Why LinkedIn automation?
LinkedIn automation was designed to automate tedious ‘early stage’ networking activities - like visiting profiles, sending out connection requests and messages - so that you could establish a meaningful relationship with qualified prospects more quickly and without taking up too much of your valuable time.
Using automation, you get more qualified leads and can focus your time on ‘later stage’ lead funnel activities that close the deal.
No wonder Dux-Soup, as the leading (70,000+ users) and most trusted LinkedIn automation tool, has long been a favourite of entrepreneurs, recruiters, digital agencies, sales and marketing professionals.
What’s the rub?
But, go onto any growth hacking or lead generation group / chat room and you’ll invariably see posts from concerned LinkedIn automation users (or potential users) about the safety of these tools. They are seeking the opinion of other users, which is of course a useful thing to do.
But, the flaw with canvassing this opinion is that ‘how’ you use these automation tools is a defining factor in whether they are deemed safe or not. Invariably, opinions are conflicted - because the way and extent to which people use LinkedIn automation can vary dramatically.
So, some will have horror stories of permanent bans and disrupted lead generation, while others can’t sing their praises enough.
Let’s clear this up
LinkedIn have technical and behavioural detection - the results of which determine whether they take action against you.
Sticking with behavioural detection for now - LinkedIn can recognise non-human behaviour in your profile activity.
As Tyron Giuliani, LinkedIn expert and Founder of Selling Made Social commented in a recent webinar on ‘Doubling your Sales Funnel with LinkedIn automation’ - out of the hundreds of clients he’s coached on Dux-Soup over the years only two have had a temporary suspension. And that was because they went mad with the tool (against his and Dux-Soup guidelines) in the first few days of using it.
Dux-Soup has long taken this into account (which is why we’re the most long established and trusted LinkedIn automation tool). We know that the behaviour of your account can attract suspicion and needs to be addressed, not whether your tool of choice is cloud based or a Chrome extension.
Moving to technical detection - of course we’re not going to give away our secret sauce in this blog, but rest assured that Dux-Soup has also implemented sophisticated anti-detection functions (gained from our vast experience) which are updated continuously to avoid users running into any trouble with LinkedIn.
The Dux-Soup advantage
Dux-Soup is a Chrome extension that mimics human prospecting behaviour on LinkedIn. It relies on your browser-session with LinkedIn, and gives you complete visibility and control over the actions it takes on your behalf. This way, you don’t have to share your LinkedIn login details, and you can be sure that there is no access to your account from anywhere but your own, standard, web browser.
In fact it can be argued (and being Dux-Soup we do, and with 70,000+ users we can) that automating user activity in your browser, instead of accessing LinkedIn via foreign servers and closed APIs, is inherently safer and more within the spirit of LinkedIn terms of service. It’s also more intuitive, has more robust functionality and potential - but we won’t go there now!
We want our users accounts to stay safe. That’s our #1 priority and the reason Dux-Soup has been around nearly 8 years.
For that reason we wanted to write this blog. Firstly, to set the record straight for those worried about using an automation tool to scale and accelerate their lead generation.
But to also show how to use a LinkedIn automation tool effectively and without any risk to your profile.
From time to time we see an increase in emails and calls about LinkedIn warning notifications and the threat of bans.
It’s true that LinkedIn changes its algorithms all the time. Tweaking and changing them as most social networking platforms do - without informing the user.
But, it’s important to reiterate that Dux-Soup mimics human-like behaviour, and there is no reason to stop using it as long as you are using it responsibly and within the guidance that we give. Our pre-set limits and guidance are there to ensure your LinkedIn profile is not compromised as you find and engage with prospects.
Using LinkedIn automation safely
LinkedIn doesn’t share its restriction algorithm, so we can’t tell you the exact ‘rules’ of how to avoid getting the warning or restriction.
But - as the most established, trusted and biggest player in this space - we know that you need to manage the following things appropriately in order to keep your profile safe:
- The total number of connection requests you send per day
- The total number of profiles you view per day
- Your network size or the total number of your current 1st-degree connections.
