Episode 15: To Follow or Not to Follow (On LinkedIn)
To Follow or Not to Follow (On LinkedIn)
Are you confused about whether you should follow or connect with someone on LinkedIn? Or are you unsure if you should have the Follow button or the Connect button on your profile page? Let us help bring some clarity to your LinkedIn social selling strategy! Watch this episode to learn more about LinkedIn's Follow feature and how to use it wisely to put yourself on your buyer's radar and become a stepping stone to start conversations with your target opportunities. In this episode, they explore the nuances of following and connecting on LinkedIn, shedding light on the often misunderstood difference between the two. Discover why strategically following influential figures in your industry can boost your visibility and engagement, and learn practical tips for leveraging your company page's followers. Don't miss out on this insightful discussion that can elevate your LinkedIn game and help you build your own LinkedIn Hall of Fame. Tune in now!Click to Watch the Video
Jack Hubbard 00:01
I've had the privilege of being in and around banking for more than 50 years. Lots of changes during that time. We've gone from Ledger's to laptops, typewriters to technology. One thing, however, remains the same. Banking is a people business. And I'll be talking with those people that make banking great here on Jack Rants With Modern Bankers.
Hello, everybody. It's Thursday. What a terrific Thursday it is. It's time for Jack Rants with Brynne, Hi! Brynne.
Brynne Tillman 00:37
Hey, Jack, so excited about our topic today.
Jack Hubbard 00:40
You know, it's a great topic. And we're going to talk about To Follow or Not to Follow (On LinkedIn) And you might notice I have a little different uniform today. And it's because I chose to follow my son last week into the Baseball Hall of Fame. And it was an absolutely great day, I told my son when I dropped him off. I said, this is one of the 10 greatest days of my life. And if you've got a son or a daughter who's interested in baseball, it's a bucket list thing you got to you gotta do it Brynne, it was really fun.
Brynne Tillman 01:15
That is fun. And we are a big baseball family. In fact, I think my granddaughter's first words were go Phillies.
Jack Hubbard 01:25
Well, that's great. And today, we're going to talk about followers, following the Phillies following the Cubs. And there's a few rules about this but I think there's a couple of confusions as we get started here. Brinne, first, when some people go on LinkedIn, instead of the blue connection button, they see a Follow button. That's a little confusing to people Brynne, talk about that.
Brynne Tillman 01:52
It is confusing for a lot of folks. And they think if there's a Follow button that they can't connect. And actually, the Follow button is defaulted. If someone chooses to be in creator mode, there are two kinds of modes for your profile. One is traditional mode, and one is creator mode and things change on your profile. When you go into creator mode. One of them is that your Connect button turns to a Follow button.
This doesn't mean however, that you can't connect with them. It's just hidden. There's a little more button that when you click on that, you'll see a personalized invite, and you can send a connection request. But you know, following is also a good thing to do. You can follow them first and then connect, then you'll actually show up a couple of times in a notification and then a connection request. And hey, the more they see you the better it is.
Jack Hubbard 02:54
Well, that's very true. And this question might be kind of LinkedIn 101. But it is interesting, how still about two people join LinkedIn every second and the audience is growing and there might be some folks that listen to this today that say, you know, I'm pretty new to this. Help me with the basics. So can you talk about the difference between connections and following?
Brynne Tillman 03:20
Yeah, that's a great question, Jack. So a connection is two ways, right? You can't have a one way connection. Either someone asks you to connect, and you say yes or you ask someone else to connect? And they say yes, and then once you do you have access to some things like they're searching their connections, it's easier to start a conversation, you can message without having to use paid messaging, like In-mail. And so when you are a first degree connection, there are a lot more benefits to that relationship. When you follow someone, it's typically one way. You follow them and then we actually recommend that once you follow them, if it's someone you really want to stay in touch with, you can ring their bell. Now you'll be alerted when they share content. If you follow them. It'll be on your newsfeed. The bonus here, when you ring their bell it will come into your notifications tab but the big difference here is access to direct messaging and searching connections.
