LinkedIn: To Endorse or not to Endorse…

LinkedIn: To Endorse or not to Endorse…

The new LinkedIn feature of endorsements has been around for a couple of months and is now likely to be available to all members – so you may be asking: Good or Bad?

Looking around, naturally as with anything new, there are those that really don’t like this feature and many that are excited about it.  Although the jury is still out for many, I thought it worthwhile to write about and summarise the good, bad and the myths.  Hopefully, helping you to decide how you will or will not use this feature.

The feature is simply a “one-click” process that endorses skills on an individual’s LinkedIn profile.  You may have received an email like this to show you that you have been endorsed:

Naturally… (and of course this is intended)… you are curious and it’s not just because it’s Richard Branson in the email, but more because you have no idea why.  Particularly as you haven’t actually worked with Richard Branson… yet.

Nevertheless you head into LinkedIn and it pops up with more of these opportunities to endorse:

With one click you can confirm who has which skill.  Great!  However, there is a good side, a bad side and indeed a proper way to maximise the use of this.  After all, this feature does not replace Recommendations or indeed the value of real words in a testimonial.

The Good:

1)      The feature is indeed just a “one-click” process – once you are viewing the profile of someone that is.

2)      The feature does encourage a higher level of engagement with your 1st degree connections.  It might be through means some see as unethical (emotional blackmail perhaps) but if it works, then many will see it as simply accepting modern times.

3)      Endorsements do increase exposure – which is what networking is all about.  Let’s face it, if you didn’t want exposure, you wouldn’t be on LinkedIn anyway.  The exposure is in the form of a picture of you in an update which is also a link to your profile – but usually in a group so you are not alone!

4)      This feature is particularly useful for those looking for jobs.  When a recruiter visits your profile, they will inevitably focus on what stands out – as they have so many candidates to go through.  Use this to highlight your expertise.

5)      Unlike with Recommendations, you can “undo” the Endorsement.  This means that those that rely on endorsements will need to ensure they keep up their good work – else, they can lose endorsements and therefore, impact their credibility.  Thus ensuring a good service.

6)      Specialist skills that have an unusually high number of endorsements (compared to other skills on the same profile) can act as a very strong recommendation.  Particularly useful when your clients are simply not the writing type – yet your specialist skill is high in demand.

The Bad:

1)      If you want to use this feature, you do have to visit each profile individually to manually put that “one-click” endorsement into action.

2)      Some people will find it difficult to differentiate between meaningful endorsements (like Recommendations) and throwaway endorsements (such as the one-click from a connection that you value but have not actually worked with).

3)      The order in which these “Skills” appear is not something you can control once the endorsements are coming in – yet.

4)      Some are complaining that this feature is SPAM as mentioned by e1ven and simply adds to junk mail.  Eric Wittlake of B2Bdigital.net wrote how you receive too many emails from LinkedIn that cannot be controlled.  The truth is:  you can control these but people generally don’t know how to!  Hence businesses like mine are in business – to educate.

5)      Some will always see Endorsements as meaningless as reported by e1ven  – simply due to the simple nature in which Endorsements are given.  I agree with this because it is inevitable that some of those “one-click” features do get abused.  I have found many that are simply “collecting” endorsements and to get more, they are giving more.  There will always be someone that will give endorsements willy-nilly with the pure aim of simply getting some back.
On this point, you might ask – why would you not write a Recommendation also?  Why not use proper words to justify your one-click action?  Usually the answer is TIME.  Hence it is only fair to accept that many meaningful endorsements are given via the one-click feature and the giver means it, but lacks the time to write a paragraph.  This view is shared by industry experts Mari Smith, Social Media Examiner and others like Gunther & Associates.  I say, take it as it is and if you need confirmation of someone’s endorsement; ask the “giver” for more information.

Myths

1)      If you don’t want to show endorsements on your profile – “you can’t do much about it” stated by e1ven.com.   You can indeed remove, skip (not accept) endorsements if you wish.

2)      As mentioned above, people complain that too many emails come from LinkedIn and cannot be controlled.  They can be controlled.  Simply go to Settings, click on “Email Preferences” and you will see the below box which shows you the control you have.

Conclusion:

The LinkedIn Endorsement feature is something I see as a result of keeping up with other platforms such as Facebook and Klout.  In Facebook, many businesses are missing out on the continuous impact of worded endorsements through engagement which is very important for Word of Mouth marketing.  Klout on the other hand is a scoring process and good for those preferring to use numbers to assess expertise – another form of endorsements.

The fact that the LinkedIn Endorsements feature is limited to first degree connections is helpful – limiting the willy-nilly effect of one-click features generally available within online world.

Depending on who you are, what you do and how many connections you have, you might:

a) be strict and ensure you only endorse who you have worked with, experienced the work of and is deserving of a written recommendation, or

b) return the favour each time someone endorses you.

The results you can expect are either professional but too busy to take on new one-click processes unless you see an absolute need or expect high exposure, increased engagement and more visible aspects on your profile, respectively.

Personally, I tend to find ways of working with features when there is not really much else we can do.  I am hanging around in the middle of (a) and (b) – because time is limited and I believe in high exposure for skills that matter.  Let’s not forget, written recommendations are not always read, and the more you have, the less likely they are viewed.  Hence I rotate them weekly and monthly as shown here:  Manage and rotate your Recommendations.  For me, I hope the endorsements feature acts as a more eye friendly version of recommendations.

However, let’s be clear, I am not interested in endorsing unless I really know that a person has a certain skill and I actually rate it well.  In return, I do not expect endorsements unless they are meant.  I have had to skip a few already – some are just hideous abbreviations that could have meant anything!  They might even have been a joke!

Finally, but most importantly, I recommend that users think through their strategy by using guides such as the one by entrepreneur.com or socialmediaexaminer.  I particularly like the one from Social Strand where they have highlighted Thanking the endorsement giver – although I myself am having “time” problems with keeping up with this!  It is important so we must make time for it – and it will only help “connect” with our “connections” which was the whole point of being on LinkedIn in the first place.

Comments
3 Responses to “LinkedIn: To Endorse or not to Endorse…”
  1. Interesting article Naheed! I am in your camp, and will only endorse people I know and have had some experience working with them or know them well enough to feel comfortable endorsing them for a particular skill or expertise. I have struggled to understand when someone has endorsed me and although I may be connected with them, I haven’t even met them! How can they possibly endorse me when they don’t know me? For me, this dilutes the endorsements and so I take it all with a pinch of salt. :)

  2. Thanks Philippa.
    Yes some people have no hesitation in endorsing for the sake of it – but – their reason may simply be to engage. Really they just need to learn the true method to engage on this platform rather than use what is simply an “in your face feature”. Now that it is beginning to backfire, they might invest some time into really using LinkedIn – in the correct manner. Shame that by the time they realise, they may have lost some decent connections.
    Thanks for sharing this!

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