Last week as I was posting a message in a LinkedIn group, I saw an update from LinkedIn posted within the group. I was certainly not prepared for what I read, but I was very disappointed to read that LinkedIn has capped the number of people you can message in a group, and done so in a big way.
Prior to this change, you were allowed to 100 messages per day to fellow group members that you were not connected to at a first level. Now, you can only send 15 messages per month to this same group of people.
Here is a screenshot from LinkedIn:
Why Did LinkedIn Make This Change?
LinkedIn is a publicly traded company (NYSE:LNKD) and has to make money for it’s shareholders. Like many companies, they have done a great job in building a massive subscriber base (now over 364 million subscribers worldwide) and it’s time to monetize. LinkedIn sells ads, but I have never heard anyone rave about them. They also sell paid subscriptions, but prior to this change, you really did not need to have a paid subscription to leverage LinkedIn. I can only speculate that one of the goals is to get more people to upgrade to paid accounts and also to use their new sales prospecting tool called LinkedIn Sales Navigator (which always makes me think of Lincoln Navigator). 🙂
I am sure they were also aware of the third party tools that were leveraging this feature and allowing people to send automated messages using third party software tools. They likely saw that as a missed opportunity and money on the table. It reminds me of when Southwest Airlines shut down the third party companies that sold “A Passes” (I remember this well because I used to own one of those companies.) I am sure this is a big blow to these companies who stand to lose lots of money, and not just the users (like me).
How Can You Best Use LinkedIn in Light of This Change?
The reason it impacted me so much was that I am one of those who actually sent about 100 message per day using a third party tool. And it worked great. I would create a message, queue it up, hit send, and watch the replies come in. I will miss how easy that was, but I certainly won’t let that stop me from using LinkedIn.
My recommendations are:
1. Make sure you have a rock solid profile. This should include having your contact information (and a professional photo) on your profile and a free offer (a free consult, a free download, etc.) to give people an incentive to connect with you.
2. Leverage those 15 group messages. Many people (probably most people) are not leveraging the group message feature. Target 15 people per month that you want to connect with. And don’t just use that to make a connection, be sincere and tell them why you want to connect. Seek to serve them first instead of pitching them and you will see your response rate will be far above average.
3. Post regular updates. Make sure you post status updates (daily if possible) and get involved in groups. You can still post group messages that the members can see and sometimes they are highlighted in the recap emails.
4. Start a group. Did you know that as a group owner, you can send a weekly message to all of the group members? Until that changes, that is something I would leverage to reach your target audience.
5. Test LinkedIn Premium. You never know how it will work for you until you test it. My strong advice is to make sure to use all of your InMails (the messages you are allowed to send to non first level connections.) Be intentional and use them wisely. Most of all, track your return on investment.
Do you have any thoughts on the most recent LinkedIn update? If so, feel free to comment below.