There is a strategy to LinkedIn.

Ok there are many strategies to LinkedIn. But there is one really easy strategy that I immediately do after researching a new client’s level of “social proof”. I research this throughout their social media presence and this can take some time. Which is of course why they hire me. But not everyone has the means to hire a social media strategist for themselves and their business.

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So I want to share a quick and easy way to increase your social proof quotient on LinkedIn.

Two areas on LinkedIn that scream social proof are your profile recommendations and endorsements.

Recommendations should be interspersed throughout all of your experiences, but most heavily weighted under your most recent experience – the one that tells your readers the direction you are going and how you are going to get there.

Often my clients who come to me for LinkedIn assistance are in transition. Transition possibly from a corporate job to entrepreneurship, or from a small idea to a bigger business evolution. And it is through your experience (and summary) sections that we showcase how your skills translate to your newly choose field or niche. This new field or evolution needs to be represented by proof that you are still an expert.

Endorsements should also showcase your new niche requirements. This section is where you can grab the profile readers who I call the “skimmers.” Those readers who just want to get to the nitty gritty: what do you do, how do you do it, and who thinks you are good at it. When they see that 99+ strangers (to them) agree that you are very good at Public Speaking, or Sales Copy, or Social Media Strategy, it makes an impact.

As humans we are wired to believe in what the “herd” believes in. There is safety in numbers and if those numbers show us that we can trust you to be what you say you are, then we most likely will. As will your next business prospect, future client, future partner or sale.

Think of Yelp. I use Yelp a handful of times a week. To find a restaurant, to find a good dry cleaner, or to find a gym with good customer service. LinkedIn endorsements and recommendations are your version of a Yelp review and you can’t afford to ignore their power.

Steps to creating your plan of action on how to build in hefty social proof to your LinkedIn profile.

1.Make sure your endorsements are using your keywords.
Don’t let people who haven’t worked with you for 5 years endorse you for those skills they vaguely remember you doing well. Create your own list chock full of keywords that exemplify your new market. Go into “edit profile” mode and cruise down to your endorsements section. Click on “add new skills” and go to town. There is a limit of course, but try to think of the top 10 skills that are keywords in your business niche and add those in.

2. Move your endorsements around to highlight your top skills.
Yep you can re-order those skills to your hearts content. Make sure the skills that you want noticed the most are up at the top. The first 10 skills are usually the ones that get the most clicks, so even if those skills are newer – that’s ok! Soon they will be full up.

3. Endorse other people routinely.
This is a no brainer because LinkedIn makes it so easy to do this by giving suggestions on who to endorse for what every time you log into your profile. And my hope is you are logging in at least a couple times a week. As you endorse others it is usually a quick response as they return the favor.

4. Once a week log in and take a look at your connections.
While you are working on steps 1 through 3 I want you to be thinking of recommendations too. Each time write down a few people who you would be able to write a thoughtful and genuine recommendation of their work experience. Or maybe you have connections in which are very enthusiastic about their work – that is a great thing too! Plan on once a week, investing in about 15-20 minutes, to craft a recommendation for them. That can go a long way to getting organic recommendations of your own.

5. Finally – please just ask!
People love to be asked to help out, and I always love to write a recommendation for someone who deserves it, so don’t be afraid to be honest and just ask someone. Take that same time each week and look for 2 people in your contacts list to ask if they would write you a recommendation. Be clear and specific to save them time. Let them know exactly which skills you are looking to highlight and which experience to attach the recommendation to. One word of warning: you can’t transfer existing recommendations to new experiences so make sure you are editing current experiences to enhance the specific experiences you want to keep if there are recommendations there you don’t want to lose. Or make sure you are happy to create a new experience knowing you will be able to get new recommendations when you are finished.

LinkedIn is a platform designed to enhance your social proof. Endorsements lay a good foundation and recommendations are this version of social proof on steroids! So let’s get you out there showing the world you are an expert in your field, start with these 5 steps today.

Need to meet some people who are happy to endorse and recommend as we get to know each other? Join my LinkedIn group! We always try to help where we can whether that be through advice, encouragement, endorsements of skills we know you have and more. I hope to see you there.