Yes, it’s free to sign up to LinkedIn. But if you intend to start using LinkedIn for commercial purposes, i.e. prospecting for clients, you’ll inevitably encounter the Commercial Use Limit sooner or later.

What is LinkedIn’s Commercial Use Limit? Essentially it’s a barrier. It prevents you from conducting unlimited LinkedIn searches on the free version of LinkedIn.

What does LinkedIn have to say about the Commercial Use Limit?

IF YOU REACH THE COMMERCIAL USE LIMIT FOR SEARCHING, YOUR ACTIVITY ON LINKEDIN INDICATES THAT YOU’RE LIKELY USING LINKEDIN FOR COMMERCIAL USE, LIKE HIRING OR PROSPECTING.

YOU’LL SEE A WARNING AS YOU APPROACH THE LIMIT. YOUR FREE MONTHLY USAGE RESETS AT MIDNIGHT PST ON THE 1ST OF EACH CALENDAR MONTH. WE ARE NOT ABLE TO DISPLAY THE EXACT NUMBER OF SEARCHES OR VIEWS YOU HAVE LEFT AND WE ALSO CANNOT LIFT THE LIMIT UPON REQUEST. ALSO NOTE THAT THE WARNING THAT YOU ARE APPROACHING THE LIMIT MAY NOT DISPLAY IF YOU RUN THROUGH THE FULL AMOUNT OF SEARCHES OR VIEWS TOO QUICKLY.

(You can read the full article here.)

LinkedIn is, of course, a business. And the reality is, if we want to use LinkedIn to find and reach out to prospective customers, LinkedIn is inevitably going to seek to monetise that.

So, if you’re looking to increase the number of searches you make for prospective clients on LinkedIn – without hitting the dreaded Commercial Use Limit – consider upgrading to LinkedIn Premium Business or LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

Note, however, that only LinkedIn Sales Navigator allows you to seek 3rd tier connections – LinkedIn Premium Business, though a little cheaper than LinkedIn Sales Navigator, only allows you to seek 1st and 2nd tier connections – so your search depth with LinkedIn Premium Business will be reflected by the size of your network.

All things considered, I chose to upgrade to LinkedIn Sales Navigator some time ago. If you’re going to proactively search for new prospective clients on LinkedIn too, consider doing likewise.

Contact me if you need more help choosing a LinkedIn upgrade – because there are pros and cons to them all.

  • Darrel Griffin • LinkedIn Business Development Specialist

    I’ve worked in sales and business development roles since leaving school. Having moved to Australia from the UK in 2012, LinkedIn helped me generate over $3.5 million worth of leads for my then employer in under 2 years - without spending a cent on advertising. I became a LinkedIn coach in 2014 and started teaching what I’d learned ‘on the coalface’ to companies and individuals. I was recently named one of the top ranked LinkedIn experts in Asia Pacific region by Social Media Marketing Institute.