As a business consultant who has coached over 100 entrepreneurs and small business owners, I‘ve seen firsthand the immense value of LinkedIn endorsements.
Endorsements serve as social proof and reinforce your credibility as an expert in your field—something that can generate leads and opportunities.
In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll break down everything small business owners, solopreneurs, and entrepreneurs need to know about accumulating endorsements and leveraging them to grow your business:
What is a LinkedIn Endorsement?
A LinkedIn endorsement is when a connection clicks the "Endorse" button next to a skill on your profile.
This adds their name and photo next to the skill, publicly indicating that they endorse your capability in that specific area.
You can list up to 50 key skills on your profile that connections can endorse. Each results in a separate endorsement that serves as an virtual reference for that skill.
For example, if you list "Content Marketing" as a skill, a connection could endorse you to vouch that you indeed possess strong content marketing abilities based on working together.
These endorsements then accumulate and are displayed as social proof underneath each skill on your profile.
Why LinkedIn Endorsements Matter for Entrepreneurs
As an entrepreneur trying to win clients, endorsements can provide immense value in multiple ways:
1. Credibility & Social Proof for Conversions
91% of potential clients vet a business online first before making a purchase decision. Endorsements help build trust and credibility during this vetting process by displaying social signals that you indeed have the skills and expertise claimed.
This added credibility makes visitors more likely to become customers. According to Nielsen research, 70% of consumers trust endorsements and recommendations online when making purchasing choices.
2. Expand Your Network & Gain Introductions
When someone endorses you, it shows up in the activity feeds of their own connections—granting you exposure to whole new networks.
This can lead to more profile views, connection requests, and serve as a catalyst for high-value introductions you may have never gained otherwise.
As one example, a single endorsement led me to connect with a journalist who ended up featuring one of my clients in Forbes. This is networking gold!
3. Reinforce Your Personal Brand & Thought Leadership
Thought leadership and personal brand building are key pillars for consultancies and agencies to attract clients.
Accumulating endorsements in your niche areas of expertise goes a long way in cementing your status as a thought leader. It strengthens your reputation and builds familiarity exactly for what you want to be known for.
4. Improved Search Visibility & Discoverability
According to LinkedIn, profiles with 5+ endorsements can get up to 17x more profile views than those with no endorsements.
The more endorsements received, the higher you may rank in LinkedIn‘s search algorithm when professionals are searching for someone with those skills. This puts you in front of more qualified prospects.
How to Get LinkedIn Endorsements
There are several proven approaches to rapidly accumulate credible endorsements:
Step 1: Endorse Others Generously
The #1 way to get endorsements is to give them. Set aside dedicated time each week to scroll your network and generously endorse connections for their legitimate skills.
This activity alone sparks significant reciprocity where connections will then endorse your skills in return.
Step 2: Ask Directly
Don‘t be afraid to directly ask your closest connections to endorse your related skills, especially those who have worked with you extensively.
The best way is to personalize endorsement requests and tie them to how that person would be familiar with a specific skill:
"Hey Cindy, would you mind endorsing my Excel modeling skills? I recall that monthly financial analysis I did for your marketing campaigns really helped optimize budget. An endorsement would mean a ton!"
Step 3: Broadcast Your Wins to Prompt Recognition
Whenever you or your agency completes an exciting new project, share the news across your social networks. This serves two functions:
- It allows connections to publicly recognize your related skills and provides a natural prompt for them to endorse you
- It builds community excitement and familiarity with your services—leading to more customer interest
For example, after completing a successful brand strategy project that led to a 200% increase in leads, I posted about it on LinkedIn. Five connections endorsed my Brand Positioning skill that week without me even asking!
This ties perfectly with our next recommendation…
Step 4: Consistently Update Your Skills
Set calendar reminders to revisit your skills section monthly and refresh it. Add emerging skills you want endorsements for and remove outdated ones.
This gives your connections something current and relevant to endorse you on. It also showcases the evolution of your expertise over time.
After recently adding "Clubhouse Moderator" to my skills, it prompted connections to endorse me for public speaking experience they hadn‘t initially considered.
Maximize the Impact of Your Endorsements
It‘s equally important to display your endorsements for maximum impact:
Feature Skills Higher in Your Profile
I recommend organizing your profile so your most relevant and endorsed skills are higher up your skills section.
This ensuring visitors see them immediately and reinforces credibility faster. Prioritizing is everything!
By default, LinkedIn only displays an abbreviated list of endorsers publicly for each skill.
I highly recommend changing this setting (Profile > Edit Public Profile & URL > Show All Endorsers on Your Profile) so visitors can scroll through each and every endorsement received—adding to your credibility.
Analyze Skills With Most Endorsements
Pay attention to which skills receive the most endorsements organically. This indicates the areas you‘re already perceived as an expert in.
Consider tuning your marketing to focus on promoting these "endorsement worthy" services specifically across networks to attract more clients.
It‘s like getting a free analysis of what your strengths are according to the market!
Don‘t Buy or Exchange False Endorsements
While endorsements are invaluable, I strongly advise entrepreneurs never pay for or exchange endorsements just to boost numbers. It violates LinkedIn‘s terms and looks dishonest if you endorse skills irrelelvant to a connection just hoping for reciprocity.
The value comes from receiving credible endorsements organically over the course of doing great work from those familiar with it. There are no shortcuts here!
LinkedIn Endorsements Positively Impact Small Businesses
I hope this guide provides an exhaustive look into endorsements and empowers entrepreneurs reading this to better utilize them for credibility and exposure. They have skyrocketed consulting requests for my own agency!
Is there any aspect of LinkedIn endorsements I haven‘t covered that you have questions on? Feel free to reach out anytime. This is what I‘m here for!