In the world of social media, LinkedIn is the go-to place for making professional connections. Utilizing the networking tools provided by LinkedIn will help you build your real estate business in three important ways. It will:
- Establish your credibility
- Enhance your professional image
- Build useful relationships
While LinkedIn is an important part of the overall social media picture, it is far more business-focused than Facebook or Twitter. You won’t be “poking” or “tagging” on LinkedIn. It does provide simple, straightforward business tools to help you develop your online presence. When you get properly established, you’ll be able to generate leads, find new clients and make real business connections on LinkedIn.
Establish your credibility
The first thing you will do when you join LinkedIn is to create your profile. Think of this as your online business card. You’ll be asked to enter all the essential information, including your name (of course), where you work, and a photo. The photo is extremely important—it’s your image presented to total strangers, many of whom are potential clients or business colleagues. Make it straightforward and professional—nothing cute or tricky.
The first item in your profile is the summary. This is your elevator speech, where you tell what you’re all about in 30 seconds. It’s your first impression, the answer to that cocktail party cliché question: “What do you do?” Your summary should be brief and, if possible, should contain key words that will draw other LinkedIn members to you.
Enhance your professional image
The easiest way to create your profile is to upload your resume. LinkedIn will then import your resume into your profile, ask you to complete any information that might be missing and you’re done. The profile page will also offer suggestions about how you can enhance your entry. And it will let you post a link to your company or personal web site too. Be sure you fill out all the sections in your profile. The more information you offer, the easier it will be for appropriate real estate colleagues and potential home buyers and sellers to find you.
Build useful relationships
It’s important for you to use SEO-friendly keywords, both in your profile and in the unique URL you created for LinkedIn. Just remember– most professionals are familiar with how SEO works, so if it looks like you’re trying to overload your URL with keywords, you’ll look a bit too obvious. When you’re getting started, it might be best to just use a variation of your name plus a real estate-related word or the name of your company in the user-defined part of your profile’s URL.
Now that you’ve built an online path to your door, it’s time to make connections. Through its Connections function, LinkedIn allows you to show off your relationships to the professional world. When you make a connection with another user, it’s established how the two of you know each other. Once you’ve connected both of you can exchange recommendations, communicate through LinkedIn’s internal email, and make referrals through your respective networks.
There are three important places to make connections:
- With others in your company. Look up your company name right away, so you can establish connections with your coworkers. You can do the same for schools you’ve attended or groups you belong to.
- With clients. If you have an email list of past and present clients, you may be able to upload it direction into LinkedIn.
- With friends. Once you have uploaded your contact list, you can invite anyone to connect with you via LinkedIn.
- With groups. You can join existing groups on LinkedIn, and you can establish your own special interest group too. On the top menu bar under Groups you can find a link to groups that match your profile, as well as a complete directory of groups.
Once you’ve joined a group, be an active, responsible participant. Asking questions is the best way to start, because you not only get good answers, you also have the opportunity to connect with the people who posted answers. Once you’re active in a group, you can start providing answers of your own, giving you yet another means of establishing your credibility in the profession.
LinkedIn won’t connect you with hundreds of millions of users like Twitter or Facebook. However, it is simple, low key, and can do a great job of leveraging your connections to build your business, if you use it correctly. Like any other social network, you’ll get back in direct proportion to what you give.