Should You Automate LinkedIn Messages? (Plus Tools to Avoid)

By: Jack Reamer |
 April 20, 2021 |

Linkedin automation tools can be great for prospecting. It can save you a lot of time, streamline your workflow, and help you create a larger network. 

BUT…. Yes, there is a BUT…. You will need to use automation tools in the RIGHT way. 

Or you gonna get restricted, amigo.

Remember: There’s no point in using automation if your connection request messages are terrible. My rule is IF the messages lack personalization, don’t bother; you won’t get any engagement from prospects. 

But if you send well-researched personalized Linkedin messages, then automation can help you scale things to the next level. The trick is to use these tools to multiply your ‘already-successful outreach efforts

This article will discuss all you need to know about Linkedin automation.

Should you bother? And which automation tools work in 2021 and which ones will get you blacklisted?

By the end of this article, you will know if you should automate Linkedin messages or not. Let’s dive in. 

What does it mean to automate Linkedin messages, and is it legal?  

Automating Linkedin Messages means performing activities like Linkedin connection requests and Linkedin messages with a robot… instead of a human.

Your Linkedin messages and invites will automatically be sent using “Input” like a list of prospects (to contact) and templates to send the messages and, hopefully, some merge tags to keep every message personalized

But are automation tools legal? I’m no lawyer, but right now, Linkedin automation tools are against the current rules and regulations of Linkedin. 

However, whether or not it’s legal is not so black and white. There are hundreds of Linkedin automation tools in operation that argue that it is legal to use it, although the Linkedin leadership team would not like these kinds of tools to exist. 

Why? Well, the reason is that Linkedin automation tools can bring down the user experience of the Linkedin platform. Because if you do not automate correctly, you will be nothing but a spammer, sending people messages that they don’t want to see. Remember that it’s all about the user experience. 

Can automation tools get your account blocked?

In short, yes. Linkedin can restrict your account if you are considered a spammer. So if you use the wrong kind of automation tools, you stand a very good chance of this happening. 

This is what happens: 

Linkedin will log you out of your account and send you an email. The email will say that they have suspected suspicious activity on your account and need to verify that you are who you say you are. 

They will then ask you to verify your account by sending a copy of your ID or driver’s license. This is basically how they fight bots, so after 72 hours, your account gets turned back on. 

If you are a repeat offender, though, Linkedin can restrict your account again, and they can choose for how long your Linkedin account can be restricted. 

But by law, they can not delete your account, as that data belongs to you. 

What is the difference between personalization and automation?

Personalized messages are well-researched and thoughtful messages that are focused directly on your specific target audience

For example, the SalesBread team will manually look up a prospect’s Linkedin profile and see what their interests are. So if the person enjoys hiking, our team will mention (inside the message) something about their favorite hiking spots. 

Automating a message means using a tool that will send, for example, 100 messages to people that you have added to your spreadsheet. This saves time because you don’t have to click to send each message manually. 

The problem with not personalizing messages with automation tools is that people will figure out that you are sending the same messages to hundreds of other prospects, and this will just get you low engagement rates, or your Linkedin contacts will block your account because you will be viewed as a spammer. 

How to automate Linkedin messaging according to SalesBread. 


Step 1: Add your list of prospects to your automation tool.

The first thing you will need to do is take the list of Linkedin users that you would like to send messages to and add them to the spreadsheet that you will use along with your automation tools. Proper research is key to finding the right leads, so use your Linkedin search filters, ZoomInfo, CrunchBase, Apollo, Google, and other tools for accurate data. 

NOTE: If you don’t know how to create a list of potential prospects, please go here for inspiration. 

Of course, if you would still like help, contact us for our done-for-you lead generation services.

Step 2: Write a custom connection request messages

You will now need to write a personalized connection request message for each of these potential prospects. Yes, this does take time and research, but it will be worth your while. 

Salesbread has a 25-55% acceptance rate because of the personalization we put into each and every message. 

But, if you don’t have the time to write each and every message manually, add personalization to the connection request template at least. Don’t send the same message to each prospect. 

(On a side note: We do not use Inmail, as we have found it not as effective as Linkedin messaging. Besides, you have to pay for Inmail, whereas with Linkedin messaging, essential it’s free. You can message your 1st-degree connections, which will most probably lead to more engagement because you are already in the same network.)

Step 3: Use the automation tool to send out the invite

Once you have written your connection request messages, send out the invite to all of the prospects on your list. 

