LinkedIn is predominantly a business-oriented social networking platform that you can use to connect with other like-minded individuals in your industry. It is a great place to build your professional identity, grow your network and generate leads for your business. As a small business owner, growing your business contacts and networking is at the heart of business success. This is why LinkedIn is the most important social network for business professionals.

With over 400 million users worldwide and 20 million registered users in the UK, there’s a good chance that at some point, people who are interested in doing business with you will check out your LinkedIn profile and Company page to learn more about you and your company.

Both your personal and company pages have places for people to make recommendations about you, and to share their experience of doing business with you. Essentially, LinkedIn recommendations present a perfect opportunity to showcase what is great about doing business with you and your company.

What is a LinkedIn Recommendation?

A LinkedIn recommendation is a customer testimonial. It is a personal endorsement that attests to your ability, trustworthiness and credibility. It is the equivalent of a consumer online review in that it provides third-party verification of the information on your LinkedIn profile.

Recommendations could come from friends, clients, or past employers, and they generally attest to your unique skills, work ethic and expertise and ultimately, your credibility. This is why they are such powerful customer acquisition tools. They can enhance your professional credibility and create the right impression on people who are considering doing business with you and your company.

Recommendations are like getting professional references before you need them, so when a client asks you for references, you can easily refer them to your LinkedIn profile. These powerful signs of approval help build your brand image imply that you’re a person worthy of doing business with. Giving and receiving recommendations clearly enhances your LinkedIn profile.

It is significant to note that when one of your clients provide a recommendation to you or your company, that client’s entire network will receive a notification that they’ve endorsed you.

Advantages of Recommendations

They are powerful social proof.

Recommendations are one of the most powerful aspects of LinkedIn, and can help build your personal brand’s reputation on the platform. Genuine and well-written recommendations by your customers offer independent personal and professional feedback about your skills and validate your expertise and credibility.

On the LinkedIn network, self-promotion is given very little regard when it is not backed up by independent verification. Recommendations provide the opportunity to let a third party tell everybody how competent and valuable you are. This is the principle of ‘social proof’ – if enough people swear by you, you must do an excellent job.

Give you a leg up over the competition.

Recommendations give you a leg up over the competition. If a prospective customer has to choose between you with ten or more recommendations from previous customers and a competitor with none or much fewer, all things being equal, chances are you’ll be selected because the recommendations attest to the fact that you’re a safe risk based on your past recommendations.

Create more ways for you to be found on LinkedIn.

Recommendations create more ways for you to be found on LinkedIn through profile searches, service provider directory searches, and other LinkedIn members’ profiles who have recommended and endorsed you for specific skills. In advanced search, users can even search for other users based on their recommendations.

Note that when one of your connections recommends or endorses you, the activity appears in their update stream as well as in the Recommendations box on the right side of their profiles. If you have a lot of recommendations, your profile would be much more prominent in the search results than profiles that have few or no recommendations.

Stand out from the competition in the Service Providers directory.

Recommendations allow you to be listed within the service providers directory. Within the directory, searchers can choose to view either the most recent or most highly recommended service providers. Recommendations also allow people to find you via advanced search, and through other LinkedIn members’ profiles who have recommended you. In addition, the number of LinkedIn recommendations you have has a very real impact on your profile’s searchability.

Giving recommendations provides real proof of your leadership qualities.

Being able to actively recognize the value of others and motivate them is an essential leadership skill. If you have provided meaningful recommendations to many of your previous colleagues and subordinates on LinkedIn, it provides some proof of your leadership qualities.

Recommendations provide reassurances to potential investors.

When a potential investor who is considering investing in your company reads lots of genuine Recommendations that can all be individually verified, such pubic endorsements of approval can only serve to reassure the investor that you are a safe bet.