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Our Thinking

How great are you? Endorsements and Recommendations

How good are you, really? While we all may have our own (sometimes inflated) opinions of our greatness, the reality of our expertise – and our personal brand – is always defined by others. Social Media, for the first time ever, gives us the opportunity to find this out directly.

Here are some ideas on how your greatness can be exposed on the social web…

Numerical measures: Of course, one way to measure our influence is through the number of followers, friends, and connections. The greater the number of followers the better. And the number of retweets, likes, and shares also speak to what people think of you: activity equals respect and influence.

Comments: Beyond the numbers, the quality of the comments is also important. For example, if people are not just commenting on your original post, but also commenting on the comments, this speaks to your ability to strike a chord – and develop a community. The activity level of “your” community is a direct reflection on your greatness.

LinkedIn Recommendations: These are the 2-3 sentence testimonials that some of your connections give you. Because others can see both the recommender and the context of their relationship, recommendations are an exceptionally powerful indicator. There is also the benefit of selectivity: you need not have a LinkedIn recommendation appear on your profile – it’s totally up to you.

LinkedIn Endorsements: These are relatively new, and one of LinkedIn’s most powerful features. For the skills that you have listed, others can vote for (“endorse”) your strongest. In essence, this is crowdsourcing your reputation. To get the most from this feature, only list those skills that you really want “on the menu”. If you list too many, you may put yourself in the embarrassing position of thinking that you have a skill, but the market not agreeing. One additional point: unlike LinkedIn Recommendations, ALL endorsements appear on your profile – the only choice you have is which skills to list.

This week’s action plan: Take a closer look at how great you really are. If there is a gap between your self-image and what is reflected on the Social Web, then close it. Hint: start with LinkedIn Endorsements and Recommendations. (And check out whether I am following my own recommendations, at http://www.LinkedIn.com/in/RandallCraig)

Bonus Opportunity: A few weeks ago, I presented a session to the CSAE, entitled “Bums in Seats and Minds Engaged; Using Social Media to Drive Attendance and Engage your Audience”. We’ve started a LinkedIn group to continue the conversation. If you are interested, please join (and contribute your ideas.) Here’s the URL: http://budurl.com/BumsInSeats.

Since 1994, Randall Craig has advised on web and social media strategy. He is the President of 108 ideaspace inc. and author of six books including the Online PR and Social Media series. More information about Randall Craig can be found at ideas108.wpengine.com.

This post has been written by 108’s Senior Advisor and former CEO Randall Craig.