“LinkedIn Account Restricted”.. if you are using LinkedIn for lead generation, you can’t afford for this to happen.
Landing yourself in “LinkedIn jail” is a VERY big deal. That said, there is still hope that you can have the account restriction lifted.
But, your best strategy is to now screw around with it in the first place.
Should the worst happen and you find yourself “LinkedIn jail”, I’ll share some pointers on how to avoid getting their in the first place, and how to get out.
Yes, yes we all know LinkedIn is the social media platform of professionals and business people. Professional conduct and behavior are not only expected, but it is also required. So, why use high risk automation tools, for one, when your prospects can see that coming from a mile away?
It is also incredibly important to be respectful in every single interaction you have with other LinkedIn members. There are even a set of LinkedIn Professional Community Policies users are expected to adhere to
Here are examples of conduct or activity that may result in your account being restricted:
- An unusually large number of page views to your page, or from your page
- The name in the profile sounds “fake” (you know who you are)
- Using High Risk Automation Tools and Services
- LinkedIn thinks the account may have been hacked or compromised.
Depending on the violation, you may have content removed or your account restricted. More severe violations can actually have your account restricted permanently.
Just imagine losing all that social capital you’ve worked so hard to build over the years!
Do What LinkedIn Wants to See & Reap the Benefits – Play By The Rules!
LinkedIn has created their own list of dos and don’ts that outline their expectations of behaviour and how you will use their services, which you can find as part of their User Agreement. To help remove any doubt for you about what is and is not acceptable on LinkedIn, here is an overview of their expectations of your use and behaviour on LinkedIn.
Three Tips to Do This:
Always Keep that Personal Page and Profile Page Updated: Make sure all your content is up to date, and consider even hiring a copywriter to position you with authority using professionally trained tactics and writing structure.
Stop Using Automation: There are so many LinkedIn profile restricted messages being sent these days because people are either abusing automation tools or hiring someone else that is doing the damage for them, without the profile owner even knowing.
Use the platform in a professional manner: LinkedIn is a business social media platform where professionals can build relationships. It is not a dating site nor is it a place for mass messaging, and SPAM.
LinkedIn’s list of what NOT to do is significantly longer.
In fact, I have not included the entire Do not list here, as many of them relate to the more technical aspects of the platform, such as attempting to mess with LinkedIn’s source code which is a big, big mistake that has far more serious legal issues attached to it.
The violations I am including below, are ones I have seen a variety of LinkedIn members make. You can see the full list in their user agreement here.
Regardless, violating any of these terms can get your account restricted, and many of them are also unethical.
Create a fake profiles on LinkedIn: Fake accounts, even if they are not created to spam, muddy the network waters, so to speak, for all users.
Disclose information that you do not have the consent to disclose: Quite simply put, do not share info that is not yours to share, whether it is another LinkedIn members or your employers.
Imply you are endorsed by LinkedIn without their express consent: Even if you are a LinkedIn expert, don’t say you are an “accredited LinkedIn trainer” if you aren’t.
Violate or scrape the IP of others: This can include but is not limited to copyrights, patents, trademarks, trade secrets or other proprietary rights. You can “share” someone’s post, but if you want to do more than this, you need to ask their permission.
Use 3rd party software tools or services to scrape information or otherwise copy profiles and other data: Unless you are planning on spamming people, there is no good reason to scrape anyone’s data from their profile.
Five FAQ’s on the “LinkedIn Account Restricted”
1. What does it mean when my LinkedIn account is restricted?
It can be downright scary to find yourself looking at a page that says:
One option is “We’ve Restricted Your Account Temporarily.”
It appears you’re visiting a very high number of pages on LinkedIn with supernatural frequency. We think you may be using an automation tool…
…Please note that engaging further in such activity may result in a permanent restriction on your account.
This is not a message you want to see when you log in to your LinkedIn account.
Thankfully, unless you are using an automation tool, third-party application or website that frequently and systematically retrieves data from your LinkedIn account, this shouldn’t be an issue. But if you have been using an automation tool, whether or not you have seen this message, yet I would advise you to stop using it ASAP.
LinkedIn shares this recommendation when you get the restricted account message:
If your account has been temporarily suspended for excessive page requests, it will automatically be re-enabled at the time specified on the suspension notification. Please be aware that repeated suspensions may result in a permanent restriction of your LinkedIn account.
2. What happens when someone selects “I don’t know this person” option for LinkedIn invitations
When you send a LinkedIn connection request to someone, they can choose to Accept or Ignore your invite.
