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LinkedIn Pro Training for Real Estate Professionals - Set-Up and Basic Strategies
LinkedIn Pro Training for Real Estate Professionals - Set-Up and Basic Strategies
SPONSORED BY ASSURED TITLE
Ryan S. Shaughnessy, Broker/Principal
PREA Signature Realty
1802 Lafayette Avenue, Suite 200
Saint Louis, Missouri 63104
RYAN S. SHAUGHNESSY
Real Estate Broker, Attorney and Social Media Consultant
Blog: The Lafayette Report
Biography: Ryan S. Shaughnessy is a licensed real estate broker, attorney and tit
insurance agent offering comprehensive real estate sales, management and consultin
services to owners, developers, and investors for the acquisition, development and sa
of properties in the historic neighborhoods of the City of St. Louis, Missouri, includin
the Central West End, Lafayette Square, Soulard, Georgian Square, Tower Grove Ea
and the other great neighborhoods of the City of Saint Louis, Missouri.
Brokerage Services - New construction sales, condo/loft rentals and sales, representa-
tion of buyers and sellers, and commercial and residential sales and leasing.
Sales/Leasing Service Areas—Lafayette Square, Lafayette Towne, Soulard, LaSalle Park
Benton Park, Benton Park West, Central West End, Downtown Loft District, Compton
Heights, Tower Grove East, Tower Grove South, Shaw, The Hill, Carondelet, St. Louis
Hills, Holly Hills, and Dutchtown, as well as University City, Clayton, Richmond Heights
Developer Services - Site acquisition, feasibility studies, sales staff development and
management, and marketing and related services.
Real Estate Law Services - Transactional and general real estate litigation practice in-
cluding real estate development, eminent domain, land use and municipal law.
Consulting Services - Real estate tax appeals, sales training and sales coaching, and so
cial media consulting.
Special Thanks to Michelle Silies, my business partner and broker, who has allowe
me the time to develop this training series and encouraged me to pursue the use
technology in our real estate, law and consulting practices.
the LinkedIn Pro training series, we start by discussing the “nuts and bolts” o
nkedIn. After discussing the “how to” aspects of LinkedIn such as setting up a profile
e then discuss common strategies to harness the power of LinkedIn. Here are a few o
LinkedIn Strategy - Reference Selling
LinkedIn Strategy - The Advisory Board
LinkedIn Strategy - The LinkedIn Website
LinkedIn Strategy - The LinkedIn Expert
LinkedIn Strategy - Agent Recruitment
LinkedIn Strategy - Warm Calling Based on LinkedIn Research
nkedIn has many purposes or uses. However, it isn’t a magic elixir. To be effective, y
ust have a plan or strategy. Instead of thinking of it as a solution, you must think of
a tool. It is no different than a paint brush. Simply having one won’t make you an a
. The Mona Lisa didn’t paint itself. LinkedIn can be a powerful tool. However, it r
uires creativity, a plan, and even hard work. If you use a passive approach by simp
sting a profile, you won’t harness the power.
For LinkedIn Demographics
tand out from other real estate agents, you need a unique market position. It should s
essage as to why the public should employ you or your services. It should be interestin
should include value statements that attract the person to you and your profile. It is
ogous to a business tagline or a newspaper headline. It is intended to grab the attenti
he reader. It is simply not good enough to say “real estate agent” or “sales person” or
n “Realtor”. These descriptions, although accurate, don’t generate any excitement and
t distinguish you from the crowd.
e are some steps to develop a good business headline:
tep 1—Define your unique market position. In determining your unique market po
on, break your inquiry into two separate parts. First, answer the question “What is my
trongest practice area?” Second, answer the question “What is my strongest personal
haracteristic or skill?” After answering these two questions, write a preliminary busine
eadline or tagline.
tep 2—Define your target audience. Next, answer the question “Who do I want to
act as a customer?” Create a profile or list of characteristics for your target audience.
he words describing your target audience and your business headline or tagline should
onsistent with each other. Review and modify your preliminary business headline or ta
ne in light of the profile for your target audience.
