints, the subscribe feature seems to work, and LinkedIn has since added Newsletters as an option for companies on their Company Pages.

Ringing the Profile Bell

Ringing the Bell on someone’s profile results in LinkedIn notifying you when a person publishes any new content. But there’s a catch. If you hover over the Bell, it will offer you either “only get notified about X’s top posts” or “get notified about all of X’s posts.” You want to choose the latter. You can always go back and change it again. LinkedIn actually says you should hit the bell if you want to “subscribe” to someone’s content. So  you can subscribe to someone’s Newsletter, or you can subscribe to all their posts, which is an interesting and useful distinction (I have made use of it several times already).

One aspect of this I don’t like is that you can’t Ring the Bell unless you are already Connected or Following the person. In fact the little bell icon won’t even appear on someone’s profile until you either Connect or Follow them. I would rather that LinkedIn had the Bell there for people to see, even if clicking it resulted in a pop up saying they need to Follow or Connect first.


If you Connect or Follow someone on LinkedIn, you will likely see some of that person’s content. If you Subscribe to their Newsletters you will be notified when they publish. When you Ring the Bell, you will be notified when they publish anything on LinkedIn.

With all this in mind, here is what I have done: I subscribe to several dozen LinkedIn newsletters and I have been on a Bell whacking campaign for key people whose content I appreciate and I want to see more of. I am getting to the point that for new content, ninety percent of it comes from my Notifications tab. I scroll through my Notifications like I do the subject lines in my email. Instead of scrolling down my Homepage feed to “see if there is anything interesting today” I make better, focused use of my time on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is finally allowing me to hone in on the content I want to see.

The obligatory disclaimer: I do not work for or have any association with LinkedIn, other than being a user who pays them for his Sales Navigator subscription every month. 

I publish a weekly email newsletter on using LinkedIn effectively for Sales and Marketing. Each newsletter typically contains one or two articles like today’s, and you can unsubscribe anytime. Here’s a link to the sign up page: https://practicalsmm.com/contact/