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When It Comes to LinkedIn Endorsements, Are We Lemmings?

by Jennifer Beever on January 11, 2013

Are we lemmings of consensus?LinkedIn endorsements are important in that they build consensus about the skills you bring to the workplace. Since they are easy to give on LinkedIn (see my post on how to endorse), they can build quickly. And, because they are easy to review at a glance, they can influence employers or referrers as to your credentials. But LinkedIn member, beware! If you don’t manage your endorsements, you may build consensus in areas that don’t fit your skills!

Consensus is one of Six Principles of Persuasion identified by Robert Cialdini in his book, Influence, Science and Persuasion. (See my post on the principles, including a great video). According to Cialdini:

“people decide what is appropriate for them to do in a situation by examining what others are doing there. Consensus is activated by evidence of how others are thinking, feeling or acting. Consensus is amplified by evidence from many others and similar others and by uncertainty.”

Cialdini’s last point above is that the more uncertain someone is about a situation, the more they will be influenced by what others do or think.

Now, it would be nice to know that people think for themselves, but much of social media builds upon consensus. For example, Facebook defaults its news feed to the most popular stories, or those with the most likes and comments. If you want a chronological feed of your friends’ news, you have to select that preference. LinkedIn displays your endorsements in descending order, so the skill with the most votes is at the top – probably influencing your connections as they endorse you.

If endorsements on LinkedIn are so easy, and someone is uncertain as to what to endorse you for, what if you quickly end up with endorsements that are not the best match for your true skills? That’s why it’s important to manage your endorsements on LinkedIn. (See my video on How to Use Endorsements and Manage Skills.) If you see one of your key skills flagging – maybe due to some of your connections’ uncertainty and the quick build up of other skills based on what have endorsed due to the principle of consensus – you can invite your connections to endorse you for the skill that needs more votes.

Questions about LinkedIn? Do you want a better presence on this social media platform? Contact New Incite today. We provide LinkedIn training and set up as well as personal and company profile optimization.

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