Over the past few months, we’ve discussed many of the popular social media platforms and how they can be leveraged for the real estate industry. Today, we’ll give the FreeAgent treatment to LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is actually one of my personal favorite social platforms. Not only can you connect and share, but you can also paint yourself as the expert in your field. As opposed to being a place where you share fun or personal things with your friends and family, LinkedIn is the place where you disseminate expert information to past and present colleagues, professionals, and industry gurus. Additionally, it’s one of the best places to get current and relevant information regarding your field from the top names in the industry! I cannot say enough great things about LinkedIn.
Oddly enough, real estate agents have been slow to move to this platform. If you’re doubtful of the potential LinkedIn has, we’re here to change your mind.
Something you hear often from people who aren’t currently using or engaging on LinkedIn is that it’s nothing more than a glorified resume. This is only true, however, if you ignore LinkedIn’s more compelling features. While adding your employment information is incredibly important, it’s only a tiny piece in a much larger puzzle. Your summary is your chance to dazzle potential clients or employers with something unique and outstanding. It’s a way to get your elevator speech out there before you’ve ever even spoken to these people. In an industry like real estate, first impressions are everything.
If you play your cards right, LinkedIn can be a great source for first impressions. You can optimize your profile by using specific keywords and phrases that are relevant to your market and the services you provide. As we mentioned in our recent SEO post, you’ll want to avoid stuffing your profile full of keywords, but including the most relevant ones (i.e., “Experienced real estate agent in Durham, NC) will help you get found. Another way to help both your SEO and your online image is to be a consistent, active participant in the community. Google likes to reward people who post regular and engaging content. Make sure that you take your time while coming up with new content for your page, ensuring that it is well-written, relevant, and niche. If you’re going to be an expert, you need to show your specific expertise.
- Put your specialties in your profile (always include the skills and expertise section)
- Join groups in your industry
- Reach out in a “respectful and not overly self-serving” way
- Add all of your links to your profile to direct traffic to your other pages
- Start discussions and participate in others’
- Introduce people in your network to each other
- Ask and answer questions
- Share others’ content as well as your own
The key to any social network is engagement. Getting involved with other professionals on LinkedIn is incredibly valuable, and can result in great things.
One of the main reasons that many professionals use LinkedIn is to bolster their personal brand. This platform allows users to market themselves as thought leaders in their field. The more you post, comment, create and share, the more you are establishing yourself as an expert in the real estate industry and in your market. Each social media platform elicits a different type of communication style. Facebook, for example, is a place where you can foster relationships and show off your personality. LinkedIn, however, is strictly professional. Here, you can foster business relationships with vendors you’ve worked with, other real estate agents, or even former clients. It’s a place to find your professional voice. In fact, recent studies show that, “LinkedIn is the preferred social network to build brand identity.” We’ve talked a lot about brand identity and awareness before. It can’t be stressed enough how important it is for your real estate business to not only have a personality (which can also be done on Facebook), but also to have a polished business persona.
Once you’ve fine-tuned your professional image on LinkedIn, it’s time to seek out referrals.
As a real estate agent, gaining referrals is something that not only provides instant value, they also, as we recently discussed in our webinar with Inman News, significantly boost your revenues over the life of your client relationships. LinkedIn is a great place to generate referrals, recommendations and testimonials. As stated in an article on the Sociable Agent website, “The more people you know, the more prospects you have, the more real estate you will sell.” With LinkedIn, anyone in your network (coworkers, former employers and colleagues, friends, clients, etc.) can post a recommendation on your profile. The bigger your network, the more highly recommended you’ll be. Since this is a professional social network, these recommendations tend to hold a lot more weight than one of your relatives commenting on your business’ Facebook page.
LinkedIn is also a place where you can focus on building your referral base. In her article for Inman News, Bernice Ross writes, “…Creating and maintaining a strong referral database is critical for success in today’s highly competitive real estate sales environment. Old-fashioned mailing programs are expensive and can take years before they yield a return.” While it is absolutely vital to maintain your offline relationships with clients, using digital tools makes it easy to stay top of mind with former clients and other real estate professionals who can provide valuable referrals at any time.
Get Down to Business
In the end, each social media platform has its purpose. With Facebook gradually becoming a “pay-to-play” space with non-paid posts struggling to reach more than 2% of eligible users, real estate agents need to look for additional channels to market themselves. In this industry more than most, networking is key. Agents need to remember that “Real estate is a small world and moving rapidly. Who you know today may be one of your best referral resources in the future.”
LinkedIn, perhaps more than any other social channel, provides the perfect environment for savvy agents to not only build their network, but also their personal brand and their client value.
For some great information about the demographics of LinkedIn, check out this incredibly informative Business Insider article. For ways to use this network for your company page, be sure to look over this great infographic from the LinkedIn