- How many people have marked you as “I don’t know this person”
- Suspicious behaviour / sudden changes
- ‘Conversion rate’ i.e. % of people that accept your requests
- Paid or free LinkedIn account
- How many messages have you had marked as ‘spam’
- No. of outstanding invites (how quickly this list grows)
- A number of previous warnings you already received
**Spoiler alert - Dux-Soup can actually manage all these for you automatically and within safe limits**
Couple of things before you start
We’ll talk about each of these bullet points more but, before we do, a couple of fundamental things to think about before starting your lead generation campaign:
- Optimize your LinkedIn Profile so it is well organised and meaningful to your potential leads. This is the place where you showcase your products and services, and list achievements, successes and skills. With an optimized profile, you will have a better chance of connecting with people you want to do business with.
- Automate your personalized connection request in Dux-Soup Options, Actions tab:
So, back to our list of things to do to keep your profile safe when you use automation.
Connection requests vs. network size
There are no hard and fast rules set by LinkedIn for the number of connection requests you can send.
But, as a best practice (and to keep within recommended LinkedIn guidelines) we advise sending connection requests to between no more than 3-5% of the number of all your connections.
- For example, if you have 1000 connections in total, we recommend you send no more than 50 requests. Once your 1st-degree network grows, you can gradually increase your daily connection limit.
However, we don’t recommend that you suddenly start to send 50 requests for 30 straight days in a row if you’ve never had this strategy before. This change in behaviour patterns will alert LinkedIn detection.
If you’ve just started lead generation campaigns, we recommend sending as little as 10-25 requests per day and gradually increase this number as your acceptance rate increases.
If you have already been using automation or actively using LinkedIn and sending connection requests, the starting point can be much higher (up to the 5%). Either way it should tally with the size of your network and previous usage.
Here are some great LinkedIn automation case studies showing how Dux users built up their lead generation campaigns with amazing results. Read a couple if you’re new to the world of automation.
Profile visits and direct message limits
Sometimes, you may be tempted to push the limits to achieve quick results. But, as a rule, we highly recommend staying under LinkedIn limits. That way your account won’t draw unwanted attention.
**Also, remember that you need to be able to deal in a timely manner with the follow up once people have engaged with you. Factor this in and you might well realise that starting with lower automation volumes allows you to get used to and manage the process better. If you have no time to properly follow up qualified prospects that respond (because your initial volumes were too high) then your hard work will be wasted.**
By default, Dux-Soup is configured to stay below the free Standard LinkedIn account’s allowance (100 visits per day).
Don’t forget the guidance we already gave but, if you have a Premium account or Sales Navigator you can override this by going to the Dux-Soup Options panel, Throttling tab and checking the “Check to confirm you understand the risk” box.
You will then be able to select the limit you want from the drop-down.
If you have a free LinkedIn account, you can visit or send a direct message to up to 100 profiles a day (as noted above, this is the default setting).
A Business Premium account will let you visit or message around 250 profiles a day and for Sales Navigator - 500 profiles a day. You can override the default to match these suggested limits.
Important Note: If you run Dux-Soup in order to connect with a profile, or message your 1st-degree connection, Dux-Soup will visit the profile first. Therefore, sending connection requests or direct messages adds to the daily visit limit. The same applies to automated follow-up messages - Dux-Soup visits the profile and then sends a follow-up.
I don’t know this person
For LinkedIn, a profile marked as “I don’t know this person” is equivalent to “Spam”. Receiving 5-7 marks like this can attract the attention of LinkedIn and your account can be restricted from sending invitations to others.
To prevent this from happening make sure you send a friendly and personalized connection request. If you write your message in this way, prospects are not likely to report you, even if they don’t choose to connect.
With Dux-Soup, you can personalize your message using message markers such as:
Taking a step back from the message itself, It’s also crucial to be selective with your search criteria to ensure interaction/content is relevant to your target audience.
LinkedIn users are more likely to accept your connection request if they see the relevance in the connection - for example, if they are a 2nd degree connection they are more likely to accept as you have a shared connection. This useful blog about using LinkedIn search tools can help you to find your target audience within LinkedIn. Or check out the Dux-Soup Turbo integration with LeadFuze for even more scope with targeted list building.
Suspicious behaviour / sudden changes
LinkedIn doesn’t encourage any sort of automation tool usage. There are reasons why this is the case, but also good reasons why responsible use of automation can be extremely beneficial to accelerate lead generation - through using the platform exactly as it was intended but just speeding up the process.
