Today the most widely adopted social media network by advisors announced that in the Skills & Expertise section connections can easily allow for what LinkedIn calls "endorsements."
Julie Inouye, senior manager in the corporate communications department at LinkedIn, described the enhancement, saying, "It is a light weight way to recommend someone, as it is much easier than using the recommendation section. It is going to be a huge driver to build a person's brand. That is because we made it easy to have your professional peers build your brand. It is not just you; it is the power of your network. This change adds color to who you are."
What The Edorsements Look Like
If a connection of yours is using the Skills & Expertise feature on his or her LinkedIn profile, you can easily endorse each item listed. LinkedIn is actually encouraging these actions to take place with a pop-up message that looks like this:
Hover your cursor over the skill and you will see the word "Endorse" appear with a pop-up that defines the skill and expertise.
Click the word "Endorse" and it shows it as "Endorsed!"
It then displays your picture with other individuals that have also given the same endorsement.
Even better is that it shows up on the live "updates" stream. See this example:
This functionality is very exciting, as it can lead to a whole new way potential clients can find and evaluated financial advisors.
The Regulators Next Move
Because Americans have grown to count on feedback from their connections when making purchase decisions on products and services, the entire United States will love this functionality, except for the SEC and Finra who are likely to hate it. That is because they base their thinking on outdated testimonial rules that are over a half a century old.
As the regulatory bodies typically do not move very fast, months from now there will probably be some official notice forbidding the use of the Skills & Expertise section, just like the recommendations section cannot be used.
Instead, the regulators should get with the 21st century and realize we live in a culture of sharing. We do not like or trust advertising, so we count on learning from our friends, family, co-workers, etc.
Where the regulators are trying to protect the general public forbidding testimonials, they are actually hurting them. Let's hope this feature is approved for use and the social media regulations are modernized to fit today's social society.
Mike Byrnes founded Byrnes Consulting to provide consulting services to help advisors become even more successful. His expertise is in business planning, marketing strategy, business development, client service and management effectiveness, along with several other areas. Read more at ByrnesConsulting.com and follow @ByrnesConsultin.