Step 3—Define the goals for your LinkedIn page. Finally, answer the question “Wh
o you want LinkedIn to do for you?” It is important to define your goals. It will contro
ow you frame your business headline and other information. Goals can range from obt
ng employment to enhancing your web presence to developing a niche market to drivin
affic to your personal website and listing to saving time and educating customers. Aft
ou have defined your goals, review your business headline or tagline to make sure that
our unique market position matches.
xamples of Good Business Headlines:
The Education Agent—Serving the College Community
Your Family Realtor—Serving Families One Sale at a Time
The Dirt Broker—Selling Lots… Building Homes
ther your target audience is owners, buyers, other real estate professionals, or employ
important to add a photograph. Before a person or company employs, connects or c
icates with you., they want to know with whom they are dealing. A photograph that is
erly cropped enhances your professional image. When selecting a photograph, remem
LinkedIn is a professional, business networking site. Accordingly, leave the family pho
photos, etc. offline—unless these photos are consistent with your business headline or t
Anonymous profile do little or nothing to project a professional image or to instill conf
ce in the person who is viewing your profile regarding the quality of your services.
n you are enter your education and employment information, it is important to provide
te and complete information.
p 1—Enter all work positions. The public enjoys those “janitor” to “owner” stories.
t be embarrassed by a position. Everyone starts somewhere.
p 2—Enter the complete company name. If the name of the company has changed
e the former companies name like BP Amoco (formerly Standard Oil). LinkedIn uses th
mation to suggest possible connections that you can make with other members of
p 3—Be open and honest with the information provide. Do not exaggerate the po
or your duties. Do not try to hide gaps in employment. Treat your LinkedIn Profile as
p 4—When preparing the description, describe your duties accurately. Even if t
sn’t relevant, the skills learned may be. Focus on skills or duties that are consistent w
ther it is Google or LinkedIn, search engines love good keywords. Before you enter yo
ription, define your keywords. This process starts by knowing who you are and how yo
t to be found. For example, if you sell “luxury homes’ in Chesterfield, then your descri
should include keywords like “custom homes” or “gated communities” and geographic
tions like the specific neighborhoods that you sell, not simply “St. Louis Realtor.”
p 1—Identify your keywords. Use a Google keyword search tool or look at the statis
m your website to identify common keywords.
p 2—Expand your keywords looking for synonyms. Although you may describe yo
as “helpful”, the general public may search on “accommodating” or “assistive”. Similar
may use the keyword “Clayton” to describe your geographic area and the general publ
be searching on zip codes. Cover the bases when selecting keywords.
p 3—Analyze your keywords. Review your keywords to make sure the keywords use
consistent with your content theme or business headline or tagline.
re you complete your descriptions, test your keywords by searching for people on
edIn. If you aren’t in the top 5 people on the first page, then rewrite your description
additional keywords likely to appear in common people searches on LinkedIn.
s or duties that are consistent with your current position.
your websites to your profile. Here are some tips to increase your referral traffic from
edIn to your blog, website or company site.
#1—Do not use the LinkedIn tags like “My Website” or “My Blog”. Instead, use “Other”
write your own description like “Home Search—MLS Access”.
#2—If you desire more traffic to your website, use less of a description and more of a c
action like “Search for St. Louis Homes Now”.
#3—Even if you don’t have a blog or three websites, send prospects to three different l
pages like “Featured Properties in Lafayette Square”, “Search MLS Now” or “Contact Me
onvey an effective message, you often have to repeat your message at least three tim
summary section allows you to restate your background, skills, experience, areas of sp
zation, and other items that are important to you. Again, it is should be a description t
eyword laden and consistent with your content theme and business headline or tagline.
edIn is a social business networking site. On my profile, I focus on my business and th
would interest my business network. However, the other section is one of the few are
inkedIn where I encourage the disclosure of personal information such as personal inte
. It allows the audience viewing your profile to get a better sense of who you are and w
any social networking site, content plays a major role in generating leads, developing b
opportunities, and staying in constant contact with your current and former customers
ere of influence, and professional colleagues. LinkedIn has three primary resources for
ng content to your site: (1) Status Updates, (2) Applications, (3) Recommendation
Q&A Forums, and (5) Groups.
edIn added a “status update” feature similar to Facebook and Twitter. It can be access
er from the home page (shown on left above) or from the profile page (shown on right
ve). It asks a simple question “What are you working on?” The tool is underutilized by
y members of LinkedIn. At the same time, it is overused by others. The key is to rem
that LinkedIn is both a social network and a business network.
e are some examples from recent updates posted to LinkedIn:
ood Use of Status: “I am currently looking for comparable sales in Downtown St. Loui
ew listing at xxxx Washington.” or “I had a dinner meeting with CIT Small Biz Lending—
reat SBA loans still available.”
ad Use of Status: “Dude, got so wasted last night. Mardi Gras rocked.” or “I just had
reakfast—heading now to office.”
e are some tips to effectively use the status update feature to generate leads, develop
ness opportunities and much more:
#1—Keep the style and tone professional. Your audience will judge your posts bas
he image that you project. I doubt that your employer or customers really want to kno
you are 40+ years old and “got so wasted last night.”
