LinkedIn has made it incredibly easy to endorse other users’ skills. A big blue box at the top of everyone’s profile asks “Does Ms. X have these skills or expertise?” This may have led others to endorse you for skills which may or may not be your specialty. And, more important for advisors, this may result in endorsements you simply cannot have. (Remember, you can always accept or decline an endorsement by choosing “Add to profile” or “Skip.”)

Upon receiving an endorsement, whether relevant or not, you may have wondered whether you are expected to reciprocate. The answer is not necessarily. The generally accepted etiquette is to endorse the skills of another user only if you can attest to the recommendation with 100-percent confidence. When it comes to endorsements, quality trumps quantity.

It is a good idea to take an endorsement as an opportunity to build your relationship with the endorser. Take a moment to send her a personal message. This adds value to an otherwise offhanded click of the mouse and creates an opportunity for dialogue.

Oregon advisor David Gratke employs the following email when he must remove an endorsement:

Greetings Mr. Y,

I would like to thank you for your recent LinkedIn endorsement of our services. Thank you for your heartfelt appreciation of our work.

However, I will need to remove all my LI endorsements, as the regulators forbid testimonials for investment advisors and construe LI endorsements as such.

I would love to connect with you to learn more about your interests and needs with respect to my services. I believe there are a number of ways we could help each other. Would you be free for a brief chat in the near future?

Looking forward to connecting soon.

Thanks, David

LinkedIn endorsements are akin to the “like” button on Facebook and similarly they have the potential to turn into a lot of meaningless clutter, which could be harmful for advisors. But, if you know how to manage these settings, you’ll be able to control endorsements and ensure they add value to your business.

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Amy McIlwain is a professional speaker on social media and President of Financial Social Media, an online marketing firm specializing in the financial industry. She can be reached through her website www.financialsocialmedia.com and on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.