Tag Archives: Endorsements

My love/hate relationship with LinkedIn endorsments

Lovehaterelationship

Perceived value or real?

Ask anyone who knows me how I feel about LinkedIn endorsements and they’ll tell you I love them also hate them. My ambivalent feelings have something to do with their value, which other LinkedIn members also question. Are endorsements perceived value or real? This is the question.

Perceived value. I love that term and it has stuck with me. It’s like buying a grapefruit at an expensive grocery store believing it has more value than a grapefruit at a less expensive grocery store.

In the end, the grapefruit from the less expensive store is tastier, juicier, and more delectable. Still the more expensive grapefruit’s perceived value tricks our minds into thinking it tastes better.

LinkedIn endorsements’ perceived value

Someone who has many endorsements is perceived as being strong in those skills. For example, I visit one of my valued connection’s profile during my LinkedIn workshop and show the attendees that every bleeping skill he has has 99+ endorsements. (Partial list below.)

kevins-endorsements

 

I asked him one day how he had accumulated so many endorsements. With a smirk on his face he told me it was because he has a lot of friends. He also said that he hates endorsements. “Bro,” I told him, “give me some of your endorsements.”

Endorsements were introduced by LinkedIn to increase engagement, plain and simple. With a click of the mouse you can endorse someone for a skill you’ve never witnessed them perform.

While some argue that what their connections write on their profile is proof enough, you and I both know that words can be embellished all for the sake of marketing oneself. So this reasoning for me is faulty.

LinkedIn is screwing with people’s minds by suggesting which of your connections’ skills you should endorse. LinkedIn does this occasionally when you visit someone’s profile and also offers suggestions of skills to endorse on your profile.

I once asked one of my colleagues why he endorsed me for some skills I didn’t want endorsed, and he told me, “Because LinkedIn told me to.” This is LinkedIn screwing with people’s minds. LinkedIn is turning us into lemmings who are running off the proverbial cliff.

LinkedIn endorsements’ real value

But wait, you’re thinking, if you’re opposed to endorsements, why are you making such a fuss over them? This is a fair question. It’s because endorsements can have real value if they’re awarded the proper ways.

The first of two ways is by seeing your connections actually perform the skills they have listed on their profile. Remember my valued connection who joked that he was endorsed for his skills because he has a lot of friends? Truth be told, I’ve seen him perform a number of those skills and he deserves to be endorsed for them.

The second proper way to endorse someone is by trusting them. Based on how the recipient lists their skills, this is giving you a clue as how to proceed. The skills I have listed on my profile, for instance, have been carefully selected to reflect my value, not perceived value. (Read my post on how to help people endorse you.)


In closing, LinkedIn endorsements will only provide value when they are dealt out accurately. This can be accomplished if visitors have seen recipients demonstrate the skills for which they’re endorsed or, as I’ve said, trust them to arrange their skills to truly represent their strengths.

When this happens, I will have faith in LinkedIn endorsements. But if endorsers continue to follow LinkedIn’s suggestions, or endorse people by the highest number of endorsements, I see them as perceived value.

Photo: Flickr, Mauricio Sarfati

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The third of 3 steps for a successful LinkedIn campaign: being active

linkedin2

Previously we looked at connecting with others on LinkedIn, the second step for a successful LinkedIn campaign. Now we’ll look at being active on LinkedIn.

I tell my LinkedIn workshop attendees that one of my colleagues jokes that I need an intervention. Not for use of an illegal substance; no, an intervention for use of… LinkedIn. Too much use.

This little joke elicits laughter from my attendees, but I secretly wonder if there’s truth to his words. If using LinkedIn 365 days a year, including holidays, is considered abnormal; then I might benefit from an intervention.

This post is not about refraining from using LinkedIn often. To the contrary, this post is about the necessity of being active on LinkedIn. How many hours should they dedicate to LinkedIn many of my workshop attendees asks me.

There’s not a set number of hours or minutes you must dedicate to LinkedIn; but to be be productive on LinkedIn, you can’t sit idle. Here’s what you must do:

1. An obvious way to be active is to communicate with your connections by posting Updates. How many you post is up to you, but I suggest at least one a day. This is when I get remarks from my attendees about not having time to make one update a week.

To prove this is not a tall order, I show my attendees how I update providing tidbits of job-search advice, asking a question, or sharing an article I find educational. I tell them it’s important to share relevant information with their connections; that’s what good connections do.

2. Another way to be active is to “Like” what your connections update; or, better yet, comment on your connections’ updates. Liking their updates is great, but it takes very little effort to simply click the link. Be more creative and add a comment which can generate discussion, or reply to your connections privately.

3. I’ll visit my connection’s profiles–with full disclosure–many times a day. My connections will visit my profile many times, as well. When they “drop in” and have disclosed themselves (not Anonymous LinkedIn User or Someone from the Entertainment Industry), I’ll show my appreciation by writing, “Thanks for visiting my profile.” This will also lead to a discussion.

4. You’ve probably read many opinions from people on the topic of Endorsements–here we go again. Add me to the list of people who prefer receiving or writing thoughtful recommendations as opposed to simply clicking a button. And I’m not alone.

