Linkedin Endorsements and How To use Them
If you've been on Linkedin lately and looked at someone else's profile, you were likely presented with a big blue box at the top asking you to endorse that person for particular skills.
What is this?
This is Linkedin's newest feature, called Endorsements. The Linkedin blog announcement says "With just one click, you can now endorse your connections for a skill they’ve listed on their profile or recommend one they haven’t added yet."
Like Linkedin Recommendations, but Different
Isn't this just like, but a little different than, the existing Linkedin Recommendations feature? Well, yes, and no.
- Endorsements is similar to Recommendations in that it's a way for people to provide social proof to another person's profile, and thus increase their credibility to anyone not already familiar with them.
- Endorsements is different that Recommendations in two ways. First, it's tied to the existing Skills feature that is still not used much by most Linkedin users, and Second, it's a lot easier to click an Endorse button than it is to write a personalized Recommendation, thus lowering the threshold for providing social proof to an individual.
How Does Linkedin Endorsements work?
On a person's profile, a big blue box appears at the top saying "Does <This Person> have these skills or expertise?" with a set of skills presented as blocks with x's on them, and a yellow Endorse button below them. You can remove skills that you don't want to include by clicking the 'x' for that skill's box, and you can add others by typing in the box below and selecting the skill you want to Endorse for.
If you Endorse the person for any skills, it will then present you with a bigger blue box with 4 spaces in it for four of your connections, asking "What skills or expertise do your other connections have?" It will provide an Endorse button tied to a specific skill listed below that person's name. This part of the feature seeks to maximize your use of the Endorsements feature by providing you the opportunity to endorse others at the same time. That's good UI design. This 4-profile Endorsement presentation does not, however, let you modify which skills you can endorse for – you have to go to the person's profile to do that.
Aren't These Just Facebook Likes for Linkedin?
To be blunt, No. An article posted in The Next Web on September 24th, the day Linkedin Endorsements was released, was headlined "LinkedIn gets its own version of Facebook Likes: Endorsements" This article tried to simplify the new feature by saying that it was similar to a Facebook Like, but it’s really not. You friend people on Facebook, but you don’t Like them. You Like pages and statuses on FB, but not particular items in their profile, which is what this new Linkedin Endorsement feature does. So what is this Endorsements feature and why does it matter?
What Linkedin Endorsements Really Does
- It encourages the use of the Skills feature, which is important for being found in people searches and is great for being found by new prospects looking for help in a particular area.
- It enables others to easily and quickly provide an endorsement for a particular skill on your profile. Many people will not take the time to write (or request) written Recommendations for someone, but a one click endorsement is easy, and Linkedin is putting it right in front of people now.
- It gives social proof, or credibility to a person for a particular skill or set of skills, which when compared to someone else without the Endorsements, will often tip the balance for someone unfamiliar with the person they’re looking at in favoring them over someone else when seeking advice. The inherent principle with social proof is that it engenders trust – similar to what Recommendations do. Most people will trust someone they found on Linkedin more and view them as an expert if they have lots of Recommendations – because other people took the time to write them. Endorsements will also do this, although I think the social proof is less than with Recommendations because it’s a one click action instead of a written piece. But considering how Skills and Endorsements are displayed (Linkedin expert Lewis Howes Skills section is shown below), it may actually make a bigger impact if you use it right.
How Linkedin Endorsements Gets Others to Add to your Skills and provide Social Proof
Now what’s really interesting is that I have seen people who did not identify skills themselves before Endorsements was released, and the Linkedin algorithm is suggesting Skills for other people to Endorse – these must be coming from keywords in their profile. It looks like the new Endorsement feature is essentially helping other people add skills to your profile – essentially a collaborative profile optimization process. Fascinating, really. Genius, perhaps?
What Linkedin has done is provided an easy way for users to contribute to the following:
- Adding to the data in Linkedin profiles, which enriches and fine tunes the advanced search feature
- Increases the use of the Skills feature, by getting others to add the data to a person's profile
- Increases the accessibility of social proof, thus further solidifying Linkedin as the ultimate location to find professionals and experts for advice and consultation
Ok, this is all well and good, but how do I get the most out of it? So glad you asked.
Action Steps to get the Most out of Endorsements
There are a few key actions that can be used to get the most out of this feature.
- Select Your Skills. At a minimum, I highly recommend that you take a few minutes to update your profile to select the skills you want listed. The more the better since it makes you more available to be found in searches, which is especially important for consultants, coaches, and sales people. Use this tutorial to learn how to use the Linkedin Skills feature.
- Use the Endorsements feature. Take a few minutes each time you're on Linkedin to Endorse people that you've worked with or have sufficient knowledge of their skills. When you Endorse someone else, they will receive an email notification saying that you've done so, and hopefully they will return the favor.
- Ask for Endorsements. Send a Linkedin message to your closest colleagues, clients and customers asking them to take a few minutes to Endorse your profile for the skills you've demonstrated to them in the past. It may help to suggest the ones that are most applicable to the relationship and history, or that you want the most Endorsements for.
- Give First, then Ask. Combine methods 2 and 3 for maximum effect. When you go to someone's profile (target those described in method 3) and endorse them for the skills they've demonstrated to you, follow up with a message asking them to return the favor.
- Incorporate Linkedin Endorsements into your post-project follow up. After a project is completed with a new client or team member (anyone who hasn't already Endorsed you), give or update an Endorsement for them and ask them to provide them to you.
Linkedin Endorsements may become one of the most important tools for social proof on the world's most important professional social network. It's easy for people to provide Endorsements, and the display of Endorsements makes it easy for anyone viewing your profile to see what your strongest skills are. Get a head start now on getting Endorsements from your colleagues and clients, and help Linkedin continue to help you build your business or career.
Are we connected? Please send me an invite at linkedin dot generation [at] g mail dot com. Be sure to tell me you read this post.
What other aspects of the new Linkedin Endorsements feature do you like or do you have questions about? Please provide your feedback in the comments.