Compelling, on-brand recommendations on your LinkedIn profile from those who know your work and value best, are a powerful way to attract your target audience, when combined with a strong, well-written profile.
Writing brand-reinforcing recommendations for people in your LinkedIn network strengthens the relationship and, of course, is a very nice thing to do. An added benefit to writing recommendations for others is that you get a link to your own profile.
A good thing about the recommendations you receive — you can show them or not show them. So, if a recommendation doesn’t quite have the punch you were hoping for or if it becomes less potent, as your focus changes, you can hide it.
Jason Alba has sound advice in the second edition of his book “I’m on LinkedIn – Now What???”:
“If you want a recommendation, give a recommendation! You are more likely to get a good recommendation if you give one first.”
Here are his 5 recommendations:
1. Only ask for recommendations from someone who can give you a real recommendation.
2. Only give recommendations when you have something you can honestly say about the person.
3. Give recommendations without demanding a reciprocal recommendation.
4. Don’t feel strong-armed to give a recommendation.
5. Give recommendations that are specific, speaking to professional competencies, skills, attributes, etc.
Naina Redhu wrote a very helpful post about LinkedIn recommendations on the Online Business Networking blog. She included several LinkedIn recommendations written for her — the good, mediocre, and bad — and offered 8 factors that make or break a LinkedIn recommendation:
1. Whether you have actually WORKED with the person?
2. Whether they have actually DELIVERED a product / service to you?
3. Were you truly HAPPY with their product / service / dealings?
4. Whether you have actually MET this person?
5. Whether you would be comfortable recommending this persons’ services to your own company / family / best friend?
6. Punctuation / language and spellings.
7. Why are you making the recommendation in the first place?
8. If the person had a fall-out with you tomorrow, what would you do?
Her best tip:
Talk about specifics: imagine you are reading someone’s recommendation and figure out what you would want to know about them as a prospective client / prospective business partner / prospective employer / prospective employee and then write your recommendation.