Why should you recommend someone on LinkedIn? Today we are exploring LinkedIn further. As author of ‘Sales Success on LinkedIn’ one of the interesting discussions that abound is ‘endorsements versus recommendations’- two bits that feature heavily on most peoples’ profiles. They seem to do two very different things; for two very different reasons, here are my views.
There are two bits here, so let’s cover off ‘endorsements’ first because they seem to cause the most confusion. Endorsements, in principle, were a brilliant idea by LinkedIn. The endorsements on my profile are some of the key skills that I think I have. These are the things that I think I’m good at.
What LinkedIn allows people to do is to endorse me. They may not have had any work delivered directly by me. They might just know me in a business capacity; that I’m good at a particular thing. They could click a button to say, “yes, I can endorse Nevil for public speaking”, or whatever it might be and that is useful.
Add little value
But what LinkedIn started to do was to use an algorithm. This says, if Nevil selected that skill, perhaps he has these skills too. What started with suggesting skills that people could endorse you for (and because of the widening nature of our connections), we’ve ended up with situations where people are being endorsed for things they don’t necessarily do, by people they don’t necessarily know.
So, the endorsements seem to have lost a bit of their impact. Whilst they’re useful they top out at 99 (i.e. when 99 people have endorsed you for a particular skill). You can move them around, prioritise them, but most folks that we speak to, the anecdotal and some of the research seems to point in the direction that folks don’t pay much attention to the endorsements; they don’t seem to add much value or weight to how we perceive a profile.
If we flip that over, and talk about probably the most important bit now. As I spoke with my colleague, he talked about the fact that I’ve published a book on LinkedIn, ‘Sales Success on LinkedIn’. If I sat here and said, “I’m absolutely brilliant”; “I’m the go-to expert on LinkedIn”, not many folks respond to that particularly well. It’s me, and why would you trust me if you think that there’s an underlying reason why I’m saying these things. Think about this from a face-to-face perspective. If you tell a potential client about how great you are, they don’t always trust and believe what you say.
Trust and credibility
Where that trust and belief really comes into play is where they see case studies, endorsements and recommendations by a third party that they might have some trust or belief in. That’s why the written recommendations on LinkedIn are so powerful – because you can’t generate these recommendations yourself. If you take a third party and you can demonstrate that you’ve been recommended by them, that gives a lot of power in terms of trust and credibility.
However, what a lot of people fail to recognise is, by giving recommendations you can also build trust. If I’m to give recommendations that are genuine, heartfelt and are there for a real business reason – to compliment them on how good some of our suppliers are – that’s a way of me demonstrating my credibility within the business marketplace. That I’m prepared to recognise those who do a good job for us and provide them with a written testimonial; a written recommendation on LinkedIn.
Are your customers happy to recommend you
So, what I’d say is when it comes to endorsements, don’t worry about them. When it comes to recommendations – stop and think, well actually who could you provide a nice written testimonial to? Giving recommendations is a great place to start. Don’t try to swap. If I give you a recommendation I’m not looking for a recommendation back, that’s not what I’m talking about. If I genuinely think you’ve done a great job for something, I should give you a recommendation.
Equally, you may have done a brilliant job for one of your customers. They may absolutely love what you do. Why not say to them, “listen as part of growing our network, we’re growing our connections, I would love to receive a recommendation on LinkedIn”. Ask them face-to-face, ask them over the phone, then send them a request on LinkedIn saying “please can you recommend me?”. Build those recommendations, trust and credibility so when somebody else lands on your profile they can instantly see just how brilliant a job you do and how satisfied your customers are.
In my next blog, ‘Sharing content on LinkedIn‘, I’ll explain what information we should share to add value to your network and connections.
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