LinkedIn has changed the way real estate professionals connect, network and engage. With over 300 million members, it has become the world's largest professional network.
Many of your local prospective buyers and sellers are carefully evaluating professional profiles before ever making a call or sending an email. LinkedIn has also replaced the Rolodex for networking with other agents and brokers.
An incomplete or outdated profile can hurt your chances of being found in searches, and it can create a negative first impression.
Does Your Profile Need a Makeover?
Update your headline. Does your headline grab the reader's attention? Will it position you as a leader in your chosen field of expertise?
If you specialize in marketing condos in Downtown Vancouver, make sure “condos” appears in your headline. With so many faces to choose from, the more carefully you target searchers, the more likely you are to be found. If you specialize in oceanfront view properties in Whiterock, stating that in your headline makes you a front runner in related searches.
Trying to cast a wider net tends to work against you here, diluting your relevance. The more you try to appeal to everyone, the less likely you are to connect with anyone.
Specify your location. It always amazes me how many real estate marketers will not fill in the geographic area they service. “Canada” is far too broad. You will never be found by searchers looking for “condos in Surrey”, for example, if you avoid associating yourself with “Surrey.” Commit to your chosen ‘farm' area when you fill in the Location and Industry details.
Update your photo. If you don't have an amazing, recent photo of yourself, have a professional photographer take one right away. You want an image that makes you appear professional, but also friendly and approachable.
The mug shots that hang in many real estate offices can be too standoffish, particularly if they were taken with the arms crossed pose so popular a few years back. Cell phone ‘selfies' and photos where you're included with loved ones are not professional. The caricature you took home from your Christmas party may be cute, but it makes a cheesy business icon.
It goes without saying that hiding behind a logo or QR code is a very bad idea. This is a people business and, like it or not, you are the brand. Striving for anonymity and a successful real estate career is like trying to drive in opposite directions at the same time.
Fill in the blanks. Take the time to fill in your career background and educational history completely. LinkedIn provides a handy profile completeness meter to assist you.
People that seem to appear out of nowhere aren't as credible as those that are confident their background and life experience provide a foundation for their current career in real estate. If your career history only covers the last four years, readers will not naturally conclude you've always been in real estate. They are more likely to draw from the omission that you may be ashamed of your roots.
You don't have to include every embarrassing detail of your life, but allow people get to know you. Letting them know, for example, that you're a golfer, can be a point of connection with a potential buyer.
Be different! As you're filling in your profile, write for the readers. Think in terms of benefits. If you make a claim, jump to the readers' side of the table and ask what difference that makes.
Studying the competition can be risky, if it causes you to become another clone. The concept you want to embrace is “contrast”. Show your personality in your profile. The general rule of thumb here is: you will succeed to the degree you stand out from the ambient noise.
Back it up. Anybody can say they are the eyes and ears of their customer, or they have their thumb on the pulse of the local real estate market. In fact, most do say something to that effect.
If you claim to be a hard worker, and incredibly driven, include one or two small stories in which you staged a marathon event to sell out an entire condo building, skipping meals and running on caffeine and passion alone. It can be light and entertaining, and makes the point in a way the standard one-line claim never could.
Answer the three questions. Readers of your profile want to know:
1. who you are,
2. who you help, and
3. how you help them.
As I covered earlier, casting a wide net can be a killer. Target everyone and you can expect to be found by nobody at all. A young family moving into Coquitlam, looking for a townhouse, is unlikely to come across your profile if you target very broad keywords like “real estate” and “BC.”
Optimize it. Go over your profile to make sure you've included keyword terms that pertain to your area of expertise and location.
Do your recommendations align with your headline and optimized keywords? It may be difficult for some to delete endorsements for terms like “commercial real estate”, but if 90% of your business comes from condo sales, those endorsements could represent dilution. A bit of pruning can help you show greater focus for the business you specialize in.
Check everything over carefully. In your blog, you wouldn't click the ‘Publish' button before checking the spelling and grammar, and verifying dates. Put the same effort into your profile. Errors in your profile send the message that you're a person that doesn't care.
This is the first in a series of articles for getting the most out of LinkedIn; turning it into your own personal lead generation machine.
In the next post, I'll tell you how to make connections and build your LinkedIn network.