Hey there!
Welcome back to Focus on Your Small Business. I’m Dachia and I am a small business owner myself. I wanted to tell you about a recent experience I had and search I did.

I’ve been trying to connect better with current connections on LinkedIn. Now, I have received what seems like an automated message when I connect with a new person there, and honestly it doesn’t bother me. I think it’s an efficient use of time.

But I didn’t have any automation set up on my own account and because I recently crossed the 14,000 connection mark, and I had never really introduced myself any of them. I started looking into tools and apps created to automate LinkedIn activity.

Now, LinkedIn really doesn’t like automation tools on their site.

It’s against their terms of service.

And they have taken steps to crack down on them.

I knew about some of LinkedIn’s issues before I started my search, but I thought the main thing they were trying to stop was outside tools that handled tasks that LinkedIn could make money on if the member just upgraded. So, personally, I didn’t have an interest in in-mails or scarping contact information.

I wanted to group the connections and set up a couple other automations that LinkedIn didn’t seem to offer anyway.

A friend of mine suggested Meet Leonard.

So, I checked it out.

I checked out several other tools and thought Meet Leonard looked as good as any… but… I had a question and used their contact button to ask it and did not receive a response. Now, it was a Saturday, so I thought I could give it to Monday.

I asked my friend the same question and got an opinion and decided to take the free trial or free level version. And I started poking around in it.

Now let me backtrack a bit. This is an extension that works on Chrome. I don’t use Chrome, so I had to download Chrome and then download the extension and then I started poking around.

I looked for video tutorials on youtube and the company doesn’t really have many and they aren’t real awesome. But I found enough info with their videos and also regular people and so I created some tags and tried out the automated messaging and something else.

I had been sending messages manually every day for about a week, at about 500 manual messages each day. On the free version, they allowed me 25 messages. So, I picked some requirements and the app sent 25 messages. 

Actually… no it didn’t. I had made a requirement that it not send a message to anybody I had any contact with in the last 30 days.

Right off the bat, it had sent a message to a person I had already sent a message to a couple days earlier. Not cool.

And according to my sent messages, it sent about 8 messages total and then told me I had reached my limit.

So, I thought perhaps I needed to go ahead and upgrade.

Meet Leonard offers a 50% discount if you buy an annual subscription. I bought a years worth, figuring that even the ability to sort and tag etc was worth the cost.

Immediately upon logging back into LinkedIn, I got a message from LinkedIn that said they detected a plug-in or extension that automated activity on LinkedIn, and they gave me some threat that I screenshotted… because obviously this was not going to work and I would just cancel.

Considering I still had not received a response from my initial question and their presence on Facebook was what looked like a company page… with 5 likes… and there was no company supported group, and the only other group was a few people… less than 10… AND they had like 372 subscribers on youtube… I honestly was not optimistic that they were going to take care of this in a timely manner.

But… I sent them an email from their website and asked for a cancellation and refund.

I got a response that said I could do that on the app. It appeared to me that you could only access the app through LinkedIn… and I really didn’t want to go into LinkedIn again with app running… but I did. As fast as I could, I clicked the LinkedIn button that said I would not use the app, and then went into the app and canceled it.

I then asked the person on mailto be sure it was cancelled.

They asked a few questions and I answered and they said it was cancelled and I asked is there a confirmation number and they aid there is no refund.

Excuse me?

According to this nameless person on email, there is no refund and they state that clearly on their site.

Uhm… no… you don’t. I know this because I dinked around on that side looking for real information for a couple hours, and they offer little… to no real information… they just keep pushing the free trial.

So, I just paid $180 for a now cancelled app and there is no refund.

First, I was slightly annoyed, but not at all worried because I knew I could cancel with my credit card company and I also knew that I could blog about this, mention it on all my social media accounts… and tell all ya’ll about my experience.

But… I WOULD get my money back. I always do.

So, I responded with my plan to proceed with a dispute and good night.

Shortly after that, I got another email that said they had refunded my money… but they also felt the need to tell me it was quite clear I had used the app in a way they told me not to and that they were clear there are no refunds.

So, the morning, with fresh eyes… I went back to the company site and looked through it again.

At the very bottom, in the darkened footer there IS mention that we use the app at our own risk. But that’s pretty much all they say on that.

In one video they do suggest upgrading the LinkedIn membership to unlock even more benefits… but it was not said to be a requirement.

In the email from the unnamed customer non-service person, it was suggested I upgrade.

I wasn’t sure how that’s going to solve the issue of the LinkedIn pop-up immediately upon log-in, and I had no interest in an upgraded membership with them… so I passed.

So, my advice from one small business owner to anger… from one solopreneur to another… is don’t try to automate LinkedIn. And if you decide to give it a try, I’m gonna suggest you pass on Meet Leonard.

What I will also suggest is an idea that MIGHT make bulk messaging easier. I am still doing y messages manually one at a time, and this is what I was doing… I was opening up all my connections and putting them in alphabetical order and then doing a basic copy paste messaging, but the issue is that it is one long list, not pages. And I live in the Black Hills and internet service is sketchy so it took forever to scroll don to where I left off the day before… AND… if my finger happened to slip and click a person’s name instead of the message button, I was now on that person’s page and if I clicked the back button, I started at the top of the list again.

To say this was frustrating… is an understatement.

So, this is my suggestion.

Instead of opening your connections, assuming you have a lot, do a search at the top for something that delineates a group of them. For example, in my list I could search for Yoga or Realtor or writer and then ask for 1st connections. That list comes up in pages, not a single run-on list. 

And you can personalize your message even further to that group. 

For example, I was just wanting to send a quick introduction message to my connections letting them know who I was and what I do. Very general. No CTA, that’s a call to action… just a hello, thanks for connecting this is what I do.

And I did that with a lot of connections and got responses and responded to them and it was fine. It was just an incredibly tedious process given my sketch service and LinkedIn’s format.

Messaging to groups as mentioned above, gives me the chance to introduce myself and mention how what I do could be beneficial to a yoga instructor or real estate agent.

So, the takeaway here is I don’t suggest automation tools for LinkedIn, and if you do decide to give it a try, I don’t suggest Meet Leonard.

Another takeaway here is you can still somewhat streamline the manual work involved in dealing with LinkedIn. 

And the last takeaway… probably most important… don’t dick your customers. Be clear about the product or service and your return and refund policy. Be approachable. Be personable. Don’t hide your rules and warnings. And … in fact… if you have a service or product that requires a disclaimer to use… maybe you should rethink your product or service.

Thanks for joining me today. See ya next week. Keep in mind that if you area solopreneur, that is an entrepreneur wearing all the hats in your small business, you know how precious your time is and using resources that save you time is a great idea. Go check out the membership site, and sign up for a free trial. If you watch the webinar first, that’s the video on the top of the pageant dachia.com/membeship, you’ll find a discount code for 25% off the monthly subscription fee. If you want to try it out, you sign up like a regular subscription with a credit card but it doesn’t get charged till after the trial is up. And you have total control over your account and you can cancel any time or put it on vacation. Feel free to contact me directly if you want to make changes, also… I’m cool with that. I try to make it super easy.

Also, just a heads up, you can sign up for the free weekly newsletter. You can find a sign up box on all the pages of my website, at dachia.com.

Thanks again… make it a great week. It’s all up to you… with just a little bit of me.