You guys know I like to tell it like it is. So here it goes: I never EVER endorse ANYONE on LinkedIn. (Gasp!)
I’ll give you a moment to regain your social media composure.
“Your connection, Jane Doe, has endorsed you.” I’m not going to lie, the first time I received that email I high-fived myself. Score! I am loved.
Below that the email stated, “Would you like to Pay It Forward by recommending Jane Doe?”….Uhhh….sure! At this point I was on such a high. Who’d want to bring on bad LinkedIn karma by not paying it forward? Hell, while I’m there I’ll just going to endorse 10 or 15 other people. Especially if they are people I really want to impress or get their attention. Wow! This is easy. I can just push a button and share some LinkedIn love with everyone! It’s a never-ending circle of endorsement love.
It was an exciting experience. A big boost in my LinkedIn confidence. Until…Somewhere around my 50th endorsement from a person I’ve never met or has never worked with me as a partner or client, I began to question this whole endorsement, Kumbaya, circle of love thing. That’s when I realized, I had drank the LinkedIn kool-aid.
LinkedIn is relying on the principle of reciprocity. Just as flowers are “given” to you in the airport in hopes that you will make a donation in return or when you receive mailing labels with your name and address from St. Jude’s Hospital with a form to send in money.
(Related: LinkedIn Prospecting)
But if LinkedIn is using the principal of reciprocity, how valid are your endorsements? Here are the problems:
1) It’s too easy to endorse someone.
They have become meaningless. If I choose to take only 5 seconds of my time endorse you for your career skills …I don’t really love you that much. A LinkedIn endorsement used to take time, energy, and effort…..all of the qualities that make an endorsement meaningful.
2) Because it’s too easy, they don’t mean anything.
A LinkedIn endorsement used to mean something. A person would take the time to write a personal note or paragraph, explaining in detail just how and why they thought you were awesome. Now, you just get a vague “Katherine is good at (fill in the blank.)
3) There are only 2 reasons people are going to endorse me.
A. The person has a genuine appreciation for my skills and abilities….which is sweet but there are better ways to show it.
B. They don’t have genuine appreciation, but want to fake it, so that can catch my attention or they a getting rid of their Pay It Forward guilt.
My favorite moment was when I started getting endorsed for being great at “Strategic Partnerships.” Uhhhhh….okay? I had to take a few moments to look up exactly what a “strategic partnership” was and what I had done to receive the great honor of being endorsed for it. Turns out…nothing. I’m pretty sure that if you have to look up the definition of the word….you shouldn’t be getting endorsed for it.
(Related: Generating Leads With LinkedIn)
So I have a BRILLIANT idea. If you really want to be a credible asset to someone, there’s a much more effective way. If you want to be trusted, credible, and have genuine appreciation for someone’s valuable business skill, try something revolutionary.
Go to a persons’ profile, scroll past all the endorsements, and stop at the “Recommendations” section. Guess what? This is going to take more than 5 seconds. It may even take a whole 3 minutes of your day.
If your appreciation is something that you do not want to share with the entire world wide web, then write them a note. Don’t email it to them. Hand-write it, on a card, put it in the mail…..remember real mail?….with a stamp, and everything.
Go make someone’s week. Share some LinkedIn Love the right way. Find the colleague you genuinely admire and let them know that. Do it in a meaningful, legitimate way. You’ll be glad you did.
If you want to become an expert at building your business via LinkedIn (and trust me…you do), I would HIGHLY recommend Linked Prospecting. It was created by Kimberly Bohannon and Viveka von Rosen two fabulous gals who are the world’s leading experts in building your business through LinkedIn. Love them! Check out their quick video >>