I must admit, I’m picky when it comes to joining social networks. It seems like new networks are popping up weekly and my inbox contains invitations to join them almost as frequently. Generally, I’m not interested in the overhead required in managing a profile on yet another site, so more often than not: I pass. The one social network I couldn’t pass on though, is LinkedIn.
It was a couple of years ago that I first joined LinkedIn and it’s been good to me. For those of you unaware, LinkedIn is a social network focusing on work and career with a reported membership of 25 million people strong. Think of it as a place where you can build social network which revolves around your professional life. Now, LinkedIn is great for worker bees of all kinds but of particular value for us freelancers. Here’s why:
Feedback for the win
A long time ago, the powers that be at eBay understood that buying goods from a remote seller is a leap of faith. In order to make the leap smaller, they implemented the eBay Feedback system; where buyers could leave comments about their experience with their seller.
Whether some nice woman quickly shipped that handmade shaving bowl or some dude burned you when the Zapotronic-Blowblaster you bought was busted; you could leave feedback and let people know what your experience was like which these sellers.
The result of all this feedback flying around is that we gravitate towards the eBay Powerseller; people who have a proven track record of successfully completing sales (deals) on eBay. These are sellers who have tons of positive feedback from satisfied buyers and this feedback is a powerful social proof mechanism which instills a ton of confidence in potential new buyers.
LinkedIn offers you the opportunity to become a power seller of your own by utilizing their “Recommendation” feature. Recommendations on LinkedIn are like feedback on eBay and benefit you in similar ways.
Advantages of LinkedIn recommendations
The Advantages of using LinkedIn are many. The one we’re interested in right now is the ability to attain and manage recommendations from clients, partners, co-workers etc. LinkedIn Recommendations
- Act as positive social proof in the same way eBay feedback does
- Lower barriers new clients might have in hiring you
- Give you an edge over your competition
It’s all about Trust
Whether it’s eBay feedback, LinkedIn Reccomendations or any similar mechanism, it all boils down to trust. When a new client is looking to hire you, they essentially have a problem they need solved and to connect with someone they feel they can trust. By having visible recommendations from past clients on LinkedIn, you generate confidence in potential new clients.
The other benefit is you’ll always have a great stash of testimonials to use wherever you want, whenever you want. Like this:
Danno is great to work with. He listens to what I want as a client and helps me understand what I really need. He has put together an awesome team of creative and technical experts that do great work. Danno is a strong leader who is building Graphics.net into one of the leading design firms in the world.
– Dave Bascom, President, SEO.com
A quick copy/paste and booya: I can show a potential new client that Dave digs me and they should too.
OK enough theory. Consider heading on over to LinkedIn and taking it for a test drive. Create a profile for your professional life, use it, nurture it and make it a best practice to actively seek Recommendations. It takes time to mature your LinkedIn profile but it’s an investment that will continue to pay you back for years to come.
- Working on retainer
- Client satisfaction & farts in the wind
- Provide killer customer service
- Freelancing during economic recession
- 30 second customer service pays dividends