If you’re one of those business people who always seems to have hundreds, if not thousands of LinkedIn connection requests waiting for you, you might be wondering what the best approach is for handling all those requests. You don’t really want to ignore them, because most of them are legitimate requests from users who truly want to be connected to you, but on the other hand, you may want to keep your network more focused so that you can achieve your business objectives.
If this sounds similar to your own situation, you may want to avail yourself of a simple little tip which will help you increase the number of your followers, while also limiting the number of connection requests that come your way. All you have to you do is use the Follow button as the primary call to action in your LinkedIn profile, and good things will start happening in terms of your connection requests.
Keep your business goals aligned with your primary profile call to action
You’ll find the CTA button right below your profile photo and the headline on your account, and the default is set to Connect. If you’re only looking for most people to connect with you when they do come to your profile for a visit, then you don’t need to do anything, and you should just accept the default Connect setting. However, if your goal is to increase the number of followers without necessarily connecting to any of them, you should change your CTA default action to Follow rather than Connect.
In case you are wondering, there are a number of differences between Followers and Connections, including all of the following. You can’t give a recommendation to anyone or ask for a recommendation from anyone, whom you are not already connected with. You can only send direct messages to your connections free of charge, and if you want to reach out to members whom you aren’t connected with, you’ll have to use InMail, which is only made available to those subscribers with premium accounts.
Even then, you’re limited in the number of InMails you can send by the type of premium account that you signed up for. When you’re connected with people, you can both see each other’s posts in your personal LinkedIn feeds, whereas Followers are able to see your posts but you can’t see their posts in your feeds. In order to see the posts of your Followers, you have to follow them in return. Lastly, you cannot be endorsed by anyone nor can you endorse anyone whom you are not connected with.
How to set up Follow as your primary CTA
On the LinkedIn website or the app, you must click on ‘Me’, and then choose ‘Settings and Privacy’. After doing this, you’ll have to click on Followers, which you’ll see when you scroll down to Blocking and Hiding. Now you have the capability to Make Follow Primary by selecting Yes when presented with the option. After having selected Yes, the primary button on your profile will be Follow rather than Connect.
Why choose follow rather than Connect?
Many LinkedIn users are perfectly happy following you so that they can receive updates on your posts, but not all members are as comfortable connecting with you. This is especially true when they haven’t seen any of your posts on their feeds before, and they have no idea what to expect from you. If you leave your default CTA at Connect, you may be losing viewers of your profile who are somewhat reluctant to connect with you, because it’s their first visit to your profile, or because they don’t know you well enough yet to want to actually connect.
This would be an unfortunate situation, especially given the fact that you have probably created some high-quality content so as to increase your credibility and visibility on the platform. With a number of LinkedIn members actually viewing your profile, you don’t want to simply lose them on their first visit, just because they might be uncomfortable with connecting to you right away. By adding the Follow button as your primary CTA action below the profile headline, you will remove this potential for scaring away potentially valuable followers.
The possibility of connecting is not lost
By making the Follow button your primary CTA default, it will not remove any LinkedIn members’ capability for connecting with you, either now or in the future. By clicking on More, which is the button directly adjacent to the Follow button, all users will then have the option to connect with you at a time of their choosing.
The fact that they have taken the time and effort to send you a connection request is a strong indicator that they’re relatively serious about making a connection with you, so these requests for connection should be strongly considered. LinkedIn allows its members to have as many as 30,000 first-level connections, so if you’re in any danger of reaching this threshold, you’ll have to be a little more considerate about accepting or sending out connection requests.
Customized connection requests
If you have one or more followers whom you would like to connect with, the best approach would be to send them a customized connection request. Be sure to thank all of these followers and tell them how you appreciate their interest, but ask them if they would be willing to make a connection instead of following you. Most LinkedIn users will appreciate being given the option, and will gladly make the switch.
This will allow you to retain total control over whom you add to your network of followers, and you can keep all such followers in total alignment with your business objectives. When you make the switch from setting up your primary CTA to Follow instead of Connect, you will quite likely see a rapid increase in Followers, rather than simple Connections. You can sift through these, and decide which ones you want to return the favor to, and follow them back. You’ll enjoy the fact that you have much more control over your network of followers, and that this group of members will provide more business value to you than a high number of Connections would.