The Difference Between a Follow and a Connection on LinkedIn and How It Helps You Reach More Prospects
Establishing effective networks is the lifeblood of business growth in the B2B domain. With its 930 million users, LinkedIn offers a golden opportunity for B2B professionals to reach the right audience.
The challenge, though, is understanding how to leverage the platform to nurture high-quality leads. That's where the Follow and Connect features of LinkedIn come into play. The differences between these two may be subtle, but their impacts can be significant when it comes to creating messaging campaigns and generating leads.
This article delves into what it means to 'Follow' versus 'Connect' on LinkedIn. We’ll look at real-world examples and explore their strategic roles in driving quality leads.
We’ll also discuss the larger context of why using connection messages to enhance outreach to prospects is a winning strategy.
Whether you're a seasoned LinkedIn user or just starting, this comprehensive guide is aimed at growing your understanding of the platform, refining your strategy, and helping you connect with more and better-quality prospects for your business.
What Does it Mean to Follow Someone on LinkedIn?
Following someone on LinkedIn is a one-way street. When you follow a LinkedIn member, you can see their updates and shared content in your feed, but they only see yours if they reciprocate and follow you back.
The ‘Follow’ feature allows you to monitor thought leaders, industry influencers, and individuals who inspire you professionally without necessarily initiating a direct conversation. It’s the perfect way to absorb insights and stay updated with trends relevant to your sector.
Following Bill Gates, for instance, will grant you access to his regular posts about technology advancements, sustainability, or global health without having a direct connection.
Connecting on LinkedIn
'Connect' is the feature that lets you add someone to your professional network on LinkedIn. Unlike following, connecting on LinkedIn is a two-way street.
When you connect with someone, both parties see each other's updates and shared content. More importantly, it allows you to send private messages to one another.
Let’s say you recently attended a webinar and would like to network with the speaker. You can do that by sending a connection request with a message about the valuable insights you gained from his speech.
Once they accept your request, you can engage in regular conversations, share resources, or think of collaborating on a project, for instance.
Unlocking the Power of Connections: Driving More Quality Leads
LinkedIn's Connect feature is a powerhouse tool for professional networking.
Its advantages extend far beyond merely expanding your network—it opens up tangible opportunities, especially in driving quality leads.
Let’s dive deeper into its advantages, which include:
- Expanding Your Reach
- Crafting Personalized Interactions
- Bypassing InMail Restrictions
- Building Trust and Authenticity
Expanding Your Reach
LinkedIn operates in a framework with degrees of connection. Your 1st-degree connections are those you're directly connected with. These individuals, in turn, have their own connections, which become your 2nd-degree connections, and so on.
When you connect with someone on LinkedIn, you gain exposure to their network, and beyond. This lets you grow your network exponentially.
In this way, you can create an expanding pool of potential leads by growing your connections methodically.
Crafting Personalized Interactions
LinkedIn's connection messages are a channel for personalized outreach. You can tailor your connection requests with a customized note, setting a warm and friendly tone for future interactions.
These messages can help you break the ice, express common interests, or highlight mutual benefits. They are ideal for sparking conversations that convert leads into prospects.
Bypassing InMail Restrictions
While LinkedIn's InMail feature provides a way to contact people outside your connections, it comes with limitations.
Users with a Basic (free) LinkedIn account cannot access this feature. A LinkedIn Premium membership provides between 5 and 15 credits at an added cost.
The 'Connect' feature comes to the rescue in this scenario. It provides an option to add a note to your connection request, essentially providing a free and direct line of communication with prospects.
This way, you can bypass InMail restrictions to open up more robust and unrestricted outreach opportunities.
Building Trust and Authenticity
When someone accepts your connection request, it signifies an acknowledgement and acceptance of your professional identity.
It's an initial step towards building trust and making future business discussions more receptive.
Your connection's endorsement enhances your professional credibility, giving you an authentic standing within your expanded network.
This trust factor also makes engaging with other potential leads easier and lays a strong foundation for future business discussions.
Social Selling and Lead Generation on LinkedIn
Social selling has emerged as a new-age sales strategy that uses social media platforms, particularly LinkedIn, to find, connect with, understand, and nurture sales prospects.
It's a strategy that focuses more on relationship-building than hard selling.
In the context of LinkedIn, social selling is about sharing relevant content, engaging in meaningful conversations, providing insights, and adding value to your network.
As a professional or a business, your social selling efforts can be measured by the LinkedIn Social Selling Index (SSI), which assesses how effectively you achieve your social selling on the platform.
Social selling on LinkedIn can enhance your brand’s perception, position you as a thought leader in your industry, and ultimately drive more sales opportunities.
Leveraging LinkedIn's Connect feature lets you grow a targeted network, interact with potential clients, and foster relationships that lead to conversions.
With its extensive network of professionals, LinkedIn also serves as an excellent platform for B2B lead generation.
LinkedIn lead generation involves identifying potential leads, engaging with them through relevant content and personalized outreach, and eventually turning these prospects into customers.
By using the LinkedIn connection message feature strategically, you can expand your reach, increase your visibility, and tap into a pool of individuals who are likely to be interested in your products or services.
Navigating LinkedIn's Future: Harnessing the Power of Connections and AI
There's no denying that, when leveraged effectively, LinkedIn can be a powerhouse for lead generation.
An accurate understanding of the Follow and Connect functionalities helps you navigate this vast landscape with clarity and confidence.
The process is not just about expanding your network numerically.
Rather, it's about making meaningful connections, personalizing your approach, fostering trust, and positioning your brand effectively.
It's about mastering the art of selling and lead generation to attract and convert high-quality leads.
But the journey doesn't end here.
As technology evolves, so do the opportunities to maximize your LinkedIn sales strategy. LinkedIn's AI is already revolutionizing how we connect and communicate on the platform.
Even so, unlocking the full benefits of LinkedIn requires an intelligent tool. At CoPilot AI, we have what it takes to leverage AI for better messaging.
Our customizable AI can research lead profiles and assess their communication style to provide messaging recommendations for better outcomes.
This saves precious time and enhances your conversion rate by ensuring that every message you send is tailored to the recipient.
Learn how Copilot AI works today. The future of your business could be just a connection away.