Do LinkedIn Endorsements Benefit Your LinkedIn Marketing?


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linkedin icon‘Customer Service, 45’ I took a shot, I know he’s holding at least two tech company executives; if one of them is a call center team leader, I’m sunk. But I’m running out of cards.

His brash smile melts away as his eyes drop to his laptop screen, ’28.’ I can see he’s not happy, ‘how can someone manage a retail outlet and only have 28 LinkedIn endorsements for customer service?’

I laugh as he hands over his card. I might win this yet.

As much fun as LinkedIn endorsement top trumps sounds, it can’t be the only reason they’ve been added to the social network. But there seem to be few people who see any real value in them. With the little pictures of your endorsers and the scoring system, they have the nagging feeling of a gimmick. That feeling doesn’t really tally with the most serious of all social networks, so there must be an effective function for LinkedIn endorsements.

Endorsements Should Boost LinkedIn Marketing

The natural fit appears to be LinkedIn marketing. One of the key strengths of social networks is their ability to add credibility. People trust you because your connection with one of their friends or colleagues indicates that you’re genuine. LinkedIn marketing provides plenty more opportunities to build credibility too, with questions and answers sections and group discussions.

So where do endorsements fit? As a simple credibility building tool, the overall theory seems sound. People you are connected to just tick a box that says they think you have a certain skill. This creates two levels of credibility. A high score on a key industry skill marks you as an expert. And you look great to a prospect who recognizes one of the tiny endorsement faces. This should add significant weight to any LinkedIn marketing efforts.

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Visual additions to your skills section don’t really prove anything. This post was inspired by a gag tweeted by Will McInnes today. The tweet read, ‘LinkedIn. Where people you don’t really know endorse you for skills you don’t really have.’

The Credibility Question

That impression of LinkedIn endorsements is hard to shake; because of the way endorsements are made. LinkedIn are at pains to point out that it’s a one-click system, which is great functionality but doesn’t encourage diligence. In fact the one click system creates three questions over endorsements.

Auto Endorse: The most common way endorsements appear to be handed out is using a semi-automated system that appears at the top of your profile. LinkedIn lists four connections and asks you if you want to endorse them for skills chosen, it appears, at random. Which encourages most people to click ‘ok’ on a few until they get bored.

Not All Endorsements are Created Equal: The scoring system appears a bit skewed too. There is no differentiation between endorsers. Ten interns endorsing you counts ten times more than one CEO. And a friend’s endorsement is equivalent to a client endorsement. That can’t lead to a fair reflection. Speaking of fair…

Quid Pro Quo: The other main problem with this system is just how open to abuse it is. I endorse you for research and you endorse me for blogging. Seems fair. Doesn’t really give an accurate reflection of our skills though, does it?

LinkedIn marketing is effective because it plays on the implied credibility LinkedIn connections create. Endorsements of the kind mentioned above only serve to erode that credibility. So what value do they add for marketing, if any? Please let us know what you think in the comments.

It could simply be a question of time. As more users start to endorse, the genuine endorsements may take over. They may even bring in weighted endorsements and create a system that that really adds value to your profile. It may even become an SEO tactic on LinkedIn, although there’s no concrete proof of that.

For now at least we get more interesting looking profiles. And a new way to play top trumps.

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Republished with author's permission from original post.

Eoin Keenan
Media and Content Manager at Silicon Cloud. We help businesses to drive leads and build customer relationships through online marketing and social media. I blog mainly about social media & marketing, with some tech thrown in for good measure. All thoughts come filtered through other lives in finance, ecommerce, customer service and journalism.


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