Monday, July 28, 2008

Using LinkedIn Recommendations

One of the things I've always admired about LinkedIn is its ability to not only connect me with people I know (and want to know!), but also to allow me to give anyone who finds me online an idea of what it's like to work with the zen kitchen. The Recommendation feature is a great example of that. I work with someone on a project, it goes along swimmingly, and I ask them to write up a quick recommendation, so that others can see how good I am. Great for the ego, and great for business.

But then there's the occasional person who takes unfair advantage of the system. These are the folks who either ask you for a recommendation 5 minutes after meeting you, or the folks who write you a recommendation without really knowing anything about your work - ostensibly in the hopes that you'll return the favor. My advice - don't accept them, and certainly don't give them.

Here's the thing: a LinkedIn recommendation is basically a testimonial for your brand. And as with all testimonials, the savvy consumer can sniff out a fake one a mile and a half away. In the case of one recommendation I got unsolicited from someone I hadn't worked with before, the text was so generic ("Dani prides herself on providing 110% customer satisfaction!") that I couldn't, in good conscience, keep it active; while I do pride myself on providing 110% customer satisfaction, how does this help the average profile reader determine what it's like to work with me on a specific project? How does this help a potential client understand how I can solve their business's brand communication problem?

The best way to get solid, genuine recommendations on LinkedIn: work with someone on a project. It goes well, write them a recommendation about what it was like working with them on this project, and humbly ask that they return the favor. 9 out of 10 times, they will - and what they write will be INFINITELY better than any generic recommendation from someone you just met.

No comments: