If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you’ll know how important I think LinkedIn is for freelance writers. I’m definitely not in the league of self-professed LinkedIn nerd (more like legend) John Espirian, but I’ve found so much great work from the platform. And barely a week goes by when I’m not contacted by prospective clients on LinkedIn.
I’m not as active on LinkedIn as I used to be, simply because I am lucky enough to have a steady stream of work from regular clients. But I still check in once every couple of days.
Right before the pandemic hit, I tried something that I hadn’t done before on LinkedIn.
Now, this may seem super simple to lots of you, but this little ‘trick’ has changed the way I think about approaching potential clients on LinkedIn.
Want to know what it is?
A simple LinkedIn trick for you to try
Rather than connecting immediately with potential clients, I’ve elected to follow them instead.
So, what does that mean?
I’m not sure if this analogy is going to work, but picture this:
You’re at a party and you see someone you like the look of.
Rather than going up to them and introducing yourself, you ask around and find out a little bit about them.
You can watch them (in a non-stalker-ish way of course) before you decide to approach them.
Sometimes you’ll like what see and other times, you’ll be glad you didn’t approach them immediately.
This is what I’ve been doing on LinkedIn for the past few months.
Rather than connecting with people immediately, I have been following them.
How do you follow someone on LinkedIn?
First find a person who you are interested in and rather than connecting with them, click through to their profile.
Go to the ‘more’ button and then press ‘follow’.
It’s that easy.
The benefits of following first
When you think about it, the benefits of following people first on LinkedIn are pretty obvious.
You get a real sense of:
- How active they are on the platform
- The type of content they share
- Whether they would be a good fit for what you offer
The follow-first method is clearly more time consuming.
I already tend to do a two-step connection process on LinkedIn (that I teach about in my online course Write Earn Thrive).
But I’m noticing that the follow-first method is a great way for me to ‘get to know’ prospective clients from a distance.
When you follow someone they get a notification, but the good news is that if you decide to stop following them they don’t get a notification.
The pandemic has obviously changed a lot of things, and I’ve found that it’s been a little bit more difficult to get responses to my connection requests or LOIs.
So that’s why I think it’s an especially good time to try following people before you connect.
It means that if and when you do reach out to connect, you’ll do it in a way that feels more purposeful and informed.
Since I’ve started doing the follow-first method, I’ve definitely spent less time communicating with and weeding out people who are not great matches for me.
Instead, I’m finding that even though I’m making fewer connections, the ones I am making are much better quality.
And when you’re looking to ramp up your freelance work, that’s really what counts.
If you’re looking for more information about how freelance writers can used LinkedIn to find high-paying gigs, look no further:
Are you a regular user of LinkedIn? Do you follow people before you connect with them on LinkedIn?