LinkedIn Builds Its Portfolio with Endorsements and Influencer Blogs

LinkedIn has been very busy lately trying to make sure their own profile is more complete.

First, they rolled out something for company pages called Featured Updates – a new way for businesses to highlight their content by promoting it to the top of their company update stream. Unlike Facebook which seems to be dreaming up more and more ways to make companies pay to get their content out, this is a free feature that lets brands give prominent placement to news they want to highlight and spotlight it for up to 48 hours.

Next, in an effort to bring more individual users to the site, they rolled out a new blogging platform. Publishing is only available to 150 specially selected “influencers” currently, but LinkedIn says it will be adding more in the future. One of them could be you – or your boss. They’re accepting applications from LinkedIn members who can provide quality content on a consistent basis. If you’re a communicator supporting a high-level executive who is finally ready to start blogging, rather than start from scratch, it might be worth applying to get them on the LinkedIn platform with its built-in readership.LinkedIn Thought Leaders

Current business and leadership luminaries blogging on the site include our U.S. presidential candidates, Arianna Huffington, Richard Branson, Deepak Chopra, and social media maven Steve Rubel who announced his involvement with this tweet on October 2: “LinkedIn now allows you to follow experts. I was invited prior to the launch. Here are my posts. http://lnkd.in/j9kyfV  http://lnkd.in/HSE2iU

“Unlike Twitter, which emphasizes short-form content, and Facebook, which lacks curation, LinkedIn’s publishing service will place value on higher-quality content from a select number of influencers, according to Daniel Roth, executive editor at LinkedIn,” reports FastCompany.

LinkedIn, which had revenue of $522 million last year, makes money from selling ads and premium subscriptions, as well as from offering specialized services to recruiters, according to Reuters. The news service notes that this change could spur people to spend more time on LinkedIn, allowing the company to generate more advertising revenue.

But, it’s this next new feature that generated the most mixed response and caused some to cry that the network “went Klout on us.”

LinkedIn Connection Director Nicole Williams said “Getting an endorsement from a trusted contact enhances your skillset and shows that someone else has put their trust in you.”

But, I don’t predict these one-click endorsements can replace recommendations – at least not in value. It is as easy as giving +K on Klout, but at a certain point it becomes just so much noise. Sure that person has 50 people who say they’re skilled at marketing campaigns, but how many of them are just friends, or worse, casual acquaintances looking for reciprocal endorsements? Taking the time to describe someone’s experience by writing a recommendation shows that you really know what they’ve accomplished.

Endorsing someone is quick. Just click on an existing skill they’ve already proclaimed, or type several words to suggest a new one. A majority of “profile changes” I’ve seen since this launched are people rushing to add skills to their profile so they can select the ones available. In addition to endorsing individuals one by one, you can even do multiple connections at once. How meaningful is that?

Adam Broitman of Something Massive is asking that same question in poll form:

View poll on GoPollGo//

Endorsements are only available in English for the US, India, New Zealand and Australia currently; but, LinkedIn says they “look forward to expanding Endorsements in all languages to all members over the next few weeks.”

But, I wouldn’t discount the value of continuing to ask the people you’ve worked for to write a real recommendation. And, as they suggest at HR Virtual Cafe, it’s probably a good idea for you to go write a few yourself.

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