Use LinkedIn recommendations to gain social proof and a competitive advantage.
I often get asked the question when I’m training groups “What is the best way to ask for a LinkedIn recommendation?”
But before I answer that, I want you to understand WHY you should be requesting recommendations via the LinkedIn platform and the benefit you will gain.
#1– We live in a world where social proof matters. We shop online and we research online and most of us will read recommendations or reviews to help us make a decision on the research or to make a purchase. This applies to hiring people as well. (Amazon sellers and businesses with Google business listings thrive on reviews!)
#2 – A recommendation shows that someone trusted you and is willing to write about you publicly. This adds immediate credibility.
#3 – You are more likely to trust a person, product or service that numerous people have recommended positively and have gained results compared to someone who has no social proof or bad reviews.
#4 – Adding the right recommendations actually aid in lead generation. They influence people to engage with you when you connect with them.
LinkedIn remains the key platform for all professionals to maintain their professional reputation through their personal profile. Whether you are a business owner, executive, employee or a job seeker gaining positive recommendations throughout your career path matters.
LinkedIn recommendations are connected to real people’s profiles so there is nothing fake about a LinkedIn recommendation. You can follow it back to the person who wrote the recommendation and ask them more questions about the person they recommended.
“The most credible form of advertising comes straight from the people we know and trust. Eighty-three percent of online respondents in 60 countries say they trust the recommendations of friends and family.”
– Nielsen Report
How to Ask for a LinkedIn Recommendation
I suggest you ask for a variety of recommendations specific to what you want to be known for. You may be recognized for several different skills or services. In LinkedIn, you start your request from the person’s profile you are making the request. By clicking the MORE tab next to the blue message button at the top, you navigate the drop-down menu to ‘Request a recommendation.’
You select the relationship you had with the person at the time you provided a service and the position at the time. This means if you are an entrepreneur for example your experience section may have several different positions and to my point earlier, your recommendation should be specific to the skill or service you want to be known for. This may vary depending on your positions.
Be Specific in Your Request
It is important that you NEVER send the default request for recommendation. This doesn’t help you and you are not helping the person you are asking to take their time to recommend you. Your goal is to make it easy for the person you are asking to respond in a timely manner. In your request write a sentence or two about the service they purchased,and the results they gained from your service and benefits of working with you.
If you are seeking a recommendation on your skills because you may be looking for another job, you will want to specifically use the words describing the skills this person could acknowledge your having. If you are seeking a job that may be different than the title and description of your current position, asking for a recommendation from a trusted source with emphasizing you have specific skills can be important.
Update Your Recommendations
In my article 2019 LinkedIn Marketing Tips, in tip #6, I suggested you update your recommendations. Don’t think your recommendations are one and done. We change jobs, services and even careers so to remain relevant you want to be sure your recommendations are updated too. Also, as your network grows over the years you obtain new contacts and customers that can add to your credibility with a good recommendation so always be thinking about who you might request one from.
Timing is Everything
I suggest you request a recommendation immediately after completing a service because your results along with the experience working with you are fresh in the mind of the person you will be requesting the recommendation from. Again, be specific in what you want from them, but timing is everything in getting a LinkedIn recommendation that you want and in a timely manner.
LinkedIn will notify you that you have a recommendation that you can accept and add to your profile or request a modification.
How Many LinkedIn Recommendations are Best?
I am always asked how many recommendations should you get or how many are too many? First, I believe you should gain new recommendations every year regardless if you have the same job or position. Getting updated recommendations gives you the appearance of being up to date and relevant versus someone whose last recommendation was five years ago. Think from a customer or employers’ perspective! When you compare apples to apples and need to make a defining decision, often they could defer to relevancy and that person that has current recommendations and who is active on LinkedIn.
In terms of quantity – I would say the average person never has enough so I wouldn’t worry about too many. If you were to gain 3-6 new recommendations every year, that would put you in the above average category from what I have seen.
Leverage Your Recommendations
You can repurpose your LinkedIn recommendations on your website or in your marketing materials. This is a great use of your all-important recommendations.
Social proof in the form of LinkedIn recommendations are a goal every professional should have on their list. There have been many studies on how people buy and make decisions and recommendations are at the top. You can gain a competitive advantage in business and in the job search by have great recommendations – remember there is power in word of mouth marketing and we are far more likely to take action based on the recommendation or a friend, family member or colleague and don’t forget – the opinions of strangers.