LinkedIn Endorsements are a new feature to this buttoned-up social media platform. It’s a way to cultivate professional relationships all in one place. No need to worry about if a contact changed jobs or email addresses, they are still in your network. You can still connect with them via LinkedIn’s internal messaging system. It’s also a way to stealthy gather intel on potential prospects during the sales process or a way to vet vendors. Hence why it’s so important to have an up-to-date profile and recommendations visible.
So what are the differences and benefits of LinkedIn Endorsements vs. Recommendations? Here are my thoughts on how they stack up:
LinkedIn Endorsements are Lite Recommendations
According to LinkedIn, “skill endorsements are a simple and effective way of building your professional brand and engaging your network.” In my opinion nothing beats a recommendation or testimonial. In a client’s or colleague’s own words they provide details on your skills and unique brand. Your recommendations should include both quality and quantity. Genuine sentiment and strategic comments work best to showcase your skills, knowledge and expertise. However, Endorsements provides a scan-able list of capabilities. While it doesn’t tell the whole story, it does provide a table of contents. From that standpoint, it is worthwhile.
On the plus side, you can choose which skills to highlight. The downside… people can write in other skills and endorse you for those. They can also endorse you for topics they haven’t hired you for or experienced firsthand. My suggestion is to be preemptive and add skills that you care most about and that best represents your business acumen. Overall, LinkedIn Endorsements can be difficult to contain and manage. So, have some architecture in place before it becomes a runaway train.
Tad Too Easy
I think of LinkedIn Endorsements as a drive-by recommendation. LinkedIn makes it so easy… they present four names and skills when you login. It’s as easy as a click of a button. Even those who don’t really know you can endorse you. In the long run, I think that will ultimately be Endorsements’ downfall. It’s diluted and at times indiscriminate.
LinkedIn continues to make changes — both for the positive and to their detriment. The jury is still out regarding Endorsements. We’ll see. In the meantime, let’s ride the wave, shall we? On another note, I wish they’d bring back the Answers feature. That was a fabulous way to demonstrate expertise and brand.
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