Using Automation Software on LinkedIn. Don’t. Here’s Why.


I get emails all the time from companies that sell browser extensions and apps for use on LinkedIn. The idea is that you can automate and scale up your interaction with others by getting the extension or app to do the work for you. They will do things like view profiles, invite people with certain keywords in their profiles or titles to connect, automatically send them welcome messages when they accept, automatically endorse them, automatically send them congratulatory messages when they have a work anniversary or change jobs, and automatically send sales messages to large swaths of your connections.

The result is you can have a lovely and productive relationship with a connection without ever having to go to the trouble of really being aware of who they are. 

But these tools – all of these tools – contravene the user agreement you have with LinkedIn.

As in these parts:

8.2. Don’ts. You agree that you will not:

  • Scrape or copy profiles and information of others through any means (including crawlers, browser plugins and add-ons, and any other technology or manual work);
  • Use manual or automated software, devices, scripts robots, other means or processes to access, “scrape,” “crawl” or “spider” the Services or any related data or information;
  • Use bots or other automated methods to access the Services, add or download contacts, send or redirect messages;

The bottom line is that anyone telling you that automatic scraping or viewing tools  are a good idea is someone who is not doing you a favor.

And doesn’t anyone else find it ironic when these companies say: “We will automatically look at 500 profiles, scrape the data from the profiles, then  automatically accept invitations to connect sent your way, and send the new connection a welcome message. It’s the ultimate in social selling!”  

Wait a second, where was the social part? How social is it when you are starting off your relationship with someone by conning them?

Quite frankly, the use of automation software cheapens the user experience for everyone on LinkedIn. They introduce an element of doubt in your interactions with people. Is that really you that sent that message or your bot? Was that you that sent me a “welcome to my LinkedIn network” message or a browser extension? If I send a real message of thanks to someone who commented on one of my posts, will they see the headline and just assume it as another piece of app-generated spam?

Don’t get tempted by the idea of using automation on LinkedIn. LinkedIn doesn’t like it, and it puts your focus on numbers. And numbers don’t have relationships with you, people do.