LinkedIn-real-estateIf you own a real estate business, perhaps you have already implemented several steps to get more clients. Whether it’s about advertising in the TV and newspapers, using Facebook and Twitter to generate some interest and be in the public eye, or using a blog to draw in the crowds, it’s likely that you have used them all. But did you know that LinkedIn too can be a valuable resource to get referrals and drive leads for your real estate business? If not, here are some steps that can help you leverage LinkedIn for your real estate business:

Creating an engaging profile: The first step to use LinkedIn for your real estate business is to create a great profile. Two of the key factors that you should focus upon while creating your profile are your summary and the description (which appears next to your photograph). Be brief and clear with your personal description, choosing to blend the relevant keywords for your business like San Francisco real estate broker, Arizona luxury home realtor etc. Make sure to upload a professional photograph (not your vacation photo or beach party image) as it’s going to be your digital introduction to the world and your potential clients. Also, set your profile to public so that it appears in search engine results and can be seen by those not connected to you. In your summary, mention what you are looking for; your education, expertise and specializations; and specific achievements that you have.

Connect and network: You need to connect with people on LinkedIn and grow your network. Though the most common route people take is to build their contact base by connecting with friends, colleagues and associates, you can speed your networking by being a LION (LinkedIn open networker). Becoming member of groups (especially those where your target clients are) is yet another way to forge relationships. This way, you can get connected to a lot of LinkedIn members without the trouble of inviting each of them individually. Using LinkedIn’s advanced search feature is an efficient way to explore by industry, name, keyword or company to find whom to connect with. It will also let you see deeper into your network, location or industry. However, it’s advisable not to approach strangers as you may get marked as a spammer, which in turn can adversely affect your reputation as a real estate professional. But you can ask your present connections for referrals or recommendations to a person they are already connected to. While sending a request to connect, it’s good to personalize that message instead of using the default message. Another thing to remember is that with a LinkedIn premium account, you can send messages to potential clients/those who have checked your profile directly via InMails. In case you are in a LinkedIn group that the person too is in, you can send direct message to him/her unless he/she has disabled that feature.

Creating a company page: If you have a real estate company with a certain number of employees, having a company page is a good idea. When your employees create their LinkedIn profiles, they will get a drop-down box showing your company’s name when they add their employment details. This way, your company name will get good exposure and anyone checking these employee profiles may even feel interested enough to click and land at your company page on LinkedIn.

Be an active participant: Use LinkedIn’s ‘rich media’ button to add videos, white papers, testimonials etc to make your profile more engaging and interactive. Also, participate in groups where you share your expertise, opinion, relevant news and other items of interest to get people interested in you and your business. You can also ask your contacts and past clients to endorse you for specific skill sets (buying/selling luxury houses, home renovation, finding kid-friendly homes etc) which will show the areas in which you are particularly strong.

If you have heard about that popular game called ‘Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon’, you can call LinkedIn a place with ‘three degrees of separation’. Apart from your first line contacts, you also get connected to those in the second and third lines.

Thus, the platform gives you the ideal way to reach people (your target clients, peers, business partners and others who are relevant to your business). What’s more, you can control people’s perception about you and your business as well. But once you have forged a connection, don’t hide behind that online button. Call the person and meet physically. After all, as a real estate professional, you need to facilitate face-to-face interaction to seal deals. Therefore, consider LinkedIn to be a tool that opens doors to help you reach people and use the tips above to leverage this platform.

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