A lot of people have been asking me what's the difference between following someone on LinkedIn and connecting with them as a first level connection.

Most people don’t even know you can follow people without being directly connected.

Let me show you how to find out who's following you and who you’re following. The way you do it is to go to a post in your newsfeed. You can't use one of your own posts because the option won't be there.

Here you go a post by Justin Trudeau and click on the three dots. Next, click on Improve My Feed. You would think this will be under My Network but it isn’t se this is how you get there.

First there is Follow Fresh Perspectives. These are new people you can follow that you’re not currently following,  Let's say I want to follow Renée Brown. I see she’s a second level connection.  What I can do now is follow her or I could reach out and connect with her through the More option.

Now let's go back to where we were. Here's people that I'm following, 10,308 people. Nowadays when you connect with someone you follow them automatically.

In the past LinkedIn didn't have this follow option so I have a lot of connections that are not following me who are 1st level connections with me.

Next, these are people that I'm following and here's my followers. What I like to do is I go through this list and I tell people “Hey you're following me so let's connect”

Grant Duckworth is following me but we aren’t connected. He is a third level connection and I could send him an InMail and say “Hey I noticed you followed me but we aren’t connected so let’s connect.”

I could also connect by clicking here so let’s just do that since I’m right here. I’ll send him a personal note like this. When I send an invitation like this, 99% of the time they accept my invitation because they know who I am and they are already following me.

This is such a great way to find people who are interested in you because they're following you.  Let's make them first level connections so we can send messages back and forth and they will see your posts and activity on LinkedIn through the notifications tab.

About the author 

Ted Prodromou

Would you like me to help you?

I'm the #1 best-selling author of Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn for Business and Ultimate Guide to Twitter for Business. People call me America's Leading LinkedIn Coach.

I'm the founder of Search Marketing Simplified, LLC, a full service online marketing agency. The SMS team designs and implements advanced LinkedIn and social media lead-generation strategies for small to medium-sized businesses. SMS will set up and manage your marketing funnels using organic, social and paid traffic.

Did you know I've been working with the internet since 1991, long before Al Gore invented it?

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