Since Ben Kinney and I wrote SOCI@L last fall, we’ve had the opportunity to teach the material dozens of times. What’s clear is the enormous opportunity social media platforms provide to cut marketing costs and attract new business. It’s also just a bit overwhelming to think about adding Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and a blog to our brimming daily task lists!
So we debated the question: If an agent were only to do one thing on social media, what would it be?
For most agents, their sphere is vital for referrals and repeat business. So one argument would be to work Facebook aggressively to build deeper relationships with our most important advocates. On the other hand, prospecting Twitter for buyers and sellers or just using it to interact with huge audiences are strategies that scale extremely well. Another school of thought argues that blogging is a proven method for increasing your visibility on search engines and helping buyers and sellers find your business. The challenge with all of these is they require regular effort and attention to be effective.
That’s why I argue that if you’re only going to do one thing on social media, let it be LinkedIn.
Besides growing and enriching your network, nothing says “I’m a modern professional” like a well-done LinkedIn profile. Chances are many of your prospective clients search for you online before they meet with you. What they find informs their decision to work with you (or not.) LinkedIn ranks very well on search engines so it will be one of the first four or five results in any search when clients do their due diligence. By investing a few hours of your time, you can make yourself more visible online and help ensure a great first impression.
Here’s what to do:
1) Join LinkedIn.
2) Complete your professional profile. Include a current photo, your professional highlights and make sure you identify yourself as an agent with Keller Williams.
3) Customize your personal URL. From the Edit Profile page, select “Edit” on your Public Profile Link. That how you get an easy to remember LinkedIn address like www.LinkedIn.com/in/JayPapasan which you can add to your business cards, websites and email signatures.
4) Invite your sphere! Select the Contacts tab and click “Add Connections” and follow the instructions to upload your email address book. With a couple of clicks you can invite your entire network to connect.
5) Give 10 recommendations. Pick some of your top, well-positioned advocates and sing their praises to prospective employers. And remember, you can offer character references for people you know and respect that don’t happen to be past or current coworkers.
6) Get 10 recommendations (so ask for 20!) Recommendations and testimonials remain some of the most powerful marketing tools in our arsenal, so go get some. Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations from people who are not past real estate clients. A testimonial is a powerful endorsement by itself; having real estate related one is a plus. (Tip: Ask for recommendations from individuals you would also feel comfortable recommending. You’re not expected to reciprocate, but it sure feels nice.)
“Out of all the current social media tools, LinkedIn has the best system for encouraging and accumulating testimonials.” says, top agent Michael Maher of Kansas City who averages more than 500 referrals a year. “I have received two new home community referrals as well as many individual referrals from LinkedIn. Plus, the referrals are more affluent.”
That’s it! The best part for busy professionals is that once you’ve invested a couple of hours to set it up, LinkedIn requires little to none of your time and you’ll still enjoy the benefits. If you want to go deeper, power up your referrals by joining some LinkedIn Groups like the Keller Williams National Agent Referral Network and the National Assoc of REALTORS.