Before I get into this week's tip, I want to let you know how excited I am to be part of the day-long Social Media Boot Camp in Milwaukee on Saturday, August 10. We will be covering the most important social media platforms for you and your business and providing great strategies and action steps for improving your effectiveness on each of them. Check out the schedule and roster of great speakers here.
Also, be sure to join me for a free preview webinar this Wednesday, August 31, where I will not only have a special discount for you, but I will share "3 Actionable LinkedIn Secrets You Probably Haven't Heard Before." Register for the preview webinar hereI highly recommend this boot camp.
Speaking of recommending things, that just happens to be the subject of this week's LinkedIn tip. This is not the standard discussion of LinkedIn recommendations--how important they are and how you should strive to get a couple for each job entry on your profile. For "Recommendations 101," I suggest you pick up a copy of my book that includes an entire chapter on recommendations.
Today I want to take a much more strategic look at recommendations--why you need them, how to use them, and why they are so critical in this new economy.
LinkedIn Recommendations: The Secrets Revealed

1.  Your name appears on other people's profiles.
What better recommendation section place to have your name and your job title show up than on the profile of a very important, well-respected individual in your town or industry. Talk about personal branding and increasing awareness of your brands--this really hits the target.  

2.  People can not only recommend you but also your products and services.
Of course, someone can talk about your products and services in a recommendation on your individual LinkedIn profile, and I always suggest that because the more specific these can be, the better. product and service recommendation But that alone is not much of a secret.
Here's the secret: The Products & Services tab on your company page is just waiting for you to load not only your products and services but recommendations for each. In addition to the actual recommendation, a photo of the person who did the recommending shows up in this section.
Also, when you scroll over that person's photo, his/her "10-Second Bumper Sticker" pops up (name, degree of connection to you, Headline, region of the country, and most recent job entry). The more smiling faces that show up here the better.
This is a great place to send prospective clients so they can check out specific information about your products and services (you can even include video) and see a roster of your fans and their comments about you and your products and services. You never know--they may just know someone on that list. Do you think that won't sell them?

3.  The number of recommendations you have and the keywords included in those recommendations are part of LinkedIn's search algorithm (their "secret sauce").
LinkedIn has shared that a couple of the important components of their "secret sauce" recipe (who gets picked up in a search and how high they appear) are the number of recommendations and the keywords that people are searching by and for. You don't have to like this or agree with it--just understand it and then make it work for you.
Action step: Go out and get lots of recommendations loaded with your most important keywords. This will help you move up in the search rankings when people are looking for you.

4.  Recommendations can give you insight into how people think.
This one is from one of my former job-seeker friends (notice I said "former").
Prior to an interview, she reviewed the recommendations the interviewer had written for others. From this she learned that the interviewer appreciates attention to detail.
Armed with this insight, my friend made a point of sharing with the interviewer all the wonderful real-life examples she had that pointed out her attention to detail. She got the job!
This process can also be used to learn what attributes are important to your potential customer, vendor, donor, etc.

5.  Recommendations are one of the fuels of this new Trust Economy.
Pre-Internet, selecting the vendor of choice included lots of phone calls, meetings, brochures, proposals, interviews, presentations, more interviews, more presentations, etc. by almost every potential vendor in the market.
Now think of how we do it in the Internet age:
Google, Google, and more Google.
I am not saying that all the steps I mentioned are no longer part of the process, but by reviewing company websites, recommendation websites, shopping comparison websites, blogs, and all the other social media sites, we are able to eliminate vendors before we ever actually contact them.  

You may be thinking, Sure, Wayne, but all those recommendations you got are written by people who like your products and services. No one ever writes a bad one. And if they did, you wouldn't let it be posted on your profile anyway.


That may be true, but would you want all those recommendations on your competitors' profiles instead of yours?