You have heard us spouting off here before about the benefits of LinkedIn as a personal branding tool, a marketing tool and as a lead gen tool, amongst other utilities. We’re going to drill deeper into this tool today and examine the power of the LinkedIn recommendation.
For those of you who missed it, Steve wrote a great post earlier this year about the 10 Ways to CRUSH IT on LinkedIn. We’re zeroing in on #6 in this post:
Why Write a LinkedIn Recommendation?
Crafting a recommendation on LinkedIn for a co-worker, boss or pupil may be one of the most powerful signs of approval you can bestow upon an individual. Not only are you endorsing this person (and his/her qualities) but you are doing so in a public forum of well over 120 million users (and growing!). In other words, this recommendation isn’t sealed, signed and delivered via snail mail like the good old days. This recommendation is crafted and submitted in a matter of minutes and is available on one’s profile for the world to view.
Caveat: Be precise with your language in your LinkedIn profile. There are no character limitations on a LinkedIn profile recommendation but we advise you to write a clear, concise recommendation. Extra verbiage will only lead to a more cluttered appearance on the user’s profile.
In addition, before writing your recommendation, be sure to check out the user’s profile and the other existing recommendations. Understand who has already vouched for this individual. This will help you better position and differentiate your recommendation from others, which will subsequently lead to a stronger recommendation.
Why are Recommendations on LinkedIn Important?
Recommendations are social proof. They are there to provide more context around a user’s (alleged) accomplishments, skills and experience. This is the only area in the LinkedIn personal profile where others can write and submit content to your profile – no other section on the LinkedIn profile allows anyone but the user who owns the page to fill out content.
Chris Brogan described LinkedIn aptly in November of 2008, “[LinkedIn] is a reputation engine, a visual representation of your business network’s reach, and a place to express your business capabilities.”
Our take-away from this: you should leverage this “reputation engine” and ensure that you have multiple recommendations on your profile. Everyone knows you can write about yourself – what makes your profile stand-out to others, is a profile where others speak about your accomplishments.
Actions speak louder than words and in this case, recommendations from colleagues, coaches and bosses most assuredly speak louder than your own words when branding yourself on LinkedIn.
Examples: Want an example or two of LinkedIn profiles chock-full of great recommendations? Check out Matt Cheuvront and Chris Brogan’s LinkedIn profiles for excellent examples of LinkedIn recommendations.
How to Get LinkedIn Recommendations?
The easiest and most obvious way to get recommendations on LinkedIn is to simply ask for one. See image below on how to navigate and submit a request via LinkedIn for a recommendation:
Note: Make sure your request is personalized and specific to the person you are reaching out to. A generic, impersonal request won’t be received well.
The second method (and our preference) is to write recommendations for others. Don’t write recommendations for the sole purpose of receiving a recommendation in return – but do so where you know recognition is well deserved. You will find that when you dish out a few surprise recommendations, good karma will come back to you in spades (and often in the form of recommendations!).
Caveat: Treat LinkedIn recommendations like gold. Don’t hand out recommendations for colleagues and old college buddies to build goodwill amongst your friends. Be very choosy about who your recommend on LinkedIn because an abundance of recommendations written by you will lead to less credibility.
What are Your Thoughts on LinkedIn Recommendations?
What else do you love about LinkedIn recommendations? What did I miss? I would love to hear your thoughts on LinkedIn and the recommendation feature found within this powerful platform.
You can connect with me on LinkedIn here.