LinkedIn endorsements have often been compared to Facebook Likes because it’s easy for someone to ‘endorse’ a contact (for a particular skill/expertise) without applying any sort of rationale behind that endorsement.
On the upside you can’t ‘buy’ LinkedIn endorsements (compared to how easy it is to ‘buy’ Facebook Likes) so, in a numbers game, you’d hope that many of the endorsements you see are genuine.
Analysing one of our LinkedIn profiles, here’s the current picture of endorsements …
Having analysed those in detail, we found that a relatively small number (4%) of people had provided endorsements that made us think “who on earth are you and why are you endorsing me?”.
Add to that a further 9% of people who we would classify as “well, I know you as a contact but to be honest, you don’t know enough about me to have clicked on that ‘endorse’ button”.
So, 13% of endorsements that could be viewed as ‘dubious’.
In real numbers, out of a current LinkedIn endorsements number of 1,022 (yes, we added them up!), that means 889 (87%) were what we’d consider to be endorsements from people who have definitely used services or people who know us well enough to have made that endorsement.
In this case, it implies that the endorsements have some credibility.
Making LinkedIn endorsements stronger
We feel that LinkedIn could do more to make the endorsements system stronger. Perhaps when someone decides to endorse they should be expected to ‘classify’ that endorsement into categories such as:
- Have used them for that skill/expertise
- They know what they’re talking about
- People say good things about their ability in that skill/expertise
At least that way, people viewing profiles could further filter those endorsements into categories, which would also discourage some people from providing endorsements.
How LinkedIn endorsements can help your business
Think about not just your own LinkedIn profile but those of others in your business. How do the endorsements shape up compared to people within competitor businesses?
Also, what do your endorsements tell you about how people view your skills and expertise? While accepting the 99+ endorsements for Web Analytics and SEO, it’s surprising that ‘PPC’ and ‘Google Adwords’ don’t also have 99+. That may be due to people perceiving Adwords/PPC as being ‘SEO’ (so they click that instead) but it could also mean that the Adwords/PPC message hasn’t been portrayed as strongly as the self-belief of strength in that skill/expertise.
If you look at your own endorsements, what do they say about you? And also your colleagues?
Taking the subject of Web Analytics, if you had a need for such expertise and were referring to LinkedIn profiles, would you be more interested in someone who had lots of endorsements, or someone who didn’t?
People are getting better with their due diligence when considering even making contact with someone. We’ve seen many examples of people who have looked at LinkedIn profiles prior to making contact and some of those people have mentioned the endorsements (and we assume that others may also have looked at them).
Do people click through from LinkedIn (and vice-versa)?
If you use A1WebStats then you’ll probably be keeping track of the numbers of visitors you get from LinkedIn. Those visitors could come to you for a variety of reasons but amongst those, your endorsements could make a positive contribution.
Say you’ve posted in a group, with the intention of getting people to find out more about you. If they click through to your profile page and it doesn’t shout out “this person knows what they’re talking about” (which the endorsements can help with) then that may dampen the potential for them to then click through to your website to dig deeper.
It also works the other way – people on your website could then go through to LinkedIn to get a better feel for you or your colleagues, and may make judgements based on that.
A suggestion to you
Assuming that people may end up on the LinkedIn profiles of you or your colleagues, try the following test …
- Write down skills/expertise you believe that you/your colleagues should be endorsed for within LinkedIn.
- Take screenshots of your endorsements.
- Go and look at the profile pages of people within competitor companies, focusing on their endorsements.
- Compare the differences.
- Take action accordingly.
What does ‘take action’ mean? It means finding ways to give people more reasons to endorse you via LinkedIn. And that’s not something you can ask them to do – it needs you to ‘be your best’ so that when people see the opportunity to endorse you for something, they do it.