Times are a-changin’ over at LinkedIn.
The social media giant has restricted the number of connection requests you can send to around 100 each week.
We know many advisers and planners have strong opinions about LinkedIn; some love it and use it effectively to attract new clients, others hate it (in reality they hate the way some people use it, not the platform itself, but that’s a subject for another time). Either way, the change will affect you, so read on to find out how.
Restricting invites to improve the user experience
Previously, the maximum number of connection requests you could send depended on several factors including the proportion of people who accepted your request, the plan you subscribe to, and your activity on the platform.
For some people, this meant that there was almost no limit to the number of connection requests they could send. It’s something spammers and scammers took full advantage of.
To solve this problem, LinkedIn seems to have introduced a blanket limit of around 100 connection requests per week. We say “seems” because LinkedIn hasn’t officially confirmed the change. However primary and secondary research leaves us in little doubt that it has been introduced.
Once you have reached the limit a warning message will appear and no more connection requests can be sent until the system resets at the start of a new week. The warning isn’t a ban, as all other LinkedIn functionality will be available. You just won’t be able to send out any further connection requests until the system resets.
Finding a way around the limit
If you’re hoping there’s an easy way around the limit, you’re going to be disappointed. There isn’t. It applies to everyone, no matter which subscription you have or how well you use LinkedIn. Everyone, from scammers and spammers to those using it as they should, are all in the same boat.
That said, we wouldn’t be surprised if this changes in the future. Unlike other social media platforms, LinkedIn makes most of its money from subscription revenue, not ads. It isn’t a massive leap to think that, in the future, the number of connection requests you can send will be linked to how much you pay them.
For now, though, that’s supposition. Back to reality…
If you hit the limit, the only option is to wait for the restriction to be lifted, presumably up to seven days later. Furthermore, (and unhelpfully) you won’t receive a notification when the system resets. So, it’s a case of waiting a few days then sending a connection request and hoping for the best.
As an aside, we’ve seen some reports which suggest that inviting people to connect by email (having uploaded their data to LinkedIn) gets around the ban. We’ve not tried that though so can’t comment on the effectiveness or, indeed, legitimacy of this approach.
Celebrations or commiserations?
LinkedIn has made the change in response to increasing disquiet among users about the levels of spam on the platform. The way you react will probably depend on your existing view of the platform and the reason you use it.
If you get annoyed by unsolicited connection requests, you will probably welcome the change. Indeed, most people commenting on the change on social media seem to support the new limit.
People who send out large numbers of connection requests to build their audience are more likely to view the change negatively fearing that it will restrict the pace at which they gain new connections. We disagree and feel that even for this group of people it’s probably good news.
The ban will reduce the noise and the sheer volume of connection requests many of us get. That means respectful and carefully targeted requests, which focus on the benefit to the recipient of accepting, are more likely to be accepted.
5 top tips for sending successful connection requests
If your target client uses LinkedIn its sheer size (26 million users in the UK alone, 71% of whom log in at least once a week) means it offers tremendous opportunities.
It’s also worth remembering that not every unsolicited request should be seen as spam. It isn’t. Indeed, it can be a great way of extending your network, especially when physical events are currently restricted.
So, following the new restrictions, you have to use your connection requests wisely. Here are five top tips to increase the chances of them being accepted:
- Only send carefully targeted connection requests. LinkedIn provides a range of filters that you should use to make sure you’re sending connection requests to the right people.
- Always review someone’s profile before sending a connection, it helps you target the right people and shows that you’re interested in them.
- Active LinkedIn users are more likely to connect, so start there.
- Add a personalised message to your connection request. Your message should explain your motivation for connecting, why they should accept (what’s in it for them) and reassurance that you’re not going to follow up with a sales message (when you don’t, they will be pleasantly surprised).
- Build a great profile and add value in advance. Someone you invite to connect may visit your profile before deciding whether to accept. If they see a well-constructed profile, and regular posts which would add value to them, they’re more likely to hit ‘accept’.
Build and own your audience
There’s no reason why everyone can’t welcome this move by LinkedIn.
People who characterise all unsolicited connection requests as spam will be happy, while those using the platform correctly shouldn’t see significant issues as a result of this change.
However, the new invite limit is a stark reminder of the benefits of staying in control, both in how you build and communicate with your audience. It demonstrates how a third party can make a change, which is completely out of your control and could impact how you build your audience.
That’s a lesson we should all keep in mind when we’re planning our marketing strategy.