LinkedIn Adds "Follow" Feature

New option allows users to connect with business influencers and potentially increase your network

Written by Advisor Staff

Want to know what President Barack Obama is thinking? Or get networking tips from top business tycoons?

Well, you’re in luck. LinkedIn recently added a feature that allows people to follow high-profile individuals without having to connect to them. The company hopes to drive site traffic, as well as boost its membership.

Though members have been able to follow company news and updates for the past few years, the creation of the 150-person panel of well-known, so-called influencers gives people the chance to stay connected with business bigwigs.

Those part of the panel will offer advice, as well as their views on current events and news. Some will also cater to people in specific fields; New York-based chef Marcus Samuelsson will suggest cooking tips, while LinkedIn’s own CEO may offer networking insights.

And besides Obama, the site has recruited high-profile celebrities like Mitt Romney, oil mogul T. Boone Pickens, and the founder of Craigslist.

They’ll all share their tips via short articles and videos.

LinkedIn also plans to add others to the list, but only after screening candidates in order to ensure they’re qualified to dispense helpful tips and information.

In the past, you would have had to connect to these individuals yourself. But now, you just have follow them—similar to Twitter—to track what they’re posting.

The feature is part of LinkedIn Today, a daily news section unveiled last year as part of the company’s ongoing attempt to build its website into something more than a digital rolodex.

Although LinkedIn is smaller and less addictive than Facebook, however, it has fared better on Wall Street. Its stock has more than doubled since its May 2011 IPO, while Facebook’s stock has dropped by more than 40% since its public offering in May 2012.

LinkedIn is also well positioned for years of steady growth, as it’s changed the way employers find new workers. It generates two-thirds of its revenue from the fees companies and recruiters pay to gain access to members.

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