The B2B Sales Practice That Can Get Your LinkedIn Restricted
When it comes to lead generation, LinkedIn is all the rage. But could you be putting your profile and reputation at risk?
LinkedIn is a more personal way of selling than emails and even calls. Connections, qualifications, engagements, and professional history are available in just a few clicks. This kind of transparency can help you build rapport and nurture relationships at a higher level, but prospecting through LinkedIn takes more time than most revenue leaders can afford.
So these leaders look for alternatives — and there are a lot of alternatives.
Here, we’ll focus on one alternative, in particular, being embraced as standard practice by several outsourced sales agencies despite the permanent damage it can cause to clients’ LinkedIn profiles.
An alternative we’ll refer to here is LinkedIn spoofing.
What is LinkedIn spoofing?
In this context, LinkedIn spoofing is the process of allowing a third party to manage your LinkedIn profile and act on your behalf for engaging prospects through the sales cycle via connection requests, InMails, endorsements, etc.
This third-party account management process can vary depending on the agency. Some may request your LinkedIn credentials, while others work through an automation tool. Whatever the case, prospects are under the impression that you are the one engaging on the platform.
Why would an outsourced sales agency offer LinkedIn spoofing?
Because email and privacy regulations are tightening, outsourced sales agencies are relying more heavily on LinkedIn prospecting. However, this has proven problematic for offshore SDR teams as decision-makers are less likely to respond to meeting requests from outside North America. In turn, these outsourcing firms are implementing LinkedIn spoofing to improve response and conversion rates.
Is it okay to have someone else manage my personal LinkedIn account?
In short, LinkedIn says, “no.”
According to LinkedIn’s User Agreement, by creating a personal profile, you agree to not “…misrepresent your identity … or attempt to use another’s account.”
Here’s a snippet of the terms.
LinkedIn has a pretty clear policy on account usage, leaving no wiggle room for third-party arrangements.
But what happens if you try to circumvent the system?
Are there any real repercussions, or is it like sharing your Netflix login?
What are the dangers of LinkedIn spoofing?
Many otherwise credible profiles are in a state of LinkedIn Limbo because of account impersonations.
Much like Facebook, LinkedIn deploys powerful algorithms along with their own Social Selling Index (SSI) score to determine the health of an account and detect “unusual” activity.
If Linkedin deems a profile is in violation of the User Agreement, they may restrict the account indefinitely… *gasp*.
While a higher SSI can reduce the chances of being restricted, there is no guarantee it will save an account from harsh and swift judgment in the event of spammy activity.
What does LinkedIn consider “red flag” activities?
You might be asking, “If LinkedIn encourages social selling, what could a third-party possibly do to trigger an account restriction?”
To put this in perspective, we need to remember that LinkedIn is, first and foremost, a social networking platform for professionals. So though LinkedIn recognizes that its platform is a valuable lead generation tool, the overall user experience will always trump seller activity.
Specifically, LinkedIn algorithms and moderators are on the lookout for:
- Activity that signals the use of unauthorized automation tools,
- Lots of connection requests with a low acceptance rate, and
- A large number of “I don’t know this person” invite responses.
In addition, a low SSI score or newer profile could be flagged by logging in from an unknown location as LinkedIn may mark the account as potentially compromised.
What happens if LinkedIn detects activity against their terms and conditions?
As mentioned above, if LinkedIn suspects a violation of terms and conditions, the account will most likely be restricted. The severity of the restriction depends on the severity of the action.
For example, while using an automated tool may result in a temporary suspension with a defined reinstatement date, a more permanent restriction is assigned to impersonated, compromised, or fake accounts.
Can I retrieve a restricted LinkedIn account?
It’s possible, but don’t expect a quick turnaround time.
You will have to go through a verification process and potentially appeal the verdict if customer support does not lift the restriction after proving your identity.
A couple of years ago, a restricted account could be re-activated in 7 days; however, a recent support volume increase had extended the time it takes to receive a response from a LinkedIn agent.
Can I create a second account to avoid putting my personal LinkedIn profile at risk?
Unfortunately, the answer is no, which I know maybe a little irritating. But like a well-meaning parent who crushes every “compromise,” fathomable, LinkedIn is genuinely doing what is best for the community as a whole, whether we like it or not.
You see, if everyone had the freedom to create multiple accounts, then maliciously disguising communication as a trusted source would be all too easy. Then, no one would trust LinkedIn enough even to log on.
To protect members, LinkedIn uses cookie data and IP addresses along with a sophisticated funnel of defense to filter out fake accounts. Other people on LinkedIn may flag your account as well on the discovery of multiple profiles.
Additionally, if more than one account exists, LinkedIn usually restricts all profiles.
What’s the best alternative to LinkedIn spoofing?
The best way to protect your LinkedIn account is to never share access with anyone, no matter the intentions or security protocols in place.
Partnering with an outsourced sales agency that hires North American SDRs eliminates the need for LinkedIn spoofing and can increase your success rate without compromising the integrity of your profile or professional network.
At Martal Group, we ensure our team follows the terms and conditions of each platform we deploy. Through a multichannel outbound approach, our clients’ campaigns, including emails, calls, and LinkedIn messages, are all from the same North American sales executive so your prospects have confidence in the authenticity of your value proposition.
If you’re interested in learning more about how you scale your tech company through our B2B lead generation services, schedule a call with the Martal team today.