If they click Ignore, they then will also have the option to select ‘I don’t know this person.’
If you receive an excessive number of ‘I don’t know this person’ responses, your account could be restricted from sending invitations to others, and this will destroy your ability to connect with prospects and expand your network.
There is no way for you to see which recipients, or how many recipients, have selected “I don’t know this person” in response to your invitations.
Thankfully there is a way to prevent this from happening – send a hyper personalized connection request with absolute relevency to the prospect, every single time. Relevancy can be anything from geography, mutual connections and a million other ways to humanize your cold approach.
Keep in mind though, with every new launch, LinkedIn is changing the UX so that it is easier and easier for the user to hit the “I Don’t Know This Person” button. Making it easier and easier for your LinkedIn account to get flagged by the support team.
This one LinkedIn best practice will be the difference between someone clicking Accept or ‘I don’t know this person’ in response to your connection request.
3. What does it mean if I get the “Help us keep conversations on LinkedIn professional” notification
So just what does it mean if your login and see a notification that says:
Help us keep conversations on LinkedIn professional.
This means that you have been flagged for sending messages to your connections that are inappropriate or in violation of LinkedIn’s User Agreement and Community Policies. If you continue to send out these messages, you may be locked out of your account or get a “Linkedin account restricted permanently” message.
If your LinkedIn account has been hacked, report this right away.
4. What do I do if my LinkedIn account is hacked?
It is a very unsettling thing to find out your LinkedIn account has been hacked. I have some idea what that would feel like as years ago my Twitter account was hacked and actually held for ransom. Thankfully I had a client that was personal friends with the CEO of Twitter, and he came to my rescue. I don’t think most of us (myself included) would have this option if our LinkedIn account were hacked.
If you can’t access your LinkedIn account with your login information or you notice that changes are being made to your account, you need to let LinkedIn know right away. You do this by submitting a Reporting Your Hacked Account form as soon as you are able.
Include your LinkedIn profile URL if you know it. A quick way to find it is to google your name (as it is written in your LinkedIn profile). Look for your LinkedIn profile in the search results.
Be sure to complete the form thoroughly. Once LinkedIn has received it, they will verify that it’s your account and then help you regain access.
If you can still log in, but believe you have been hacked, there are some steps that LinkedIn recommends you take immediately:
If you think that someone else has access to your LinkedIn account, but you’re still able to log into your account, please submit the form and immediately take the following actions to protect your account:
- Complete the Reporting Your Hacked Account form.
- Change your password. Make it a strong, random password that you don’t use anywhere else.
- Turn on two-step verification. Even if someone gets your username and password, they will NOT be able to hack your account.
- Review your active sessions. This shows you all of the places that you currently signed into. If you don’t recognize a location or device, be sure to change your password. Make sure you log out all sessions from time to time.
- Review all email addresses and phone numbers on your LinkedIn account. Make sure they are all your and up-to-date, in case they need to send you a link to reset your password.
If you notice that one of your connections has possibly been hacked, you can quickly report this.
1. Go to their profile.
2. Click on the More… button below their name and image.
3. Select Report/Block.
4. Click the option I think this account may have been hacked and click submit.
5. How do I get my LinkedIn account restriction lifted?
If you are dealing with a LinkedIn account restriction or you have had content removed, there is a process you can follow, to appeal this.
To start the appeal process to have the restriction removed, log into your LinkedIn account. Then you will want to follow the on-screen messaging.
If you had content removed, log in and reply to the message that you received that provided notice of the content removal.
If you have been restricted for being flagged too many times with “I do not know this person” it is likely that LinkedIn is not requiring you to enter in the email address for each and every person you send a connection request to. Send LinkedIn a support message acknowledging this restriction and politely asking them if they will lift it. You could even explain that you will be more diligent in personalizing your connection request messages in the future so that this doesn’t happen again.
Getting out of LinkedIn Jail and Avoiding the “LinkedIn Account Restricted” or “banned” message
It’s much better to avoid LinkedIn jail and play by the rules. There are so many new ways to take advantage of LinkedIn since the Microsoft acquisition!
You can easily avoid having your LinkedIn account restricted or your content removed by following the simple and quite frankly, common sense rules and expectations, laid out in LinkedIn’s User Agreement and Professional Community Policies.
I’m sure avoiding a “LinkedIn account restricted” message is your first choice, but at least you know there’s a way out should the worst happen.
Other relevant reading: LinkedIn Plugins – The Complete List of Prohibited LinkedIn Automation Tools
Please share it with any friends or colleagues that you think should read this too!