Step 4: Create a second campaign

Once your new connections have accepted your invites, you will need to add them to a second Linkedin campaign. This is where you will need to break automation and write personal, human-created merge tags to keep your engagement rate high.

(This is our secret sauce at SalesBread 🙂 

Manually add personalization and add it as a merge tag in your CSV file. That way, when you send out the messages using an automated sending tool, it does not look automated. 

Why? A professional marketer who is skilled and trained in prospect research has filled in something personal that they can add to the messages. Prospects appreciate this, which leads to higher engagement, which in turn leads to Linkedin outreach success.

Step 5: Follow-up

Follow up with your prospects 2-3 days after that first contact.  Remember that when you message your prospect, keep the conversation about them. 

The 90/10 Rule

We use the 90/10 rule. So talk about the prospect 90% of the time and about what you have to offer them, and why it would help them only 10% of the time. 

In the first few follow up’s, do not make your sales pitch. Instead, talk about your pitch after you’ve had a chance to speak with your prospect on the phone or via your Linkedin inbox and ask questions that confirm they are a good fit and need what you have to offer.

What call to action should you use? Ask for a call in the first two follow-up messages. If no response, try another CTA like “should I try again in a few weeks?”.

These real-time, real-life, human follow-ups are incredibly important to create genuine leads. 

(Want our Guide to Linkedin Prospecting? Click here.)

Pro Tip:

Don’t send hundreds of messages at once. Send 30-50 requests per day during YOUR office hours. 

The reason? 

For example, PhantomBuster, which is famous for this mistake, sends out messages at different intervals during the day.

So if you have never sent out messages at 3 am before, but you are now (thanks to poor automation), it will look suspicious to Linkedin.

Use the same IP address assigned to your business location and only send messages during your office hours.

Does Salesbread use automation tools?

Yes, we do use Linkedin automation tools. Why? Automation tools simply MULTIPLY your campaign’s effectiveness. If you’re crushing it and getting 40% reply rates… bringing in automation will help you get even more results. (The hard part is maintaining those results over time, as you ramp things up.)

2 More Points on Why We Automate Some Outreach Steps

Point 1:  If you select the right marketing tools, then from a technology standpoint, it mimics the actual user’s behavior in such a way that Chrome extension tools, such as PhantomBuster and OctopusCRM, do not. We use automation tools with dedicated IP addresses that work as if a human is sending these messages.

Point 2: Because we add so much manual personalization to each message stent, it doesn’t look or feel like SPAM. We have also noticed that people appreciate these messages because it doesn’t look like they have been sent via automation. This is also why we have such high engagement rates, and there are ZERO issues after sending hundreds of thousands of LinkedIn connection requests and messages. 

(Check out this article that shows our reply rates.)

Which tools should you avoid using entirely?

If you want your Linkedin lead generation campaigns to succeed, stay away from any Chrome extensions. These tools can get your account blocked faster than you can say the word spam. These tools basically spam people in bulk. 

Linkedin doesn’t want its users to run to other social media platforms because they are being spammed by bots all day long. That’s how you get banned/restricted from LinkedIn. So beware of the following automation tools below:

1. Dux-Soup

One of the cheaper tools out there — between $11 and $41 — but steer clear. This automation tool might sound good because it can enrich your CRM data with Linkedin information and download profile data to a CSV file. Still, you could quickly get your account blocked for spam, which will slow down your marketing efforts


2. LinkedHelper

The website mentions that it is the safest Linkedin automation software, but be warned: They don’t use dedicated IPs for each user. Therefore, it does not mimic human behavior. 

We have found that only 2 Linkedin automation tools work really well, which we will discuss a bit later. 

You also need to pay for the service. It’s not expensive and varies from $8 per month to $15 a month. On the plus side, you can run drip campaigns through LinkedHelper, but I would avoid it like the plague because it’s not using a dedicated IP. 

With Prospect.Io, you can already see the danger in their packages. For the business package, you can send up to 1,500 messages per day, which can be seen as spam, especially if your messages have low engagement. 

4. Salesloft Prospector.

This chrome extension has already been removed from the Chrome Store, just proving that it’s a bad tool to use. Unfortunately, their site doesn’t mention how much their packages cost, so it’s unclear how much you would pay, for example, the prospecting package. 

As you can see, Octopus is pretty cheap per month. You can send bulk automated messages, and it also mentions personalized invites. Even if this looks good, do not use it, as there is only one real way to find those potential prospects, and that’s by putting in the hard work, the personalization, and the research. 

