LinkedIn has always been proud of the fact that they are neither Facebook nor Twitter. Since its beginning, the company has prided itself on being career-focused. So, they were not concerned with things most social platforms desire. For example, “explosive viral growth” is not in the interest of LinkedIn.
In fact, some of their policies seem to prevent users from becoming “too big”. Read these 6 things few people know about LinkedIn to learn how and why they do what they do.
1. There is a limit on the number of connections you can have
That’s right. Remember all those connection invites you blindly accepted at the beginning of your LinkedIn account from all over the world? You knew then that they had nothing to do with your career, but you accepted anyway. You wanted to be social. You never knew what could happen. Well, once you hit 30,000 connections you can no longer accept connection invites.
LinkedIn’s reasoning: “This limit was set to keep LinkedIn working smoothly for all our members. Exceedingly large networks impact site reliability and member experience.”
So, if you were planning on going viral with your connections, think again. It looks like you will just have to work on your followers. There is no limit on the number of people who can follow you.
2. You can get your account restricted for tagging the wrong people
Maybe that reads a bit harsh, but it has happened. If you tag a person in a post and the following happens:
- It upsets the person you tagged
- The person complains to LinkedIn
They will either suspend your account briefly or remove the post entirely. There will not be a warning. It will just happen and you will have to write to LinkedIn to find out why.
- LinkedIn reasoning: (Note the picture. Being more specific than “violating terms of service”, in short, do not tag people if you do not know whether or not they want to be tagged.)
3. Don’t even think of posting about a competing business model
The reality is 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to screen candidates. Therefore, recruiters are some of the most important people on LinkedIn. It should come as no surprise to anyone that when a friend posted about his idea for a business that involved recruiters networking, the post was quietly removed from the feeds of his connections; mostly recruiters.
- LinkedIn never gave any reasoning as to why this happened.
Still, I would be naive to say, “I don’t know why.” It is just business, even if not always a very social type of social media platform.
4. You have a limit on the number of searches you can do
Recently, after 10 years of having a LinkedIn account, I found out there is a limit on the number of searches I can do before sending messages. Why did this happen? I went from using LinkedIn as “Mr. Job Seeker” to “Mr. Commercial User” of LinkedIn.
LinkedIn reasoning: “If you reach the commercial use limit, your activity on LinkedIn indicates that you're likely using LinkedIn for commercial use, like hiring or prospecting. This limit is calculated based on your search activity since the first of the calendar month.”
In short, I went from finding jobs for myself to finding jobs for others at Find My Profession. My activity looked like that of a person working for a company. Now, LinkedIn would prefer I pay to use their Premium services.
5. The invitation limit for LinkedIn applies to people, not robots
LinkedIn states the following in their LinkedIn Help section:
“If you've sent a large number of invitations, your account may be limited from inviting more members. This is generally due to many of your invitations being rejected or ignored by the members you've invited.”
This makes sense, but what about auto-invites?
I have more than 22,000 emails on my phone from a Gmail account. When I uploaded the LinkedIn app some years ago, I made the mistake of syncing my email data to the LinkedIn app.
The LinkedIn app then went about inviting all the people in this 22,000-sized email list to connect with me. I know this because of the people who accepted. Lots of them did and I have no idea how many were ignored or rejected. I also know the email list contains some people who do not like me. Some days, I get messages that people accepted my invitation to connect and I have no idea when/if I sent the invite.
However, at no time in the last decade have I ever been told by LinkedIn that I sent too many invites. From 2007 to 2018, I can safely estimate my account has sent more than 28,000 invites, automated and sent by me. I realize some of these folks were invited to create LinkedIn accounts, first.
So, spamming is not ok once you have an account. It is ok when LinkedIn uses your account to do it for you.
6. Tagging people you do not know will get your account restricted
We already know that tagging people maliciously will get your account restricted. So, what about tagging people you do not know, even when the intention is positive?
Recently, a friend explained that she had started a new job and was looking for people to connect with that would be interested in her new role. She posted and tagged a few people that were offering grants to nonprofit organizations. She had just become president of an NPO that could use the grant money, and to her, it made sense to reach out.
Although tagging people looking to do business with you sounds like common sense, if you do not know them, your account can get restricted.
Why most of these things can only be discovered without warning
We all have ideas on how to use LinkedIn effectively, but rarely do we stop and ask, “Is this permitted?” Above all, let’s be honest: No one reads a Terms of Service section until they make mistakes.
When you do, you find out the world of social media platforms is complex and LinkedIn’s struggle to never become Facebook requires stopping certain behaviors, more than allowing everyone to do whatever they want.
LinkedIn is still, above all, the best tool for connecting with companies and finding work. However, some discretion is required to achieve a balance between “too much” and “not enough”.