LinkedIn is a bit different from the other social media platforms we discussed earlier. It will not help you much in getting traffic to your blog, although you can share high quality posts for this purpose. While LinkedIn has a news feed similar to a Facebook timeline not many people pay attention to it. The main reason for having a LinkedIn profile to to market yourself as a real estate professional to potential clients. The examples given below are for Real Estate Agents, but you can easily adapt this to your own profession.
Your professional LinkedIn profile page serves as a free advertisement for yourself that is accessible 24/7 to practically anyone in the world who wants to see it.
Let me repeat this: your LinkedIn profile is about you, and you only. Never ever post your property listings on LinkedIn! They will be received as spam by the LinkedIn community and will kill all the reputation you worked so hard to build up.
Most people think that LinkedIn is only valuable if you are looking for a new job, or if you’re a recruiter scouting for new employees. While this might have been true at an early stage LinkedIn is now of much wider use. Many professionals (including myself) use it to demonstrate their achievements and credibility to potential prospects and clients. It serves as an extended online display of who you are, what you can do for your clients and why people should engage you for your services. One of the most powerful features is that past clients can leave recommendations and endorsements for you, these obviously carry a lot of weight.
I have spoken to many influential people over the years, and many tell me that they use LinkedIn to check out their counterparts in any transaction before they make any commitment to meet face-to-face. For example, they reviewed my LinkedIn profile before inviting me for their conference or engaging me for their corporate training. You can check out my profile here:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/drfrankpeter – please connect with me while you are there.
For the personal investments of such clients this also includes checking out any real estate agent before they engage him or her. What interests these investors most is a demonstration of verifiable achievements and recommendations by relevant people. For this LinkedIn is the perfect platform.
Here I will guide you thru the setting up of a personal profile on LinkedIn. If you already have one just follow the parts that are applicable to your existing profile in order to improve it. Please keep in mind: a highly professional LinkedIn profile will serve as your probably most important personal advertisement to the world, you should treat it like that.
Go to LinkedIn.com and sign up using your email and a password that you can remember, but that others cannot too easily guess.
Use the same profile picture that you have used for i.e. Facebook, this will help your personal branding as your presence is consistent over different social media platforms. Here the picture on top of your profile is square at 200 x 200 pixles in size.
The headline allows you to describe yourself in 120 characters, and is arguably the most important part of your profile page. The headline is displayed just below your name and features dominantly in LinkedIn’s own search engine. Use it to market yourself but don’t use hype language. Consider something like ‘Experienced Real Estate Professional for your suburb or area | Proven Track Record | Client Satisfaction is my Priority’. In case you’re wondering, the ‘|’ character used here to separate the skills is called the pipe symbol and can be found to the far right of most keyboards. Some agents display their contact phone number in the headline as well. I don’t think that this is a good idea, in my eyes it makes you look desperate for someone to call you. Contact info can be shown at other, more appropriate parts of your profile page, including phone number and website. The purpose of the headline is also to get you found when a potential client searches on LinkedIn, so keep your headline rich in keywords you would like to be found for.
The “Summary” is the main content part of your overall personal ‘advertisement’. Here you should start out with one or two sentences that introduce you (think of a 15 second elevator speech) and draw the reader into the rest of your summary. You may also want to include that you are licensed, and of course your license number. The summary should have a list of your most valuable professional skills, a list of important achievements or results like recently completed sales or rentals. If your past clients allow it mention them by name. The section allows you to add some pictures, so consider adding some pics from recent sales/rentals that you completed. Also, add a ‘Call to Action’ to your summary that tells prospective clients how they can contact you, something like “Please get in touch with me so we can discuss how I can help you fulfill your ambitions” or whatever makes sense to your specific profile and area of work.
The “Experience” section is a place where you can display your resume. Here you should list at least your past two or three employers/agencies plus your current employment/parent agency (if any). Don’t only list dates and basic info, show off your past achievements while working for these agencies, provided it makes sense. You could add something like “Personally closed 27 sales worth $XX during my 2 years with ABC Agency” or “I was member of the million dollar round table at ABC Agency” or any other important achievement you made during your time. Use this section to show your past achievements, and don’t write it as if you were looking for a job.
The “Honors and Awards” section is quite self explanatory. If you have anything to show off don’t hesitate to do so, provided it is relevant to your professional profile. A hole-in-one at your golf group is not an appropriate mention, and neither is any of your high school achievements – all awards here should be directly related to your professional career. If you have any picture of yourself getting the award or a picture of any award certificate you received you can post it here. Don’t be shy, most people appreciate the proof.
The “Recommendations” section is often the most undervalued section of a LinkedIn profile, but should be the one that receives special attention. Make an effort and ask your past clients to not only connect with you on LinkedIn but to write you a recommendation. A few sentences each will do. Once they have done so send them a ‘Thank You’ message yourself. These recommendations have an incredible value when prospective clients look at your profile when they check you out. A third party recommendation for a particular skill you have rates much higher than you just listing your skills in your profile.
The section of ‘Skills and Endorsements” is a much simpler version of the recommendations section. Here you can pre-select your most important skills from a drop-down menu and ask you connections to tick any they feel are appropriate. Pick up yo 10 skills as a start, you can add others later if you want.
Fill in any other bits and pieces here and there like education, languages, interests, as well as any personal details if you feel comfortable with it like marital status. Indicate if you would be available as volunteer, are member of any professional association and so on. Very important is to include up-to-date contact info, including the web address of your blog/website, your email and your daytime phone number.
Make your profile as complete as you can. On the top right of your actual profile is a circle that shows how high your current profile ranks, your goal is ‘All Star’ with a fully filled circle. LinkedIn states that a complete profile will appear 40 times more in search results, so you would have a chance of getting 40x the business compared to an incomplete profile. LinkedIn’s definition of a 100% complete profile is:
- Your industry and current location
- An up-to-date current position with description
- Two past positions
- Your education
- A minimum of three skills
- A profile photo
- At least 50 connections
I personally see a good LinkedIn profile as very important. I know real estate agents who get almost 50% of all business inquiries via this channel. Even for me in the training business LinkedIn is a major lead contributor, second only to our website/blog. It is free, and it will take you no longer than an hour or so to set up, so don’t delay and do this now. The sooner you can be found on LinkedIn the sooner to get business from there. Once you’re done please connect with me, I’d be happy to be one of your first 50 connections so you can achieve the ‘All Star’ status faster:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/drfrankpeter – or search LinkedIn for my name.
For some additional thoughts about the content in your LinkedIn profile take a look at the blog post by Azleen Abdul Rahim here: How To Turn LinkedIn Connections into Tangible Business Leads. A very worthwhile read!