LinkedIn is a wonderful way to announce to the world how experienced, market-savvy and desirable you are as a commercial real estate agent. Dedicating an entire profile to your business endeavors allows you to extend your professional network and can open you up to endless opportunities through connections made. Unfortunately, these profiles can also make some appear unprofessional and inexperienced if they leave out important business information. Here are a few tips to ensure that your profile accurately represents the type of agent you are.
1. List the ZIP Code Where You Do the Most Business
Your ZIP code is one of the first things LinkedIn asks you for when creating a new profile. This number is then used to suggest other connections to you based on your occupation and location. However, if you’re active in a geographic region that is a distance from your office this can result in missed connections if you choose to list your work ZIP code. Instead, pick the area where you do the most business. This can both foster new connections and allow former clients and colleagues to find you more easily.
2. Add Your Alma Maters
This may seem like a menial formality, but college life, sports and classes are common topics of conversation among agents and prospective clients, especially when people don’t have a lot in common. Listing your alma mater will also help you connect with former classmates, which can produce a few potential clients. If you completed a real estate program in college it can also keep you in touch with classmates who may have job or client leads.
3. Include Your Business Email Address
Many people still view social networking sites as a purely “social” tool, which leads them to leave out important details about their profession, expertise or business contact information. Some people are even uncomfortable using their business email addresses because they worry a boss will view these sites as leisurely activities that take away from work. This is not likely to be true of LinkedIn, however, because your primary use is making and maintaining business contacts. Therefore, you need to include all your relevant business information, including your work email address, which will allow you to search and connect with email contacts.
4. Create a Twitter Account and Blog
LinkedIn is a prime marketing tool for publicizing your commercial real estate expertise. Not only can you list your specialties, experience and contact information, but you can tell your connections where they can gain information on the industry – which is through you. Even if you can only commit to a few Tweets and posts a week, this consistent effort can build trust among your connections. You may even find your number of connections growing as people locate your LinkedIn profile through these other accounts. Just keep all information on these outlets professional and related to commercial real estate.
5. Add Your Official Biography
If you work for a commercial real estate firm, chances are that you or someone within the company has already created your official biography. There’s no need to reinvent yourself on LinkedIn if you have this piece of literature in hand (unless it’s against company policy to use the biography elsewhere). Simply paste it under the Biography heading where it can be displayed prominently.
6. Recommend Other LinkedIn Connections
Everyone likes to have their egos stroked, so recommend your connections. Acquaintances will likely be flattered that you took this extra effort, and may return the favor.
7. Include Your Photo
LinkedIn profiles don’t look complete or polished without color photos. Like your official biography, your company headshot should work fine. If you don’t have a headshot you can have one taken at your local mall or department store for very little.
8. Create Polls
LinkedIn allows you to add applications, like Polls, to your profile. Post a weekly poll asking connections to weigh in on something relevant to your market or specialty. This not only engages people in your profile, but gives you important knowledge about how competitors and clients view the industry.
9. Download the Real Estate Pro Application
In addition to Polls, LinkedIn also offers a Real Estate Pro application that lets agents publicize closed transactions, follow the market and connect with other agents in their areas. Though this application is aimed at the office market, all commercial agents could benefit from immersion in this business niche.
10. Model Your Profile After One You Admire
Connect with a friend or colleague over LinkedIn whose professional skills or social networking prowess you really admire. Take a hard look at their profile. Pay special attention to what information they include and what they omit, and model your own after that. Your profile can always be altered later, but this can provide a solid base if you’re unfamiliar with LinkedIn or if you haven’t used social networking sites to connect professionally.