How does Linkedin Detect Spam and Automation Tools?

The problem with the above chrome extensions is that it makes it easier for LinkedIn to detect when people are using automation tools. 

One reason for this is because these tools send thousands of messages and connections per day to everyone they find on Linkedin. This is impossible for a human to do, and that’s exactly how Linkedin detects spam. 

Another reason is that because these tools don’t give you a dedicated IP address, you may appear at another continent while using the extension instead of your actual location. (Not all of them do this though, some of the above do have a dedicated IP address.)

So, if you’re sending messages on LinkedIn at 2 PM in South Africa and then at 6 PM in America? LinkedIn will know it’s very likely that you’re using automation tools. 

Linkedin hates spam because they don’t want to lose their users due to other users annoying them with social selling spam. 

What are the best Linkedin automation tools

The best tools that we have found for automation are listed below: 

We have found that Expandi is a great automation tool because it mimics human behavior. It’s not a Chrome extension, and it has a dedicated IP address, which is extremely useful when it comes to “tricking” Linkedin into thinking that you are not using bots. 

It also has randomized delays between interactions, which replicates human behavior. You can also only send up to 100 invites and messages per day, so this ensures that your Linkedin profile will not get blocked. They also withdraw pending invites on autopilot

Salesbread has used Expandi to send over 1 million messages without any adverse effects within the past years. It’s an excellent tool for automation but remember, once again, that keeping things personalized is critical. 

You can expect to pay $99 per month for the following features: 


This Linkedin automation software is also handy. Zopto uses a dedicated IP address, which is great for not getting your account blocked. Besides this, you can also filter your ideal customers. Zopto is quite costly, though, so it would be wise to compare each of the best automation tools and see which will work best for you. 

The Most Important Thing to Remember:

Remember that once you forget about using chrome extension and you look at the two best Linkedin tools that mimic human behavior, it doesn’t matter if you are automating or not. 

Because you can still be a spammer, even if you use the best tools, if you’re still sending out messages that people don’t want to see, you can get blocked due to lousy engagement rates. By telling people “buy my stuff, buy my stuff” each and every day, it’s a recipe for disaster. The trick is not to send out messages that people hate. 

However, if you’re using something like Expandi, you can use that tool in a very good way; by using tons of personalization and engaging with people, you are using Linkedin as intended. 

The reality is that automation tools are not wrong, but rather how you use the tool that can make it wrong or right. If you’re using automation tools the wrong way, it will be bad. But if you’re using these tools the right way, you can be sure of Linkedin marketing success. Automation is just a multiplier. What you put in is what you’re going to get out. 

So if you’re not receiving replies or proper engagement, then automation is the last thing that you need. Instead, work at getting your engagement metrics up before using any kind of automation tools. 

You want people to like your stuff. That’s the most crucial rule for quality engagement, quality leads, and successful sales. 


A brief recap of the Do’s and Don’ts of Linkedin Automation

  • Don’t send thousands of messages per day. Keep it to 30-50. 

  • Vary the number of messages and connection request messages that you send per day to mimic human behavior. 

  • Don’t use automation tools that don’t have a dedicated IP address

  • Do add personalization. Check out which Linkedin groups the prospect belongs to and find common ground. 

  • Don’t continue with automation if you see below 20% reply rates or below 25% acceptance rates. This means that your engagement is low.

  • Don’t create fake profiles; always send messages as yourself.

  • Don’t try to automate without a Linkedin sales navigator account

  • Don’t use chrome extensions because this does not mimic human behavior.


What has Salesbread learned over the years about Linkedin automation?

After sending over a million connection invites, messages, and follow-ups on Linkedin, we have found that it’s safe to use automation, as long as you’re doing an excellent job of getting other users to engage with you.

Linkedin wants to keep their users, and if you are helping them do this, then you have nothing to worry about.  Linkedin is not going to fight that. Be a good Linkedin user as you scale up with automation, and you will never have problems, but if you send bad messages, you will land up in the Linkedin proverbial jailhouse.

Need some help? No problem! We are here for you.

If you’re still unsure of how to go about Linkedin automation, or how to find the right leads for your business, contact us ASAP. 

We have 12 years of lead generation experience. We know how the Linkedin algorithms work and all the best ways to personalize messages to find those perfect leads. 

Let’s get your company name on the map today. Fill out the form below. 

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