EXTRA! EXTRA! LinkedIn Limits Group Member Messages

By LinkedIn Ninja | Latest Articles

Jun 29

???????????????????

For about the past two months, those LinkedIn members who are very active with their groups and in sending group member to group member messages have found that they suddenly were unable to send such messages. The ability to send group members you are not connected to a message has been one of the most powerful features for free and premium members alike since the inception of LinkedIn groups.

Some of the first few people who suddenly found they were no longer able to send these messages turned to the LinkedIn Help Forum to find out what was happening and to share the response they received from LinkedIn in explaining this sudden turn of events to their account activity. It didn’t matter if you were free or premium, and those paying were extra specially perturbed. You can read all of the comments and see the evolution of LinkedIn’s responses here: http://community.linkedin.com/questions/323652/you-are-no-longer-authorized-to-message-this-membe-5.html#answer-335674

Today, one of the participants received a definitive answer. LinkedIn is limiting the number of group member to group member messages that anyone can send to 15 per month. On the first day of the new month, your allotment will renew. This limit EVEN AFFECTS group owners and managers who need to be able to communicate directly with their group members if they are posting inappropriate content or breaking the rules.

Why is LinkedIn Doing This?

Two reasons…First, people have abused it and LinkedIn has mentioned that as a primary motivation. The second (in my opinion), is to get more people to upgrade to premium and companies to use sponsored InMail messages to have LinkedIn deliver this promotional information.

Using the group member messaging option has been a very powerful tool for me and my clients (it even helped me land my book deal). Using these messages for sales or promotional messages has been controversial and many people are against it. That’s because most people have done it wrong.

Each of these messages takes several steps to launch and must be done individually; it’s time consuming. People have hired low cost labor to just go into a group focused on the target market and just go down the member list indiscriminately sending the message to as many group members as possible. The problem is that it is unlikely that EVERY person in the group is a fit for your offer. I’ve even received messages from people telling me that they looked at my profile and thought I was a good candidate for a free webinar to teach me how to be more successful with LinkedIn. They obviously didn’t look at my profile and I wasn’t a good fit.

The second method is with the use of third party software that uses bots to launch hundreds of these messages against LinkedIn’s terms of service (like Mojo Global). The software automatically launches these messages without you reviewing or selecting appropriate recipients.That means there is a high probability that the messages are going to inappropriate people.

Those two methods are what drive people crazy because the messages are not only not wanted, they are irrelevant. There are always going to be people who hate any kind of advertising and promotion, but the vast majority don’t mind a custom-tailored, well-targeted marketing or sales message being sent to them.

Don’t believe me? LinkedIn’s own Koka Sexton held a LinkedIn Poll on this very question 2 years ago (before we lost the ability to poll too). Look at the results:

LinkedIn Poll - Do Solicitations Bother You

 

 

 

Less than a third said they were bothered by unsolicited messages. The primary qualifier was whether the products or services offered were relevant.

Those of us who have used this strategy selectively and with relevance and authenticity and gotten positive responses from the recipients, have lost a great tool. When used responsibly, it is not seen as spam by recipients. I have turned down clients wanting guidance on using this strategy inappropriately for mass promotion without interest in relationship development.

We now have only 15 of such messages to utilize each month, which means we will need to be even more selective in their use. You will need to focus such communications on quality business potential and not quantity. For those who want quantity promotion to prospects, you’re going to have to pay the piper…LinkedIn.

One potentially bad, big picture consequence to this change, is that it’s going to push more people to open network and connect more indiscriminately. Just when the tide was changing against open networking, we may see a shift back. I believe in building a network with purpose and not just with numbers. But if you can only message people you’re connected to and you want to message a lot of people, then you’ll need to connect to lots of people. LinkedIn is pushing people to act contrary to their own philosophy of connecting to only people with whom you have a relationship.

Did you use this feature? Will the loss of it affect your continued use LinkedIn in any way?