There are people that will probably never connect with me that I follow. So I follow Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, the chances of him accepting my connection or was I don't know, but I want to see what he's up to and I want to engage on his content. And there are lots of other folks that I choose to Just follow and not send a connection request out. I also if I'm engaging prospects that they don't know who I am yet, I'll start with a follow. And then I'll go into engagement. And again, I'm like popping up in a couple of little places. And maybe I bring enough value that, that they want to connect with me, they send me the connection request.
So, you know, there are a lot of different opportunities between follow and connect. The last thing I'll say is, people can actually search your followers, and you can search other people's followers that you are not connected to, but you can't search connections. That was a lot of information.
Jack Hubbard 05:52
No, it's good and it's interesting how strategically you might choose to follow and not connect. And you put down four reasons why you might do this Brynne. What are they?
Brynne Tillman 06:06
Well, the first one is like following a mega influencer, like they may not be easy to connect with. Another one is I would just want to follow them and see their content, that it's not necessarily a prospect, or a referral partner or someone that I want to go beyond getting their content, you might also want to follow them just to see who's engaging on their content. So a lot of like, if I want to see who's into LinkedIn, they're probably following Reid Hoffman, for bankers, like there are a lot of really great influencers out there, which may not necessarily be limited to banking, but maybe the economics, what's going on with interest rates.
There's so many opportunities to follow people that are going to share content that you can reshare or learn from. You know, the interesting thing is, you don't need anyone's permission to follow them, you do for the connection. So the idea of following someone to just kind of stay in on the radar is a great way to go. And they do get a notification that you followed them. So it is a touch point.
Jack Hubbard 07:36
And I like what you said, because if I'm a banker, I might be working in vertical industries. And I might not follow Reed Hoffman but I may follow someone in the medical field or a medical consultant or if I'm in the knot for profits, I might follow someone there. And when you say, get on someone's radar, talk me through how I might.
Brynne Tillman 08:04
Yeah, so there are so many ways to get on folks radar, but they're on their radar, one of them is to follow. Well, first, we're visiting their profile. And they may get a notification that you visited, their profile will definitely show up unless you're in anonymous mode that you visited their profile. That's a touch point. The next one is you follow them, they get a notification that says Jack Hubbard followed you and they go, who's Jack Hubbard? And they're gonna see who you are. Now you'll see unless they're in anonymous mode that they looked at your profile. So you've got a little bit of ping pong, radar ping pong going on right now, like, “oh, we looked back.” So there are other ways to get on their radar, but that whole looking at your profile following and then although we're not talking about this, today, I still throw it in is engaging on their content. All of that gets their interest up. And, you know, that really gives you opportunities to start conversations, you know, and then what else also happens when you follow and ring the bell, which is more like our number two, so one was getting on their radar.
Number two, the better opportunities to engage. Sometimes you're got some prospects out there that you're following, and you forget about them, but then they share content, and you're like, “Oh, great opportunity.” and now you're engaging when it matters to them. You're not just pushing one way. So maybe I connected with Jack, you know, six months ago and we haven't really engaged now he shares content. This is a trigger for me to start a conversation. And I'm just gonna throw out that conversation… remember I'm not connected I've just followed him but I start on his content. I read it, I have a real smart comment. And now, when he likes my comment, this is my trigger to connect, “Jack, I really loved the article that you shared. Incredible insights, I really appreciate it. I'd love to connect with you and continue to follow your content.” It's simple, but we've now moved it. I think I've kind of blended some of them together where we set the stage for number three, the connection request.
Jack Hubbard 10:37
Yeah, and I love that you said setting the stage, the following Brynne is really a strategic idea versus reaching out cold, if you will, and saying I'd love to connect, because more sophisticated people on LinkedIn are gonna ignore that. And they may even report you to LinkedIn if they'd have no idea who you are. So you really need to be careful. So I really liked what you said, about setting the stage for the connection. And the other thing I like is ringing the bell. I have a question about ringing the bell. How many people are too many when you ring the bell.
