How to Use LinkedIn to Build Your Network

linkedinLinkedIn can be a powerful tool for real estate professionals – not just for lead generation – but also as a means to seek out professional development opportunities, expand a personal network, and create relationships with service providers and potential employers. Here are six ways real estate professionals can use LinkedIn to improve prospects, magnify networks, and use this powerful tool to their advantage.

Optimize Your Profile. The most common mistake business professionals make when they start using LinkedIn is treating it like it’s simply a resume service when it’s actually a dynamic platform for broadcasting a message and brand. That means that it’s important for real estate professionals to fully build out their profiles. The photograph should include a professional headshot and the personal description should include keywords that identify a real estate professional’s particular niche, company, and geographic area. Setting the profile to public will help a profile appear in search engine results and allow those who are not already connected to see a profile more clearly. Include any specific expertise in personal or commercial real estate, connections to any other social media platforms, and any awards or honors.

Connect, Connect, Connect. LinkedIn is only as powerful as the number of people you are connected to, so beginning to build out your network is a vital first step. Begin by connecting to friends, family and colleagues and then begin to expand your network by sending out invitations to people within your industry or geographic area, and use LinkedIn’s “People you may know” function, connection import functionality, and alumni applications to grow your network quickly. Don’t be shy about sending out invitations—connectivity is the point of LinkedIn.

Get Involved. It’s not enough just to build out your profile and network and wait for clients to start rolling in. The most successful users on LinkedIn are the ones who participate. Join groups that are related to your industry or geographic territory. Start conversations by commenting on the status of your connections. Follow companies to gain industry information, best practices, and other useful data. If you are a forward-thinking real estate professional, consider writing original content to post to LinkedIn. This not only allows you to share and demonstrate your expertise, but it also makes you more visible to potential clients, employers and new connections. Bear in mind that you can also cross-promote original material by posting it to your professional web site as well as social networks.

Earn Trustworthiness. Job-seekers find LinkedIn invaluable because the platform’s recommendations feature makes it easy for potential employers to get a sense of an applicant’s reputation among his or her peers. Real estate professionals can enjoy similar benefits by encouraging happy clients to write testimonials on their profile or company page. This feature allows potential clients to read independent third-party endorsements that demonstrate your credibility in the local real estate market.

Cross-Promote. It has been demonstrated that LinkedIn is a powerful tool to turn visitors into leads so it’s in your best interest to drive more visitors to your profile. Dedicate some of your marketing hours to building your presence on LinkedIn and cross-promote your personalized LinkedIn URL on your business cards, marketing materials and other social media platforms to optimize your time and effort.