Is there a fit between accountants and social media?
My first thoughts go back to some old accountant jokes. How do you identify the party goer who is an accountant? He/she wears a lampshade. How do you tell if an accountant is an extrovert or introvert? The extrovert looks at your shoes, not his. What is the favorite form of accountant birth control? Personality.
So maybe we shouldn’t expect non-social accountants to be at the cutting edge of social media. Never-the-less, surveys have repeatedly shown that for those accountants who use social media, LinkedIn is overwhelmingly the favorite platform.
LinkedIn has for six months been letting users endorse their 1st degree connections for skills. Viewed by some with skepticism, the endorsement feature is being used at an increasing rate. Over the past few months I’ve received a few e-mails alerting me to a new endorsement I’ve received. Finally reaching a critical mass, my curiosity is piqued.
I’ve received 70 total endorsements, with 52 in the most popular categories for the 14 skills I list. The skills for which I am most frequently endorsed seem to describe me well. I am an accounting professor who writes about accounting, so being endorsed for accounting knowledge is appropriate. I’m very good at helping students learn, so an endorsement for college teaching fits. And because my two blogs (The Summa and Pondering the Classroom) have totaled more than a half million reads, being endorsed for blogging seems right.
Receiving an endorsement is a good thing, I think. And I appreciate every one. They can only come from people who know you the best. Most LinkedIn users seem to be stingy in issuing endorsements. If the endorsements come from a large enough group, they are reliable measures (in a similar fashion to IMDB film ratings).
Ever keen to understand how my world actually works, I did a bit of research. Although I could have selected professors or bloggers as a reference group, I decided to select professional accountants. I’m a member of Social CPAs, a LinkedIn group. I fairly randomly selected 20 members of the group.
This group seems to be active in LinkedIn usage. 11 of the 20 have more than 500 connections in their network. Six have between 250 and 500 connections, and three have less than 250.
Only 14 out of the 20 list any skills. The groups of 14 with skills and 6 without seem similar in terms of number of connections.
For the 14 who show skills, the median number of skills listed per person is 14 (minimum = 8, maximum = 49).
For the 14 who show skills, the median number of endorsements is 102 (minimum = 6, maximum = 330).
For the 14 who show skills, the most endorsed skill has received a median value of 19 endorsements (minimum = 2, maximum = 104).
I think the LinkedIn endorsement feature has enormous potential to validate your brand. It seems to have done a fine job in validating who I am. Please leave a note if LinkedIn endorsements seem to be working for you.
For more information on LinkedIn endorsements, Forbes writer Susan Adams has written an article, “Everything You Need to Know About LinkedIn Endorsements.”
How often are different subgroups of accountants using LinkedIn endorsements? What do the accountant users of endorsements think of the new feature?
Debit and credit – - David Albrecht