Five ways to use Linked-in to build Trust and Reputation.

Social media is pervasive it is creating a peer to peer transparent economy where trust and reputation are becoming strongest business currency – yet a high percentage the Social Media profiles of professionals that I view are socially bankrupt.

Linked-in is the best social media platform for doing business but it is widely misunderstood.  Linked-in isn’t an online rolodex it’s a relationship and reputation management tool.

Are you one of those people with a bunch of contacts you don’t really know and an update that’s two months out of date?  Then you are actually damaging your relationships and your reputation.  You may as well go to networking events with a sign round your neck that says “I am not interested in you, I’m only here to get business”.

There are four ways to generate the levels of trust required to be successful in business nowadays and one of those is Reputation Management (RM).  In this blog I am going to focus on how to use Linked-in to build trust via reputation management.  RM is vitally important to business people where personal trust is core to doing business, sales people obviously but also for professionals like accountants, lawyers and architects.  In these professions your reputation is everything and yet these professionals are the worst at using social media to build relationships and trust

Five tips to building trust through your Linked-in profile

  1. Have a goal in mind for your Linked-in profile.  If your goal is to improve your expert positioning then focus on your qualifications, past customer recommendations and your passion for your field of work.
  2. Don’t forget the profile picture and make sure it looks like you do now.  Ideally the photo should be of you in a business situation / business dress.  Note this is different for Linked-in than Twitter or Facebook where you can be less formal and broadcast more of your personally.
  3. Know your connections; don’t accept invites from people you don’t really know.  If you were to build a contact base of 500 people how many would your really see a benefit from engaging – 150 maybe 200 at most?
  4. Update every working day of the week – how long will it take you to post 140 charter description of what you are doing today?  Look at it this way if you are a lawyer and you post an update saying that you are writing a talk on “new distance selling regulations” then you are sending a highly focussed message to your most valuable contacts that you have this expertise.  This builds trust, knowledge, referrals and don’t rule out the possibility that your phone will ring directly as a result of the update.  Here is what my profile said this morning: “Gordon is writing a blog on how to engage your Linked-in contacts – watch this space for a link this afternoon”.   Guess what it will say this afternoon?
  5. Get recommended, this is the key action that will unlock all of the trust benefits of Linked-in, but there is a problem; if your contacts don’t see that you are serious about Linked-in why should they go to the bother of writing a recommendation?  If you haven’t carried out steps 1-4 people just won’t put in the effort.

Keys to a good recommendation strategy.

Don’t wait to be asked, if you have based your contacts strategy on quality and not quantity then there should be lots of people you could recommend – be proactive.

Don’t ever offer a recommendation on the basis that they give one back just give and see what happens.

Send a request after every successfully completed piece of work and you will build up a portfolio of relevant recommendations.  “He is a good guy” isn’t worth the pixels it’s written on – recommendations need to tie into your overall goal for your linked-in profile.

Dear god, don’t tell your staff to recommend you – how sad is that! – I hate seeing a list of recommendations with no clients but lots of staff saying “he is a great boss”. My rule is 20% max from current staff and none till you have at least ten focussed ones from clients and partners.

And finally – be the sort of person that people want to recommend  – Clue – you have to be someone that people can trust


For professionals but especially for accountants and lawyers trying to win business without first establishing trust is like eating steak without chewing.  As social media becomes more pervasive “online reputation management” will grow as a vital source of personal trust.  So if your Linked-in profile isn’t optimised, then you are probably already loosing business and until you read this I will bet you didn’t know why.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp

Intelligise – Be Brilliant

Check out my Linked-in profile and give me a call or drop me an email if I can be of assistance


2 Responses to “Five ways to use Linked-in to build Trust and Reputation.”

  1. 1 JamesK December 8, 2009 at 2:53 am

    And with LinkedIn’s new connection to Twitter, it only takes a tweet with the hashtag #in to make that status update happen. (I’ve got to remember to use it more often myself!)

  1. 1 Linkedin Idea from Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp « bnm private Blog Trackback on January 31, 2010 at 12:27 am

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