Automation, especially in digital marketing, has become an important progress feature. It can greatly reduce the time spent on menial work so that you can spend more time doing the things you'd rather be doing and just pass the simple work to the bot. Most of the time, these trade-offs are business-critical functions.

It might be tempting to start automating such tasks to boost your company's productivity and efficiency. The demand in such a service is so great that it has led to companies scrambling to obtain them. Along with the rise in demand also comes a rise in supply. A lot of tools that offer this functionality exist today in the market, including but not limited to software programs, bots and browser plug-ins and extensions.

However, there are some caveats to using such tools on LinkedIn.

1. Using such tools can get you banned

Although scraping LinkedIn is considered legal after HiQ winning the case of legal action taken against web scrapers (read our article, Is LinkedIn Scraping Legal, for more details), LinkedIn policies for LinkedIn users include some restrictions and limited access to LinkedIn data that make automation hard to do. One of them is as stated in LinkedIn website, an unusually large number of page views from the account can get your account restricted or even removed.

LinkedIn website also state that it is prohibited to develop, support or use the software, devices, scripts, robots, or any other means or processes (including crawlers, browser plugins, and add-ons, or any other technology) to scrape the Services or otherwise copy profiles and other data from the Services and use bots or other automated methods to access the Services, add or download contacts, send or redirect messages. These actions can violate the User Agreement and risk your account from being restricted or shut down.

Although using automation tools can help you scrape LinkedIn and manage your account, it may not be a good idea to risk your account which may result in losing all your connections and lead customers. Thus, the risk of utilizing LinkedIn automation tools to your LinkedIn account may outweigh the rewards.

2. The human connection is lost

One problem with the idea of automation is that believing everything can be automated. This is not true, especially with a process that involves a more human touch, like making connections on LinkedIn. That first message that goes along with the connection request can be the 'make or break' moment for most companies. An automated message can stick out like a sore thumb most of the time, and this can put off a lot of people.

Most users want to create genuine connections on LinkedIn. One should realize that each connection made requires its own personal approach that cannot be imitated using a mechanical process. Thus, the idea of generating more leads by sending out bulk requests with an automated message is not the best utilization of these tools.

Our solution

Now we're not saying that automation on LinkedIn is absolutely bad and you should steer far away from it. On the contrary, we should embrace the wonders of automation and reap the benefits it can bring, but not use it blindly. It all comes down to using it where appropriate and avoiding the common pitfalls that come along with it.

This is why we suggest narrowing your usage of automation tools to handle tasks doesn't require much complex thinking and doesn't involve social and emotional intelligence. An example would be filtering through hundreds of profiles to find the right fit. But even so, this seemingly simple task can be proven difficult given the factors mentioned above. After all, the tool would need to do at least these 3 things: evade rate limiters, bypass CAPTCHA, and mimic a browser to render JavaScript.

Fortunately, such a tool is available: Proxycurl, a LinkedIn data scraper that helps to crawl LinkedIn profiles. Different from others, Proxycurl does not use your LinkedIn account and has no maximum rate limit, so it's safe. You can then sift through the profiles you have scraped in an automated manner to find the ones of most interest to your professional needs without endangering your own account. You can learn more about it here, in Proxycurl's website. Please also read our Proxycurl's LinkedIn API tutorial article to understand better how to use it.