Do you use LinkedIn? Of course you do. You probably have a profile, and you may on occasion scroll its newsfeed. Or perhaps you are a heavy user and have a premium account. This might mean you are using LinkedIn to find sales leads or potential employees.
Regardless of the type of user that you are, you will have noticed that LinkedIn today is more than just a resume builder. You can of course like, share and repost content, but you can also host live video broadcast sessions, create ad campaigns targeted at specific groups, manage talent recruitment, or create employee training programs.
If you are an employer or business owner, you will also have noticed that your LinkedIn inbox has become a very cluttered space. The number of InMail messages I get from people offering lead generation is sickening. The number of offers to explore investment in franchises is ludicrous. The InMail volume for business financing is off-the-charts high. I can go on, because the spam list also includes offers from outsourced and/or offshored website design, SEO improvement or data management.
For those not in the know, InMail is open for people not connected to you so that they can message you. You can change your personal settings so that you only receive messages from your contacts. But if you are in business, or ARE the business, this means people outside of your carefully created and curated network can’t reach you. And that is a problem, because often there are one or two real connections among the spam.
If you pay even the minimal amount of attention to these messages, you will also see patterns. First: More and more of these messages are supposedly sent by women. I guess the prevailing thought from the spammers must be that “attractive and young” sells in the business world.
The tone of messaging has also evolved. It is no longer “business language” but more “conversational language.” A bit like those robo-calls that start with “Hey, how are you, this is Annie” -- and for a split second you think you are talking to a real person (and your brain goes “who is Annie again???”) -- until she continues to tell you your car warranty is about to expire.
And the third thing I have noticed is the sequence of messaging. The first one is the chatty intro with an invitation for a “quick 30-minute call, how is next Tuesday for you?” The second is “I know you must be super busy so I thought I’d bump this back to the top of your inbox.” And then typically the third, and last, email is something like “We have not been able to connect yet but you are sure missing out if we don’t.”
I listened to a fascinating BBC and CBC co-produced true crime podcast series called “Love Janessa” (highly recommended). It details how scammers make enormous amounts of money from digital romance catfish scams. It reveals an “industrialized” process in which the spammers carefully track and evaluate the success rate of their approach (each email, each chat session, etc. It includes detailed scripted playbooks). They are more data- and analytics-driven than some advertisers are!
So I assume the LinkedIn spammers apply the same rigor to their output, and that it must work. That is very sad -- and means it won’t stop anytime soon.