You will have seen the new endorsements feature on Linkedin. I’m sure you’ve given a few and received a few already. Linkedin is pushing them so a big blue box appears at the top of your connections profiles suggesting you endorse.

But are they any good as a tool to drive business?

Endorsements are surely there to increase the level of trust readers of your profile have towards your skills. Which is great as long as the endorsements themselves are trustworthy. What concerns me is that Linkedin is pushing endorsements and making it easy to just click a button and endorse people for the skills suggested by Linkedin. So do the people endorsing you really have experience of those chosen skills?

Also I’ve seen a flurry of endorsements – is it a “I will endorse you if you endorse me’ situation? with little quality control.

The other element that is aimed at building trust are the recommendations. Linkedin have  taken away the recommendations count from your profile – which I think is bad. And I guess endorsements go some way to make up for this. But recommendations are much more valuable as a user has to write a few lines, which is a more considered action than simply clicking an endorsement button.

So my advice with recommendations and endorsements is to be truthful. Don’t say something or endorse a skill you really don’t have the knowledge to.

Also ask for specific recommendations and endorsements. Ask people who you know can give you a meaningful recommendation or endorsement.

I send recommendation requests to clients only. A couple of past colleagues have recommended me, which is great. But my client ones are the most valuable.

I have also sent direct messages to clients asking them to endorse me. I ask them to come to my profile – because currently Linkedin will present a big blue box to them at the top – and give clear instructions to deselect skills they don’t feel they have the knowledge to endorse me for and also ask them to type in any skill that is not in the big blue box. (I like the ‘nice guy’ skill but few people have found it yet!) The point is they know how to endorse me properly and not simply click a button because it’s easy.

I think that by being clear with them that I only want solid and meaningful endorsements shows them how I run myself and my business – based on truth and honesty. Surely that says more than a high number of endorsements, that may have little value – it’s not a numbers game, it’s about quality.

So build a quality bank of connections, customer/client recommendations and endorsements. Make sure you are proud to have them and give the same to your connections. Your network will know and it will reflect well on you – don’t be seduced by high numbers.