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LinkedIn Endorsements?

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Todd Terry
LinkedIn Endorsements?
on Oct 15, 2014 at 3:11:11 pm

Just curious, and talking a pulse here... doesn't anyone give a hoot about LinkedIn "endorsements"?

Being a social media luddite (which I freely admit), as I've said before here I don't quite "get" LinkedIn... have personally never received even one legitimate business tip or contact through it, and honestly don't know even one single other person that has either. It puzzles me that it's something like the second or third largest social networking site... but I guess they are doing something right.

I've long since learned to ignore about three quarters of the LinkedIn invitations I get, which are so totally random it's mindboggling... an Army Acquisition manger 2000 miles away, an Amtrak IT technician in Pennsylvania (as Liz Lemon would say, "What the what?")... and a couple hundred more that are "waiting my reply."

Endorsements are another thing though, since they more or less come from people I know... but also seem totally random. I have bunches of them as well, and I used to at least send the endorser back a quick "Hey thanks!" but with the ones I've been getting lately I've sort of been pretending the notifications don't even exist (I don't know what kind of feedback, if any, the endorser gets on their end).

For a while they seemed a little puzzling... an endorsement might seem appropriate (something I am actually good at), but then realizing this person (whom I may barely even know) would have no real knowledge of that.

And today I was endorsed as an "Expert in Final cut Pro"... by someone I only slightly know online and have certainly never worked with. And while I have indeed edited for the better part of three decades (and am pretty darn good at it), I can count on one hand the times that I have even touched an Apple computer (if helping someone move one counts), and have never so much as glanced at FCP.

I've heard some people say they actually viewed tons of endorsements as a negative, because they are so meaningless... but I thought I'd see what my friends in here have to say.


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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Tim Wilson
Re: LinkedIn Endorsements?
on Oct 15, 2014 at 4:21:12 pm

I actually HAVE gotten good job offers from LinkedIn, and I've made some priceless contacts that it's inconceivable to me that I'd have made any other way. It's also my preferred method of staying in touch with business contacts. I'm more likely to want to know where so-and-so is working these days than how his kids are doing in soccer, so any other social media platform is useless to me. I'm a LinkedIn believer, and an enthusiastic promoter.

To a point.

I'm also a very early member of the Stop Endorsements LinkedIn group. It was actually started by one of this industry's genuine wizards and true stars, Mark Schubin, of all people, and I was one of the first to join. For exactly the reasons you mention, Todd. Near strangers giving you a thumbs up for skills that you not only don't have, but VALUE not having.

It really is kind of the equivalent of a "poke" on Facebook. It's also ridiculous. I've got offers of endorsements in nearly 100 areas, whereas LinkedIn only allows 50 to be displayed. Welp, I don't think I'm an expert in 50 things. This is crazy.

The Stop Endorsements group grew fast, and had some real influencers in it. (Me: early adopter, yes, influencer, no.) LinkedIn made some profound changes to the feature. For one, YOU CAN TURN IT OFF. If you go to Edit your profile, then to the Skills area, you can make all kinds of tweaks.

All those boxes are checked by default. When I made this screencap, I actually noticed some new ones, but you get the gist. There's actually a nice bit of tweakability there.

Note that I've only added four areas of expertise: Television, Film, Teen Vampire Fiction, and Hair Care. THOSE are important to me.

I'm of two minds about the rest. Part of me has always felt like my next job would be nowhere near this industry. Nursing, library science, retail, ANYTHING but this, so I've completely let any kind of self-marketing slide.

But if I were to stay, things like "Product Marketing" and "Competitive Analysis" would definitely be skills I'd want to have people associate with me. So I may start accepting endorsements for those.

The thing is that LinkedIn recommendations used to be worth something. The job offers I got all cited my recommendations. I feel like endorsements have choked those out of the ecosystem, but I think I might should also start collecting those again.

Starting to ramble (who? ME?), but there's the lay of the land.

Endorsements are annoying
You can manage them
LinkedIn is still worth cultivating
I'm probably overthinking my future

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.

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Ned Miller
Re: LinkedIn Endorsements?
on Oct 15, 2014 at 8:54:19 pm
Last Edited By Ned Miller on Oct 15, 2014 at 8:57:51 pm

People- If you have more work than you know what to do with then don't waste time reading the following...

Hey Todd,

I am a LI addict and have gotten quite a bit of work from it. NOT from people finding me and then contacting and hiring me, rather, I use it as a powerful prospecting tool, especially the Advanced Search Function.

I too do not understand Endorsements, never pay attention to them and feel guilty I do not reciprocate. However, I have used the Recommendation function to extreme advantage as a marketing tool. Let's say I have a great experience with a new client, I will shortly (that day) ask for him or her to Connect. They usually do it instantly or within a day or so. Then...I send a Recommendation request, what we normally call Testimonials. I ask if you have a couple of minutes could you write a few sentences. Naturally I would never ask a curmudgeon. So they send the blurb but on LI itself it is useless.

So this is how it helps with my marketing: I then edit their Testimonial (Recommendation) and add it to a two page PDF that has a photo of me. So there's about 15-20 testimonials about my cameraman/producing services, saying Ned is the best thing since sliced bread, my business would be in the toilet without Ned, if I wasn't already married I would marry Ned, etc. They have the real person's name, company and title in 90% of the blurbs, the other 10% I don't want my competitors hitting them up.

Finale: When I get a nibble in the form of an email, or perhaps when I do a cold call email, I have attached two PDFs below my signature, one is my slick brochure and the other is this fantastic 2 pager of testimonials. I like using LI to request them because I think doing it directly is too pushy. Here is my LI testimonials but it looks cleaner on the PDF:

That URL is also part of my email signature.

And as to accepting Connections, I only do it for people I know but salivate if they are what I call my Prospect Class, meaning an exec or someone in a position to hire pro video services such as a manager or VP of marketing, sales, PR, corp comm etc. I mask my connections so my competitors can't troll them but most of these folks from the Prospect Class DO NOT HIDE their connections so if they are local to Chicago, WOW!, I now have a lot of new peeps to hit up. Of course I only do this on days I'm not doing real, profitable work and it has to be crummy outside, but I have gotten a lot of biz from LI due to my prospecting. Never a nibble from someone finding me. I have taught many slow buddies who do not compete how to use LI.

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer

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