As we said before, rest assured that Dux-Soup has implemented anti-detection functions which are updated continuously to avoid users running into any trouble with LinkedIn.
As also mentioned before, Dux-Soup is a Chrome extension that mimics human-like prospecting behaviour on LinkedIn. There is no way for LinkedIn to detect Dux-Soup unless you interrupt its work by:
- Browsing profiles manually at the same time*
- Increasing the robot’s speed
*Avoid browsing LinkedIn manually while Dux-Soup runs (even using a different device!).
Another trigger point for LinkedIn is a sudden increase or change in LinkedIn engagement.
So, if you rarely use LinkedIn, don’t suddenly start to visit hundreds of profiles and send 100 connection requests per day. This will attract LinkedIn’s suspicion as your behaviour has suddenly changed - indicating the use of automation
Instead start off small and build up gradually, as if you are getting used to the LinkedIn platform. Once you’ve done this you can then start with larger volumes.
Lead generation should be well planned, continuous and within the limits and guidelines we recommend.
To make sure that your lead generation runs smoothly, one of the most important things you need to do is cancel pending connection requests on a regular basis - to see how click here.
Having too many pending requests can be a massive red flag to LinkedIn, indicating you are attempting to contact people you don’t know.
As LinkedIn recently removed the ability to cancel pending invites in batches, Dux-Soup has integrated this feature available in Options, Actions tab:
To find more details about how this works, click here.
Advice when you get a warning
Finally, if you do receive a warning from LinkedIn or get your account restricted, don't panic!
There are several different restrictions you might receive. For example, you might receive “You’re out of invitations for now”.
LinkedIn mentions the following reasons why your account can be restricted from sending invitations to people:
- You've sent many invitations within a short amount of time
- Many of your invitations have been ignored or left pending by the recipients
If you’re restricted from sending more invitations, wait for 24 hours before you try again. Most restrictions will automatically be removed within 1-2 days. And try to withdraw as many pending invitations as possible before attempting to send another invitation.
Note: You won’t be able to resend withdrawn invitations to the same recipient for up to three weeks.
If you’ve been restricted for being flagged too many times with “I do not know this person” it is likely that LinkedIn is now requiring you to enter in the email address for each and every person you send a connection request to.
In this case, we advise that you clear your outstanding connection requests and wait for 48 hours. If the restriction is not lifted automatically, you can send LinkedIn Support a message acknowledging this restriction and politely asking them if they will lift it.
You could even explain that you will be more diligent in targeting your connection requests in the future so that this doesn’t happen again.
If your account has been restricted, you can appeal your case and LinkedIn will review your account. To begin the appeal process, you can log into your account and follow the onscreen messaging or reply to the message you received that provided notice of restriction.
For best results be concise, patient and most importantly, polite in your interactions. We also recommend that you DON’T mention Dux-Soup in any correspondence.
To verify your account, LinkedIn asks you to upload a scan of your personal ID card or a passport. Unfortunately, you cannot get around this step if you want your account back but LinkedIn assures users that it's safe.
Once you are back on track, you should then be able to use Dux-Soup again as normal. We recommend you also reset Dux-Soup to the default settings by clicking on “Reset” at the bottom of the Dux-Soup options panel.
And remember, avoid using LinkedIn manually while the robot runs.
Watch our handy webinar to learn more
We’ve recorded a webinar that demonstrates all of these guidelines on how to keep safe. Giles Garnett, Head of Professional Services shares tips and tricks for staying safe, within LinkedIn fair usage guidelines - for hassle-free lead gen.
As the most trusted (7 years and counting) and established LinkedIn automation tool, Dux-Soup is your best bet to stay safe on LinkedIn (whatever the new kids on the block might say!).
An encyclopaedic understanding of how LinkedIn works, guidance to users and the benefits of being a LinkedIn Chrome extension all back up this claim.
But - always keep in mind that LinkedIn is a social selling platform and that you are dealing with another real, live person when prospecting on LinkedIn.
Staying within Dux-Soup guidelines outlined in this article will ensure that your automated behaviour is as natural as possible, non spammy and within LinkedIn fair usage.
Trust us, you won’t get banned if you do this. But your lead generation will sky rocket!
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