As one of the most underappreciated social networks around, LinkedIn continues to quietly grow and become more useful to businesses of all sizes. Now is as good a time as any for you to learn the ins and outs of the most popular “business focused” social network so that you too can generate leads and find new clients on LinkedIn.
What Is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is the most well-known social network for those looking to find jobs, hire new employees and make real business connections. There is no “poking” or “tagging” on this network. Rather, just simple and straightforward business tools to help develop professional connections online.
Real estate professionals across the country and around the globe continue to utilize the social networking tools provided by LinkedIn. When used correctly and consistently, LinkedIn can be a very powerful tool for generating business and developing useful business relationships.
The Profile: An Online Business Card
The way LinkedIn works is that each user creates their own profile. The “snapshot” view of a user’s profile summarizes their basic information, which includes:
- Current Location
- Job Title
- Employment History
- Education History
- Summary of Recommendations
- Photos for Identification
One can also display links to personal or business websites, and list out interests, associations, and any honors and awards obtained. This attractively formatted page can serve as a nice online business card for Realtors, Brokers, and other real estate professionals.
Connections Represent Business Relationships
Through Connections, LinkedIn allows you to demonstrate your industry relationships to the world. When making a connection with another user on the site, its established how both users know each other? Once the connection is made, both users can then exchange recommendations, send in Mail (through LinkedIn’s internal email program), and easily make referrals from their respective trusted networks.
Since real estate professionals and companies can post status updates on LinkedIn, as the number of quality connections per user grows, so does the potential for making new business connections. Real estate professionals who maximize this platform are potential frequently post and view status updates of other users. Status updates allow a user to instantly update their entire network of connections on what is currently happening in their business community.
It’s a good idea to keep an eye on these updates, as the next great opportunity may be posted to a user’s entire network. Someone in your network may even be as direct with their intentions as stating something like: “I’m ready to buy a new home!”
Answering Questions to Attract New BusinessAnother way that users can interact on the site is through LinkedIn Answers. This Q&A format lets professionals post and answer questions related to their industry, and really gives one the opportunity to demonstrate their prowess in their field. Having a lot of answers that are voted “Best Answers” for frequently asked questions in the real estate industry can generate a lot of business inquiries. Often you’ll see other users answering a question and praising what ends up being chosen as the best answer. This is in essence free advertising for the author of that best answer!
Like Face book, LinkedIn provides an ad platform for users and advertisers to take advantage of the network’s reach and social graph to promote their business and services via image and text based ads. Relevant ads are served to LinkedIn users based on their profile information provided making LinkedIn Ads very targeted.
There’s often professional information a user would like to have on their profile for connections to see, but not make it available publicly. So it’s important to go over privacy concerns when discussing this social networking platform. Fortunately, LinkedIn gives one a great deal of control over their privacy through settings which can limit the amount of information that can be viewed by anyone.
A full profile can be set to only be available to those who are in the user’s network. And since the search engines only includes LinkedIn pages in their search results that are public, rest assured that your trusted information will not show up in search results without your permission.
LinkedIn Can Generate Business, If You Use it Right
Although LinkedIn cannot boast the hundreds of millions of users that Twitter or Face book have currently, it is still one of the best social networks to leverage for lead generation, if you use it correctly. Like any other social network, you will get as much out as you put in.
We hope this article has given you all the information you need to succeed in beginning to use LinkedIn.