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How to avoid being locked out of LinkedIn

LinkedIn has suffered criticism recently: even members that have paid to upgrade are being penalised for using their accounts in a way in which LinkedIn deems inappropriate. So what are the main causes of being locked out of LinkedIn and how can you avoid it happening to you?

LinkedIn as a marketing platform is brilliant – it is my most-used online networking platform within the work environment. However, recently people have shared problems with me and made me realise the severity of having your account ‘restricted’ on LinkedIn – sometimes for good reason.

Connecting with people you don’t know

LinkedIn is about engaging, but you should only be connecting to and engaging with people you know or would like to get to know – people in your industry and who share the same groups are people you want to connect with but may not know personally.

Send them a personal message explaining who you are and why you want to connect to avoid being locked out. It’s easy to solve using the web version – the LinkedIn app however makes it too easy. On the mobile app you tap the blue connection box and a request is sent straight away.

This is different from the website version, where you have the option to highlight how you know the person and to send them a personal message along with your request. LinkedIn can penalise you for connecting to too many people they deem you don’t know.

Posting copyrighted content to forums

This won’t get you banned, but LinkedIn could remove your content and close down your group or company page if content is flagged to be copyrighted.

You can avoid this by creating your own interesting and relevant content for people to engage with. If you have found a fantastic article that is relevant to your sector and that you wish to share, make sure you reference and give credit to the original author.

Using LinkedIn messages as an email marketing service

Just don’t use the messages for mass emailing! It’s not what it’s designed for and it will definitely get you booted off.

‘Selling’ on Linkedin

If you’ve built up a big, influential network on Linkedin then well done – just don’t try and sell. Use it to engage and share your content and grow your network further. 

Use LinkedIn to demonstrate your expertise. Ask questions: ‘Can anyone recommend a demolition contractor in the North-west?’ or ‘What is the best media library system for the construction industry?’ 

Once you are interacting in groups by participating in discussions, recommending, reviewing and sharing information with others (including those that you are not connected to) others will recognise that you are an expert in your field and will value your opinion.

Impersonating another company

It goes without saying that if you impersonate your competitors you are going to get banned. When you set up a company page make sure the email address is someone that works for the company and not a personal email. 

The company profile on LinkedIn is a powerful tool that allows your clients and contacts to recommend your company’s products and services (different to a personal recommendation). The profile should therefore demonstrate an in-depth portfolio of your organisations products/services and a showcase for your marcomms materials.

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A well-optimised personal and company profile on LinkedIn will enable industry professionals to share your online marcomms and point users to your site. 

You should link your personal and company profile to your other social media profiles. If in doubt, take a look at others that are using LinkedIn successfully. 

It is easy to see how they are using LinkedIn for marketing purposes; better still, you can spend more time starting conversations on LinkedIn that convert into new business.

Kirstie Colledge is a committee member for CIMCIG and managing director of SMPR (Simply Marcomms PR), the online PR and digital communications agency for the construction industry

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