I get connect requests from financial advisors on Linkedin all the time. Most of the time, I just hit “Accept,” check out their profile, and move on with my day.
But today something else happened after I accepted the latest offer: I got an immediate notification that I had a new message, and when I opened it, I saw this:
I know what you’re thinking. “So what? Happens to me every week.”
But that’s the thing: It shouldn’t.
Keep in mind, this isn’t a sponsored message (paid promotion via Linkedin). When you get a message that says “Sponsored” in bold at the beginning of it, that was sent to you via Linkedin’s ad platform (and while you probably just ignore those messages, too, at least they’re legit).
According to section 8.2m of the Linkedin User Agreement, users agree that they will not “Use bots or other automated methods to access the Services, add or download contacts, send or redirect messages…”
So how do people keep sending these automated messages? The answer is third-party software, often run in shady ways by shady companies. Linkedin shuts these companies down when they can and/or bans members who use them – but they just keep popping up because people keep using them.
Real talk time: I have participated in this kind of outreach effort before, and I’m here to tell you it’s a bad idea. Not only can it get you banned from Linkedin, it is basically like setting your brand on fire.
Long ago, I set up a campaign on one of these shady third-party platforms, turned it on, and let it run for a while. When I checked in again, I wasn’t super impressed. Here’s what I saw:
A 0.5% response rate
Of that 0.5%, the vast majority were negative responses from people who didn’t appreciate being spammed. For every lead we gained, we burned hundreds of bridges.
A couple prospects had actually written back with questions, but the people whose profiles those responses went to either never logged in or just failed to respond for whatever reason. (Pro tip: Always triple-warn the sales team before launching a campaign where they will field responses)
You might be thinking that the low response rate had to do with bad messaging. I had the same thought.
So rather than stop spamming people (which I should have done), I ran multiple iterations of a variety of campaigns to see if I could find that sweet spot of alchemy that would turn a flaming bag of poo into pure gold. Never did.
You know what I did find? People like spam on Linkedin just as much as they like spam anywhere else in the world. Sending an automated message to a connection on Linkedin may feel like it makes it okay (we’re “friends,” right?), but it’s not.
So what should you do on Linkedin instead (besides connect with me)? Make genuine connections, engage in real conversations, build stronger relationships, and publish your thoughts.
Stick to inbound marketing and leave the spammy messaging to the telemarketers.
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