I’ve been asked more than once to help a client download all their contacts from LinkedIn and upload them to MailChimp to send them emails promoting the client's business.
First, this is in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act. Each violation can result in fines up to $10,000.
Second, just because you’re connected on LinkedIn doesn’t give you the go-ahead to send them promotional emails. LinkedIn has a messaging tool that’s very effective to get in touch with connections. I’ve used LinkedIn to reach out to connections and set up ‘get-to-know-you’ chats so we can each learn more about the other. This is the beginning of building a relationship. It does not give me permission to add them to my email list.
Go ahead and download your LinkedIn contacts. Email people individually to get to know them. Do not email them just to sell to them.
LinkedIn is a great social media tool for professionals. As with any social media tool, it can be abused. Let’s remember to be social!