LinkedIn is the largest business networking tool amongst the ever-growing list of social media options, with over 259 million users in over 200 countries. What differentiates LinkedIn is its business orientation – the opportunities for REALTORS to use this for networking and sales leads is huge, but as with all marketing and networking efforts, it takes time and energy to get the most of this social networking website.
Profile is Key
Signing up for LinkedIn is simple – creating the profile for yourself should be a little more complex and thoughtful. The profile allows you to upload many details about yourself and your career. Be sure to use a professional photo of yourself and then in your personal description, it’s generally agreed that short, descriptive keywords to describe who you are and what you do is best. For the summary section you can provide more details out about yourself – why people should work with you, what training you have, or awards you have received, any special areas you serve (first-time buyers, etc). This is where you can put a bit more of your personality into your profile, to help differentiate yourself from others in your field. Also, make sure you set your profile to “public” so that it appears in search engine results and those not connected to you can see your profile. Always, always proof your information for spelling and grammatical errors!
New users need to first connect with people they know – so build your contact base by connecting with friends, business associates and clients. Use LinkedIn’s internal search to explore these people by name, company or keyword and then add them to your LinkedIn network. In general, it is not considered okay to approach strangers on LinkedIn. It is, however, acceptable to ask current connections for referrals to someone to which they are connected. This system was set-up to build trust amongst the service’s users.
Build a Company Page
Once your personal profile is created, you can build a Company Page – these pages can help draw attention to your real estate business versus just you as an individual. Consult the LinkedIn website for guidelines on creating a Company Page.
Build credibility by encouraging your clients to write something about you on your LinkedIn profile. Also give recommendations to others. Third party endorsements can carry a lot of weight. LinkedIn also has an endorsement feature which allows your contacts to comment on your areas of expertise and your skill-sets for others to read.
LinkedIn has many groups to participate in, based on your industry or area of interest – like the National Association of REALTORS®. Once you’ve joined a group – ask and answer questions, get involved and offer up ideas or help brainstorm solutions. If you don’t find a group that is exactly what you’re looking for, consider starting one yourself and become the so-called expert in the field.
Networking, Networking, Networking
Above all else, LinkedIn will serve you best if you invest time and energy into creating and building your list of contacts. Get involved – build your presence and cross-promote your LinkedIn presence on other social media sites to get the most out of your LinkedIn experience. For example, one user put a link to her LinkedIn profile in her signature so that people can learn more about her and her business. It drives them to her professional LinkedIn profile first, instead of her Facebook profile. Use LinkedIn to expand your reach to more and more people who can learn about you and your expertise, then bring you resources and potential clients.
Most professionals agree the more they put into their LinkedIn account, the more they get out of it. Make time every week to build your presence, build your reputation, participate in Groups, and research people and clients so that you can best utilize all that LinkedIn has to offer. The connections you make on LinkedIn will at some point need a professional realtor, and because you have established a solid professional reputation on LinkedIn, you will get new business opportunities.
The Minnesota Association of REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 17,000 members who are active in all aspects of the real estate industry.