Real estate professionals — Here’s how to use LinkedIn to find a new job, vet new employees and network with other professionals.
Why use LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a social media site geared toward connecting workers with other individuals and companies in their field of business.
LinkedIn has over 300 million registered users worldwide, and is the second most-used social media site in the U.S., after Facebook. 28% of U.S. adults online use LinkedIn, according to Pew Research Center.
However, of LinkedIn’s registered users, only 38% actually log into LinkedIn on a regular basis. This is the lowest frequency of any other popular social media site, according to Pew. This is likely due to LinkedIn’s usefulness in networking for employment. That is, many workers don’t log into LinkedIn until they are interested in finding a new employer.
In fact, 67% of respondents to a recent first tuesday poll said they do not use LinkedIn for their real estate business. 20% reported using LinkedIn to connect with clients and 13% use LinkedIn to connect with other real estate professionals.
Editor’s note — As only 30 readers responded to the poll, we can assume many readers who do not use LinkedIn chose not to submit a response. Thus, it’s likely the percent of real estate professionals who use LinkedIn is lower than the poll suggests.
Therefore, with a high number of registered users, but with a low number of individuals using the site regularly, what is the best way to use LinkedIn for real estate agents?
Use LinkedIn for both sides of the job hunt
First, real estate professionals can use LinkedIn the same way most people do: to assist in the employment process.
Brokers can view potential employee profiles on LinkedIn, including sales agents and non-licensed assistants. Things employing brokers look for in a LinkedIn profile include:
- a professional presentation and head shot;
- groups joined and any activity in these groups;
- endorsements from the individual’s connections;
- conformity of the individual’s resume with their LinkedIn profile (i.e. job titles, employment dates, etc.);
- connections the employer has in common with the potential employee so they can seek out an honest reference; and
- signs of the employee’s personality to see if they will be a good fit with their brokerage.
Likewise, real estate agents seeking to be employed at a brokerage can tailor their profiles to appeal to brokers by following these tips:
- Add connections with professionals colleagues as soon as you make their acquaintance. If a potential connection does not remember meeting, they may decline the connection request. If this happens enough times, LinkedIn initiates extra security protocols before allowing the employee to request to be connected with others.
- Update your LinkedIn profile regularly, even if you aren’t currently looking for a new broker. Your profile needs to be updated every time you receive an award (e.g., most sales in your brokerage), accomplish a new professional skill (e.g., short sale expertise) or complete new education (e.g., take an office management course).
- Turn off network notifications when making several updates to your profile. Do this by selecting “No” on your profile page where it asks “Notify your network?” Otherwise, it may tip off a current employer to the fact you are searching for a new job. If you don’t mind if your current employer knows you’re on the hunt, it’s still best to turn off notifications until all your edits are done, or risk annoying your connections with constant updates. Only leave the notification on for real-time profile updates like new awards or skills, as mentioned above.
- Customize your LinkedIn URL. It looks more professional than the random web address LinkedIn automatically assigns your profile, and it’s simple. From LinkedIn’s homepage, go to Settings then Edit your Public Profile. Click on the link to Create Your Custom URL. Choose a simple URL, like www.linkedin.com/in/JaneDoe.
- Recommend and endorse your fellow LinkedIn connections. By offering these accolades, you increase the chance that they will post recommendations and endorsements to your profile in return.
These are the basic steps to obtaining a solid LinkedIn profile. To take it to the next level, consider joining and contributing to some LinkedIn groups within the real estate field. Also, follow companies important to your business, such as title companies, other large brokerages and local real estate associations. You can even follow first tuesday on LinkedIn (and we’re not biased in saying so).
Use LinkedIn to network with professionals and clients
Other than hiring or looking for a new job, LinkedIn can also be useful in everyday business.
For example, first tuesday’s in-house broker, Fernando Nunez, recommends connecting on LinkedIn with non real estate professionals who you still work with in your capacity as a real estate agent or broker. This includes contractors, appraisers, title agents and other real estate agents and brokers who may pass you referral business (i.e. if they work outside your area).
For example, if your client receives excellent service from a home inspector, connect with them on LinkedIn to keep in touch. Likewise, the home inspector may refer business to you by virtue of your professional connection on LinkedIn.
You can also use LinkedIn to connect with clients. It’s rare that a client goes onto LinkedIn looking for a real estate agent. However, connecting with past clients on LinkedIn helps keep you in their professional circle, ensuring they think of you for their next real estate transaction. Staying active on LinkedIn by updating your profile regularly keeps those connections informed of your continued accomplishments in the real estate industry. This increases your chances of clients not only returning to you for repeat business, but also sending referrals your way.