This article was originally published in Pulse. You can see it here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/extra-linkedin-limits-group-member-messages-crystal-thies

*************

 

Need some help with LinkedIn? Take advantage of our FREE Webinar:
7 LinkedIn Mistakes that Kill Sales, and What to Do Instead

RedClickHere  To See the Schedule and Register!

Follow

About the Author

Crystal Thies has been known as the LinkedIn Ninja since founding her company, Crystal Clear Buzz, in 2009. Although well versed and experienced in all social media, Crystal specializes in the utilization of LinkedIn for sales and business development. As a past financial planner, Crystal is one of the few social media strategists with expertise to work with those regulated by FINRA, the SEC, and IIROC. She is the co-author of “The Social Media Handbook for Financial Advisors” published by Bloomberg Press.

Leave a Comment:

(8) comments

Chantal September 1, 2015

I’m interested in knowing a little more about what you knowthink about Mojo Global. I received a marketing message from them through LinkedIn and, out of curiosity, decided to get more information. From what you mentioned above, and if I understand the nuance well, you can target people with keywords but are not able to customize anything for some people the message is sent to, right?

Do you think LinkedIn might eventually react to third party software bypassing their terms of service? This might mean users getting in trouble for using such software.

Thanks for your input!

Reply
    LinkedIn Ninja September 1, 2015

    Chantal,

    Software like Mojo Global are the reason that LinkedIn has imposed this limit. Software like this are the “bots” that I refer to. They do not use LinkedIn’s APIs so LinkedIn can’t stop them. They are built on top of a browser. They are forbidden in the terms of service. So if you use them, then you are breaking the terms of service and could lose your account.

    With the new 15 message limit, those types of software will likely to be limited to mass inviting.

    I do believe that the strategies that these types of software are attempting to automate can be very valuable and they are very time consuming. However, this type of automation does not allow you to strategically select the right people. If you’ve ever run a search, you likely see that there are people whose profiles meet your search criteria but who are not a target prospect. Without that level of control, the bot is sending inappropriate messages and invites to some of the wrong people. If they report you for spam or IDK, then your account is in jeopardy yet again.

    These strategies are things that are worth hiring people to help you with. Yes, them logging into your account is also a breach of LinkedIn’s terms of service, but with VPN software, you can limit the risk. Additionally, if your account is acting appropriately, LinkedIn shouldn’t be as worried about it.

    I hope that helps!

    Reply
Mary Jones August 24, 2015

I don’t think it is a good move by LinkedIn, It will hurt the linkedIn in long term,
Or they should launch new premium account for group messaging feature.

Any other social platform is giving the group member feature?

Reply
Alice June 29, 2015

Hi Crystal,

Is is 15 messages sent per one or all groups?

Because if it is 15 msgs per group it is still not bad as you cam have 50 active groups 🙂

Thanks,

Alice

Reply
    LinkedIn Ninja June 29, 2015

    Alice – It’s 15 messages total across all 50 LinkedIn groups.

    Reply
    Alice June 29, 2015

    That’s a shame! Thanks for clarifying Crystal.

    Reply
    Katie September 17, 2015

    As a group manager, I use the message feature to respond to requests-to-join when the affiliation to the university cannot be verified. With a group of nearly 25,000 members, we hit 15 messages in the first few days of the month. We will try a work-around using the automated message function tied to a declined request. Now instead of leaving requests to join in pending status pending response to a message to collect more information, we’ll have to decline the request and ask them to email us more information for verification. While we may be delivering the same message, the new restrictions force us to decline requests by default, which does not send a welcoming message to alumni seeking to join the group.

    Reply
    LinkedIn Ninja September 21, 2015

    Katie,

    This change is definitely a problem for group owners and they have made their voices loud and clear. However, from how LinkedIn has written the Support article, it is clear that they really don’t care. They specifically say that this limit is for the group owners too. I’m hoping that that is just a temporary until they can figure out the coding to allow group owners to direct message only within the confines of the group membership and join requests without limit. We will have to wait and see.

    Reply
Add Your Reply

Leave a Comment: