Recommend this! The tricky world of online endorsements and testimonials

This week I’ve received a bunch of written testimonials for my social media training.

Like the handwritten letter, this doesn’t always happen, but they are lovely things to see.

A client sent me to New Zealand last week to provide a one-day social media class and the students were asked to fill out evaluation forms. They scored me 10/10 (3 votes), 9/10 (3 votes) and 8/10 (3 votes) with one forgetting to vote … Was probably another 10. 😉

Another client gathered feedback after a two-part webinar series we ran. Some of the comments included the following:

“I had a good understanding of social media and its use, however was still hesitant in putting myself out there due to previous experiences. I have been concerned with privacy … I signed up to Facebook and Twitter as a result of Prakky’s session and have enjoyed the last week knowing that I do have control over my social media life”.

“Finally someone explained Twitter in a way that I understood. I really enjoyed getting on Twitter for a walk-through with everyone else”.

“This was an excellent session and gave a great overview of social media and the benefits and also downside of them. I learned heaps about Twitter, opened an account and started tweeting”.

These written testimonials caused me to think about the world of recommendations again. It’s a regular hot topic in relation to LinkedIn, where people muse over the usefulness of the Endorse feature, and also LinkedIn Recommendations.

For myself, I appreciate (and ask for) LinkedIn written recommendations and would never give or accept a recommendation from anyone I hadn’t worked with and couldn’t vouch for. Endorsements are a little more erratic and take time and forethought to control. Today I have deleted one type of endorsement because it just didn’t accurately capture what I do for a living today – even though more than 60 people had endorsed me for that skill.

LinkedIn - see Prakky's profile
LinkedIn – see Prakky’s profile

This also touches on the tricky world of online etiquette. Do you need to endorse or recommend someone because they vouched for you? If it’s “I’ll scratch your back, you scratch mine”, then how authentic can we expect online testimonials to be? What happens if you refuse to provide a requested recommendation?

Like lots of netiquette questions, I do think it pays to have a plan and your own set of standards. Know what you will or won’t do and stick to your guns. Don’t feel pressured to endorse (or even connect to) someone. Social media should be an enjoyable and beneficial experience for you.

You should take care of how you represent yourself online – for ethical reasons and also to comply with evolving laws and regulations. Jamie White (@podlegal) wrote an interesting post called Do You Really Want To Be An Expert where he outlined some of the things we should be thinking about.

On Twitter, I ‘favourite’ those tweets where I’ve received nice feedback. It makes for an interesting and vibrant list of testimonials, like the following:

If you think online testimonials would be good for your business or career, the main thing to remember is: ask for them! Many people may be happy to write one, but they need prompting. Don’t make it onerous for them – something like a LinkedIn recommendation can be short and easy to supply, for example.

I deliver LinkedIn training sessions to corporate groups – I even develop company-wide LinkedIn strategies. Email admin for more info.

How and where do you use online testimonials or recommendations?

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Mel Kettle says:

    Great advice – I love the idea of favouriting tweets that sing your praises – never thought to do that. Thanks 🙂

    1. Prakky says:

      Thanks Mel – I actually got the idea from @briansolis.

  2. Peter Scobie says:

    Great advice. I often find the best time to ask for testimonials is just after you’ve over delivered something. Makes it easier for both parties.

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