Brynne Tillman 11:20
And I did this, and I rang too many bells. And It happened, I had all these unread notifications, and it paralyzed me. So ringing the bell. So when you follow someone, their content is going to show up on your newsfeed. You're not going to catch it all but it's going to be there. So you can follow way more people than ringing the bell. The litmus test of what bells to ring are if I saw this person pop up, would I get excited? So I don't know if you know Marie Kondo, but she is, you know, she's an organization Queen and she'll say, “If it doesn't bring you joy, don’t hit it.” So if this person would pop up in your notifications, and it doesn't bring you joy, don't ring the bell. And so be really conscious that in your head, say, “Would I engage every time this person puts out content? If the answer is yes, go ahead and ring it but I started to notice I'm like, yeah, not this one. Oh, not that. I just rang too many bells. So I started unringing bells and being more specific on the folks that I'm following, and ringing the bells of.
Jack Hubbard 12:51
Well, I think you have a particular challenge in that you know so much about LinkedIn, and you know, when new things are coming out, so when you do see that, you test it. And I think that's a good test for all of us to follow you. So that if your content says look, I tried ringing too many bells and I've unrung bells. That's great. I'd like to ask you, because we're talking about followers here and I'll kind of start and give you a couple ideas: who do you follow? Who are some really good people to follow? I'll start from a banking perspective. My number one go to person is absolutely Chris Nichols.
Chris Nichols writes so brilliantly about various topics on banking. That's directly targeted to bankers, but it's not necessarily directly about banking. And I really like that. I also like people like Mark Hunter, Meredith, Elliot Powell, who write brilliantly, David Brock, banking specific Ned Miller, Eric Cook, and James Robert Lay, all of those all you have to do is go follow him ring their bell, because I guarantee you if you do that, you're gonna get some great content. Brynne I bet you have a top few to go to as well.
Brynne Tillman 14:16
Oh, there are so many folks, but I will say every Saturday morning at 8am Eastern, because I follow Meredith and Mark Hunter I get a notification that they're live. So yeah, there are tons of folks that I follow. There are some like, you know, as high up as Brene Brown like she's not going to connect with me, but I follow her for content and then there are people that I have simply followed because I just love their content. Now, the interesting thing is when you connect with someone, you automatically follow them, you can unfollow them if you are getting too much of their content spammy on the newsfeed so that is an option but you do automatically follow.
The key is you go and ring the bell of the people that you want the notifications of and you know, there are so many folks so I would say, Bernadette with Clubland, Colleen Stanley, Fred Diamond. Like there's a whole bunch of sales training brilliance out there, that I just love to surround myself with, Larry Levine. I mean, so many of our friends that just share some wonderful insights that make all the difference in feeding me with the content that I love.
Now, side note, when you follow these folks engaged with the people that are engaging with them, right, there's a lot of potential conversations. Sometimes I call these influencers magnets. And they're bringing in a lot of folks. So if you have Chris Nichols, who attracts a lot of business owners, bankers want to know business owners. So you know, there's definitely finding your influencers in banking, that's great but even better is finding the influencers that attract your prospective clients.
Jack Hubbard 16:32
Yeah, absolutely. And I think we'd be remiss, Brynne, and you were kind enough to introduce me to these two amazing professionals, Gunner Hood, who's awesome and Stan Robinson, who knows so much about Sales Navigator, he's tremendous.
Brynne Tillman 16:48
Yeah, those are great influencers to follow but the number one influencer to follow is Jack Hubbard.
Jack Hubbard 16:54
Well, you're kind. And speaking of Jack Hubbard, one of the things that I like to do is kind of be practical. So let me share with you, I will go in and look at my followers several times a day. Now I'm a little over the top maybe, and I teach LinkedIn. So maybe it's a little different but I do want to see who's following me and that gives me, I think, the opportunity to reach back out to them and to connect with them and it's interesting, it's kinda like, if you have a referral, and you pick up the phone, and you say, Brynne Tillman, your CPA suggested I give you a call, you got an 82% chance to land that appointment, when somebody's following you and reach out and connect and say, “Hey, thanks for following me. They're gonna connect with you almost 100% of the time, I would.”
Brynne Tillman 17:46
Right! Are they following you for a reason? So they’d be honored that you reached out to connect. I love that advice.
Jack Hubbard 17:56
Well, the last thing I want to talk about in this is really a hidden gem. And that's the Company Page, Brynne. I don’t think Bankers do enough to follow their own company page, or even look at their company.
