Given my outgoing personality, my obsession with the latest news and the fact that I’ve always been an early adopter of new communications tools, it’s no surprise that I’ve been enamored with social media from the get-go.
I can’t tell you how excited I was to launch my own blog in early 2004, where I’ve written nearly 100,000 words on almost anything and everything that has to do with marketing. I became a member of Facebook in late 2007. I joined Twitter on May 8, 2008. I’ve bookmarked over 4,800 blog posts and articles on Delicious. I use Google Reader on a regular basis. And I have my own YouTube channel, which I use to share my thoughts on what’s important to me – and, hopefully, others – in the industry in which I earn my livelihood.
But out of all the social media outposts where I’ve established a presence, the one that probably gets the most attention among traditional business folks is LinkedIn, which I joined on July 26, 2004, almost seven years ago. In fact, I’m proud to say I was among the first one million members – number 882,759, to be exact – of this professional networking site that recently eclipsed the 100 million-member mark.
On LinkedIn, I’m fortunate to have connected with over 800 others, people who, like me, are more than happy to help one another make the most of their professional lives. And that includes writing recommendations for those among your network who deserve to be singled out for their expertise and experience.
So far, I’ve written recommendations for 59 people in my LinkedIn network, each of whom I’ve worked with in some capacity during the course of my career. I’m grateful for the 44 recommendations that others have written for me.
LinkedIn recommendations should be short and to the point, speaking to the strengths and skills you’ve seen up close and personal in the recipients of your high praise. When you write one, try to be as specific as possible, providing your own unique perspective on why someone else should be interested in hiring or doing business in some capacity with this individual. If he or she is a star, say so, enthusiastically and effusively. Cite his or her attributes and actual accomplishments. Use colorful adjectives and descriptive prose. You want to sound like you mean every single one of your kind words, not like you wrote them just because you were asked.
In fact, not every one of your LinkedIn recommendations needs to be solicited. Write one or two every once in a while for those who especially stand out. They’ll not only thank you for it, the likelihood is they’ll reciprocate and write a recommendation for you in return. That’s certainly good form.
And, yes, while it may be a little awkward, don’t worry about declining someone’s request to write a recommendation if for any reason you think it’s unwarranted. That’s business.
The bottom line is that whether you’re providing them for others or receiving them yourself, LinkedIn recommendations are extremely important. They’re a big part of your social currency that should reflect well on you as a corporate citizen and go a long way toward enhancing your online reputation.
To read all 59 of the LinkedIn recommendations I’ve written so far, please check out my LinkedIn profile by clicking here.
And…what about you? How many LinkedIn recommendations have you written and received? If you have anything to add to this post, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.
Finally, if you’d like to get some additional thoughts about LinkedIn recommendations, here are a variety of posts written by other folks about this same topic…
LinkedIn Recommendation Tips by Chris Brogan
Elements of a Good LinkedIn Recommendation by Chris Brogan
Ask For and Give LinkedIn Recommendations by Dianna Huff
The Art of Getting LinkedIn Recommendations by Dan Klamm
10 Ways to Maximize LinkedIn for Personal Branding by Kyle Lacy
LinkedIn recommendations: love ‘em or leave ‘em? by Matthew Levy
How to Write a LinkedIn Recommendation by Lisa B. Marshall
How to Write Better LinkedIn Recommendations by Jennifer Mattern
Writing LinkedIn Recommendations You Actually Like by Cathy Miller
Recommendations and the Reputation Economy by Adam Nash
10 Tips: Asking for Recommendations on LinkedIn by Tim Tyrell-Smith
How to ask for LinkedIn recommendations by Meriam Salpeter
Are LinkedIn recommendations valuable? by Alexa Samuels
Note: This post, "The Importance of LinkedIn Recommendations," was initially published on the blog, A New Marketing Commentator, on May 1, 2011.