If you have been a “power user” of LinkedIn, you have probably crossed a red line that you know little or nothing about. As a job seeker, I attended classes on how to get the most out of LinkedIn. If you applied all the tips you learned, you would quickly build a network of several 1,000 contacts. That’s the point, isn’t it? I need a job. All my friends in the workforce are not helping me or I would not be searching LinkedIn for new “friends”. Now, suddenly, I get an email from LinkedIn stating that they are going to shut down my account if I get any more invitations rejected.
That has to make you wonder how you are supposed to use LinkedIn as a sales tool (as they often promote it), if you can not reach out to people you do not currently know?
Here’s the deal. LinkedIn needs to be careful that it does not become a spammer’s tool. That will ruin the whole appeal and value of LinkedIn…which will crater their share price, and I am sure that Reid Hoffman would hate to see that happen. They need to make sure that everyone on LinkedIn is connecting to someone they have something in common with. You know them (and have their email address) or went to school with them or worked at the same company as they did or you belong to the same interest groups.
What has worked for me, and my overly active friends, is simple. Respond to LinkedIn’s warning email, politely. Explain the reason why you are connecting to so many people who do not know you. Give them a sample of the message you send with the invitation.
The message you use when inviting a stranger to connect with you needs to be more than the standard “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” I always explained that I was moving into a new industry and was building a new network. About 5% of the people I asked to connect, actually connected. That means I was getting turned down a lot.
As long as you have a logical reason for connecting to a lot of people, and that logical reason can not be “To spam everyone daily with a plea to let me do their SEO”, then LinkedIn will probably see your activities as a proper use of LinkedIn. As long as you can convince LinkedIn that you are not going to start abusing your LinkedIn connections, they will probably leave you alone.
Good Luck and Godspeed.