How to Deal with Pesky LinkedIn Bot Messages!

By Nigel Cliffe

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About a week ago I had a private conversation on LinkedIn. It went like this…

Nigel Cliffe looking grumpy because messages from LinkedIn bots annoy himRobert: Hello

Me: Hello

Robert: How are you doing today?

Me: Really well, thank you (polite, of course!)

Robert: Can we be friends?

Me: Ermm, are you sure? I have a nasty streak…

Robert: I think I can help you.

Me: What, with my nasty streak?

Robert: Anything you’d like

Me: I have a long list.

Robert: Me too.

Me: Ooh, that’s worrying, we might not be good for each other!

Robert: I think so.

Me: Sorry, do you mean that IS worrying or that we won’t be good for each other?

Robert: I think so.

Me: Robert, I feel I am getting to know you now, but I am confused. Are you worried or are we good for each other?

Robert: I think so.

Me: You have me there. Would you like my email address?

Robert: I think so.

Me: Now you are not sure, eh?

After sharing my experience, on LinkedIn my good friend Neil Moon asked me if I had been conversing with a LinkedIn bot. I confirmed with him that, indeed I had – hence my grumpy face! (Although, engaging with these LinkedIn bots can be amusing at times!).

Examples of Messages from a LinkedIn Bot or Fake Profile

My LinkedIn Connections shared some common automated LinkedIn bot messages you should be wary of on LinkedIn:

  • Messages that just contains the word “hello” – Personal brand strategist, Kevin D. Turner revealed in the comments on my post that this is a LinkedIn Sales Navigator default greeting.
  • “I saw you are available for…” – another Sales Navigator default message according to Kevin.
  • “What do you do?” – not harmful in itself but if the ‘person’ sending the message hasn’t introduced themselves and the message seems abrupt and out of context, be on your guard!
  • “I understand you are open to…”
  • “I want to be your friend.”
  • “Tell me more about you. i want to know you more.”
  • “You have a nice smile…” – these three messages were shared by Lynne Ho… perhaps one female LinkedIn Members receive more than the likes of me?!
  • “Hello beautiful” – Rebecca Mayston, Manager at The Guide Oman, said she had received this message and was definitely noticing an increase in these types of messages. This highlighted a different issue, not just bots plaguing LinkedIn but people mistakenly thinking LinkedIn is a dating website.

As LinkedIn Marketing Coach, Bruce Johnston noted, bots and the people behind Fake Profiles and automation get points for brevity, but their call to action – often to obtain your email address, phone number or be accepted as a Connection to boost their numbers – leaves a lot to be desired.

Actions to Take If You Encounter a Bot or Message from a Fake Profile

LinkedIn Help was actually alerted to my post and LinkedIn bot plight and stated:

“LinkedIn is committed to provide an environment where you can engage with your professional community with confidence. We have tools to report this kind of behavior so our team can investigate & take appropriate action” [linking to this page on how to recognise, and report spam, inappropriate and abusive content.]

Ironically, I had followed the course of action suggested by LinkedIn Help a few days prior to publishing my post. The result? LinkedIn replied by saying that the conversation with ‘Robert’ did not violate their terms and conditions!

So, what action can you take against LinkedIn bot messages?

As Digital Marketer Director Ruth suggested, you could opt to not answer them. Simple.

But what if the problem is a persistent one?

Marketing consultant, Stefan Drew recommended disconnecting with the LinkedIn bot or fake profile. In fact, Stefan confessed he now turns down far more Connection requests now than ever before. Incidentally, I take a similar approach, turning down as many Connection requests as I accept.

Karene Ambler explained that receiving suspicious messages like these prompted her to change her LinkedIn password. Changing your password regularly and making it a secure one made up of numbers, upper-and-lower-case letters and special characters is a good cybersecurity tactic.

Kevin D. Turner also noted that some of the Profile Pictures attached to the senders of these LinkedIn bot messages are suspicious in themselves. If a person has no Profile picture or has one that is clearly a stock image they won’t make my Connections list in the first place.

Kevin revealed he now hits the 3 dots More icon in the top right of the conversation thread and Reports the conversation to LinkedIn Help. He expressed optimism that “if we all do it, will stimulate LinkedIn Help to address this platform trust eroding issue.”

Damaging Trust

And in that comment, he hit the nail on the head. LinkedIn SHOULD be about TRUST. It should be a platform we can trust to come and make and develop authentic relationships and add and share value. A safe and open space where we can enjoy thought-provoking discussions. This was one of the reasons I was, and still am, such a big supporter of the #Autoban campaign.

So, the moral of the story is don’t Connect to everyone with that muscle-memory-finger. If it looks at all strange, it probably is. Vet all your Connection requests, paying particular attention to the Connection message they send you (if they send one at all). But if you are not sure whether to accept their request, check their Profile. Look for things like if you work in the same geographical area or industry, if you have any mutual Connections or if their Connection message is a sales-based one with a template feel to it.

For more information on what to do if you encounter a scam message on LinkedIn click here.

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