Brynne Tillman 18:13
Yet, so there's a few things that we can do. Number one, visit the company page and engage with the content. You can share it on your profile, engage with the people engaging. The other thing you can do if you have Sales Navigator, which is another reason to have Sales Navigator is you can search your company's followers and then use the other filters to find your exact prospect by location, by industry, by title. It's just phenomenal. So using company followers filter, just like you said before, if they're following you, there's a high likelihood almost, I would say very close to 100% that those people are going to accept your connection requests.
When you reach out to someone and you say, “Hey, I noticed that you're following our company page, I had a chance to look at your profile. If you're open I'd love to connect with you.” I don't know if it's going to be close to 100% but it's way higher than any kind of cold connect you could ever make. They followed your bank page for a reason. So make sure that you know you mentioned it, you noticed it and love to connect with you. And you know and not everyone just the people in your territory and that meet your criteria. And if all the bankers go out and do that, it is absolutely incredible. How much faster they can turn that person from an online connection to a real conversation.
Jack Hubbard 20:03
Brilliant! And I want to go back to one thing you said about the company page. Every company page has an admin. And that person is the person that knows who's following that company. So, as an example, let's say I work for bank ABC, and they're a billion dollar bank. And our company page has 1000 followers. Some of you follow the company page for a reason. But let's take this another step Brinne, let's say that I do business in the medical field or not for profits, etc. How might I go to the admin? Because I know we can't print a list but how can I go to the admin and say, “Gee, can I see who's following us because I can't click on it anymore. We used to be able to do that a long time ago, I can't click on it anymore.” Talk about your brilliance here. It's a great strategy.
Brynne Tillman 21:05
Well, it's kind of a two part strategy. It's where it benefits the banker, and the admin. So the first piece is to set up a zoom. That's the easy piece right between you, the banker and the admin of the page. The first thing I recommend is that the admin make you the banker, an admin for 10 minutes, and then you can go in an invite all of your first degree connections that it makes sense, and invite them to follow the bank page.This will help you in your prospecting because they are going to see branded content coming from them so that when you end up reaching out, they've already seen your bank name over and over again. So it's a win win here, right?
The next thing is, the admin now can open up the followers on Zoom, and they can go through them and you can take a look at who is following that you might want to meet. Now, if you have a Sales Navigator, you don't need to do this. This is if you don't have Sales Navigator, and you want to take a look at who’s following your company page, you can do that on a zoom with the admin, and then reach out to connect with those that you'd like to have a conversation with and you're much more likely to get a yes, they clearly not only know your bank, but care enough to follow it.
Jack Hubbard 22:35
Absolutely! No question about it. And one of the questions I get and I'll answer because we haven't rehearsed this. Is who is the typical admin? I find that it's one of two areas of the bank: Marketing and human resources. What's your experience, Brynne? What department typically houses the admin?
Brynne Tillman 23:01
Yeah, so actually typically one from each. So marketing will hold it from a content perspective and HR Typically holds it from a recruiting perspective. And they can have lots of the admin. So I would start by reaching out to marketing, because they're the ones that really want to build the following, and that are really connected to you growing your business.
Jack Hubbard 23:28
We started this by talking about the Hall of Fame. And one of the ways for you to create your own Hall of Fame is to follow the people that you really want to follow. That's important. So, Brynne, thank you very much for doing this. Great to see you as always and we'll see you next Thursday. How's that sound?
Brynne Tillman 23:51
It sounds great. And as always, I love doing this with you.
Jack Hubbard 23:56
Thanks for joining us for Jack Rants with Brynne brought to you by our good friends at Vertical IQ and RelPro. We're live on LinkedIn every Thursday at noon Eastern time helping bankers turn connections into conversations.
Don't miss an episode, visit themodernbanker.com/tmbpodcast. Leave us a review if you would. You can also listen to this program and the new Jack Rants with Modern Bankers on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Google Play and I Heart Radio. We're on YouTube as well. Subscribe at https://www.youtube.com/@TheModernBanker. Finally, don't forget, make today and every day a great client day!