As we continue our tour of real estate websites and online resources, we come upon the virtual melting pot of professionals: LinkedIn. LinkedIn is something of a hybrid of Facebook, Yelp and Craigslist. It lets people set up their own profiles to market their skills and experience, network with others and seek out new employment opportunities (or, conversely, new employee prospects). Much like Facebook, it is practically an expectation that anyone will have a LinkedIn profile.
So let’s look at the site in terms of real estate specifically. How can it best serve agents? Well, first of all, the fact that LinkedIn defines itself as a professional network informs us regarding the proper way to use it. You’re most likely not going to be sharing vacation photos or exquisitely-staged portraits of your meals on LinkedIn; you’re there to interact with others in a business capacity, whether it involves giving tips, sharing relevant articles or seeking recommendations for vendors or service providers. And the “network” part of the site is the key: because of its ubiquity, you can connect with virtually anyone on LinkedIn and talk business. This is especially valuable in a business like real estate, where so many parties are involved in each transaction. Mortgage brokers, escrow officers, home warranty companies…all available at the click of a mouse. In a business where having a strong network of professionals is key to success, LinkedIn makes it easier than ever to set one up.
Of course, LinkedIn isn’t a real estate website specifically, so it has its limits. Though it does a good job of showing your years of experience, awards earned and your skills and specialties, it’s not going to sync with your MLS and display your current listings like Zillow or Realtor and their ilk. Sure, you could absolutely post images and walkthroughs of your listings on your updates, but the specifics of your listings and sales are better displayed elsewhere. As such, prospective clients have less of a reference for the exact nature and amount of your listings than they would have elsewhere, which is understandable given the focus of the site. The site also focuses more on descriptions of your job and experience than it does reviews. Oh, make no mistake, reviews are a vital part of the site, and the endorsements system is robust, but it’s all a bit deemphasized compared to every other aspect of your profile. What this means is that LinkedIn is, on a superficial level, somewhat less useful as a resource in terms of getting new clients. In effect, do potential buyers/sellers look for Realtors on LinkedIn? I suppose,yes. Probably? The site is certainly part of the patchwork de facto background check quilt that is the internet, and is indispensible on a professional level, but purely in terms of gaining clients it seems to lag far behind Zillow or Yelp, for example. It’s just not optimized for that in comparison.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, it just means it’s largely not what the site is for. Instead, use the site to link up with others working in the same field. Make sure to keep your profile updated so that everyone knows where you are and how to contact you. Share your listings; LinkedIn provides a great forum for other Realtors to see your inventory and evaluate if it’s a good fit for their buyers. Share relevant articles like, well, this one (I hope!) to give insight and inspiration to others and position yourself as knowledgable and helpful. And endorse others skills, both to help out your colleagues and motivate them to endorse you as well. Keep all this in mind, and you will see why LinkedIn has become such a crucial part of a real estate agent’s online portfolio. And hey, worst case scenario, if you decide you maybe want to transition away from real estate, LinkedIn is the perfect resource for looking for other opportunities. That’s not ideal, of course, but it’s worth keeping in mind, just in case.
This is where I note that I always appreciate the support of my friends, clients and associates for their reviews and endorsements. If you could help me out and leave me some positive feedback on my LinkedIn page, I would be immensely grateful. The link is:
Thanks for reading! Hopefully this article has at least inspired you to think about how best to use LinkedIn to bolster your business. Let me know what you think; any feedback is always appreciated. Tune in next time to get a rundown of a few other websites of note…
TO BE CONTINUED…