But, in fairness, Endorsements have a purpose greater than showing appreciation for someone’s Skills and Expertise; they act as a way to touch base. In other words, they’re another way to communicate with your connections.

5. Let us not forget your groups which give you another, significant way to be active. Participating in discussions regularly is a great way to share ideas with established and potential connections. I’ve gained connections because of the interests we shared revealed by discussions.

Did you know you can communicate directly with anyone in your group? That’s right, you don’t have to be a first degree in order to communicate directly with even a third-degree member. Trying to get the ear of someone out of your network? You may want to join a group that person is in.

6. If your connections blog and share their posts on LinkedIn, take the effort to read their blog posts and comment on their thoughts. This is an effective way of creating synergy in the blogging community. Now you can express your thoughts using LinkedIn’s Publishing feature. Take advantage of this if you have the ability to write and enjoy sharing your ideas.

Sharing blog posts on LinkedIn and making thoughtful comments in your groups can promote you as a thought leader in your occupation and industry. Don’t be shy about sharing your expertise. Employed or unemployed, you have important information to share. LinkedIn is not only about connecting; it’s also about information capital.

7. Pulse is one of the best ways to stay abreast of news in your selected industries (or channels), influencers, and publishers. LinkedIn delivers news to your homepage every day. And you choose which news you want to receive. When my workshop attendees wonder what they should update, I tell them sharing articles of common interest is a great way to start.

8. Companies feature. I saved one of the best features for last. Companies epitomizes networking on LinkedIn. It allows you to find people who are in a position to help you. It encourages you to be proactive. In my workshops I show people how to find people who have the authority to hire them by:

  1. Selecting a company for which you’d like to work;
  2. choosing second degree connections;
  3. typing keywords in Advanced Search;
  4. choosing “current” for currently working there;
  5. typing the person’s title, and;
  6. indicating the company’s geographic location.

Once you’ve located the person with whom you’d like to communicate, you can ask for an introduction from one of your first degree connections who is connected to said person.

These are some ways you can be active on LinkedIn. The first step is to create a presence with your profile, followed by connecting with others on LinkedIn, and finally being active. Combining all three will lead to a successful LinkedIn campaign.

2 important hints about LinkedIn endorsements

endorsemments2When you endorse your connections’ skills and expertise, do you simply click Endorse next to the skills with the highest number of endorsements? You may not be doing your connections a favor by doing this; but it’s not entirely your fault.

Your valued connections should be guiding you through the process, and you should follow their wishes.

Hint 1: guide your connections

Endorsees, you may be unaware that you can move specific skills and expertise toward the top of your list as a way to highlight their importance. Without doing this, your skills will be listed in highest to lowest number of endorsements. Which works out fine if your highest number of endorsements properly brand you.

But in some cases your skills are not being endorsed in a manner that tells others how you want to build your brand. One of my connections aptly illustrates which skills he wants endorsed to better brand him. He lists Social Selling ( a mere 13 endorsements) listed above LinkedIn (98), LinkedIn Training (74), and so forth. He’s obviously sending a message to his connections.

How do you rearrange your skills in the order you desire? In Edit Profile select Edit Skills and Endorsements. You’ll see a field like this:

skills

Now simply move the skills in the order you’d like them to appear. I’ve moved LinkedIn (33 endorsements) ahead of Workshop Facilitation (98+) and Blogging (41) ahead of Interviews (82), as I want these two skills highlighted.

Hint 2: those of you endorsing your connections, take the hint

So if you’re endorsing your connections, take the hint. The skills your savvy connections want endorsed first are the top five to 10, not the bottom 10. Endorse them for those skills first and then endorse them for the others.

People often ask me if I see value in endorsements. I tell them only if the endorsers are aware or have witnessed the endorsees perform the skills for which they’re being endorsed. However, if LinkedIn wants us to endorse our connections–even those we haven’t seen perform–we can only trust their word on their proficient skills.

That said, I feel it’s perfectly fine to ask a connection which skills she wants endorsed–in other words, respect your connections’ order of skills. (Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think eliciting endorsements from others is ethical.)

I asked one of my connections which of his skills he wanted endorsed. His simple response was the top five because those are the skills he is strongest at. I wouldn’t know without asking him because he lives in California, and I’ve never seen him in action. Nonetheless, like Lin Sanity, I was caught up in endorsing people.

Take the hint if you’d like to endorse me by clicking Endorse next to my top five skills, because I’ve arranged them in order of preference. I’m pretty sure I perform those skills very well. I’d do the same for you.

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LinkedIn Endorsements: Reliable or BS?

endorsementGuest post by Brian Ahearn, CPCU, CTM, CMCT

If you’re on LinkedIn then no doubt you’re familiar with the relatively new feature where you can endorse someone for his or her skills and expertise. This feature is akin to Facebook’s “Like” option.

Not too long ago I connected with someone on LinkedIn who I’d previously had no interaction with whatsoever. The person reached out to me because we shared a common interest. Within hours of connecting he endorsed me for the following skills: management, training, marketing, leadership, and business planning. Read more