How to Build a Powerful Personal Brand Using LinkedIn: The Power of Recommendations

This is Part 4 of How to build a powerful personal brand using LinkedIn.

Your LinkedIn profile is a living resume.

On any good resume, you’ll find references, and on LinkedIn, those references are called recommendations.

Recommendations will serve to set you apart from your competitors and are yet another part of the jigsaw puzzle to help the reader of your profile build a comprehensive picture of just who you are as a real estate agent.

They’re even more powerful when the person reading them knows the person that wrote them.

Why recommendations work

Great recommendations will help you:

  • Build a powerful personal brand and construct an enviable reputation,
  • Show what you do for a living, and how you work as an agent, and
  • Highlight your strengths and help your cause.

In other words, they’re the perfect social proof.

When a prospective client visits your profile, they’ll be expecting to read recommendations from satisfied customers and clients, so don’t let them down!

Recommendations that work

Unlike humans, recommendations aren’t created equal. There are good ones, and not so good ones. The best recommendations are:

  • Specific – they’re laser-focused on a role or particular job, and they
  • Tell a story of a business relationship through words and emotions.

Bad recommendations are devoid of specifics, and full of platitutes that add little value to a LinkedIn profile.

How to obtain great quality recommendations

One of the most common newbie mistakes on LinkedIn is to ask too many people for recommendations.

Some agents, in a rush to complete their profile, use the “request recommendations function” to ask people who are barely familiar with their work for a reference. The few they receive add little or no value and reduce the impact gained from any good quality references displayed on their profile.

When it comes to LinkedIn recommendations, think quality, not quantity.

So what’s the best way to get LinkedIn recommendations?

Here’s a few tips:

  • Ask people who know your work really well.
  • Before sending a LinkedIn request, get on the phone! Let the person know why you want a recommendation, and why it’s important.
  • While on the phone, you may want to outline some of the specifics you’d like to see in the recommendation – these might include mentioning a great auction result or a clever piece of marketing that unearthed that unexpected buyer.
  • It’s not uncommon to offer to write a draft of the recommendation.
  • When you finally get around to sending the request for endorsement, take the time to delete the generic text that LinkedIn provides – write something personal in its place.  By taking that little extra time, you’ll let the other person know how important a quality recommendation is to you.
  • Ask a range of people, not just clients. You might ask colleagues, partners, and suppliers – this will give prospective clients and employees a far more balanced picture of just who you are and what you’re like to work with.

Smart agents are always on the lookout for recommendations – and they don’t always come from LinkedIn. If a client send you an email thanking you for a job well done, check if they’re on LinkedIn. If they are, ask them to post it as an endorsement for your current role.

Custom recommendation

Delete the default text and write a custom request for recommendation.

The power of giving

The best recommendations you’ll ever receive will most likely come from someone returning the favour, after you’ve written them a powerful endorsement.

So while asking for recommendations works, the ultimate weapon is to give them!

Giving a recommendation that is:

  • glowing,
  • relevant, and
  • specific

will help make you a key influencer in their network. After all, your recommendation could be the very thing that helps someone land a good job or lucrative contract.

Be sure to focus on helping the other person get more business.

Manage your recommendations

Once you’ve received several recommendations for a role, it’s smart to surface only the best of them on your profile.

Some people choose to leave all recommendations visible, but this can lead to a prospective client missing the best and most powerful.

Using the ‘received recommendations’ tab, carefully remove those recommendations that don’t help to convey your personal brand story. If it doesn’t highlight your key strengths, remove it! (You can always add it back in later if you change your mind.)

LinkedIn recommendations are a key tool to making your LinkedIn profile tell a powerful brand story.

If you’ve followed my advice about building a solid foundation, building a profile that sells, optimising your profile to get found, and using recommendations throughout this series – congratulations!

You have a complete, carefully crafted LinkedIn profile that’s working for you by presenting a strong representation of your personal brand.

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About Peter Fletcher

Speaker, trainer, and consultant helping real estate agents sort out their online communication strategy.

@peterfletcher - Google+

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