#2—Update your status on a regular basis. Social networks can be a useful marke
business tool. However, your experience and success with LinkedIn will depend on ho
use and participate in discussions on LinkedIn. If you simply create a profile and stop
e, LinkedIn will do very little for you in terms of generating leads, developing business
unities, etc. The key is to fully participate in the network. It is all about starting conve
s. The status update feature is an easy way to start a conversation within your networ
#3—Don’t press… don’t sell. It is important to remember that LinkedIn is a social n
king site that is business oriented. It isn’t intended to be a forum for you to spam frien
workers, and colleagues with unwanted advertisements. Whether on LinkedIn, Twitter
book, repetitive sales pitches don’t work. Focus on discussing your work, technology,
ry trends, etc. Again, the purpose of the updates is to start conversations and develop
#4—Identify the purpose of each update. Before you post an update, ask yoursel
y are you posting it?” and “What do you want to achieve from it?” If you are posting s
or the sake of posting, then it isn’t going to be productive or effective. Although I disc
“selling”, I do believe that “self-promotion” is a permissible use of LinkedIn. Here are
e suggested topics for updates:
ob Openings / Seeking Employment
omments on Industry Trends
ew Listings / Price Updates / Special Incentives
elling Information / Other Success Stories
echnology Questions and Comments
#5—Use Ping.Fm to update status on multiple platforms. If you maintain a prese
multiple social networking sites, you may want to consider using Ping.fm. Ping.fm, afte
ng up your accounts, allows you to send a single update to all of your social networkin
with the click of 1-button.
edIn now offers several applications that can be used to build content for your site. He
a few of my favorites:
Box.net allows you to upload files in a variety of form
(including pdfs) to your LinkedIn profile. It is a great
for posting files and allowing your connections and oth
viewing your profile to download sales brochures, pric
lists, sales contracts, forms, and more.
eshare.net allows you to upload files. Slideshare.net
converts them to slide shows and uploads the slide
ws to your LinkedIn profile. It is a great tool for post-
and allowing your connections and others viewing
profile to view slide shows on any topic from sales
ing to listings and more.
BlogLink allows you to upload blog posts from your b
to your LinkedIn Profile. It is a great tool for expandin
your audience and readership. It also is a great tool t
show that your are an expert in your field, industry or
Reading List is really just
un. If your goal is to show
expertise or start a conver-
on, the Reading List is a must
tool. This is especially true if
ates to your area of exper-
or if the person viewing your
s an active reader. The
efit of the tool is that it en-
My Travel is a another addictive
tool. It is especially useful if you
belong to internet groups like Ac
tiveRain or attended a college
where people spread out across
the country after graduation.
Similar to the Reading List, it is
often a conversation starter and
attracts invites from friends, cus
tomers and others located in the
city that you are visiting.
kedInPolls is a marketing and research tool. It
be used for market research or other purposes. It
be answered by anyone viewing your profile.
e is also a paid option that disseminates it to tar-
en setting your account and privacy settings, it is a matter of personal preference. How
r, these decisions can impact how useful your profile will be to you. The more restricti
t your privacy and other settings are will determine how accessible your information is
w useful your LinkedIn profile, status updates, etc. will be.
bscribe to the philosophy that transparency on social networking sites is the key to the
cessful use as a business, marketing and networking tool with one exception. I do not
w (as explained below) my connections on LinkedIn. Here are my personal thoughts o
cted account and privacy settings for my LinkedIn account.
Show your professional photo. The lack of a pho
graph creates anonymity which can be a barrier
building a strong, active network on LinkedIn. P
ple and companies want to know and see who th
are doing business with on LinkedIn.
If the purpose of your use of LinkedIn is to maxi
your exposure, then I would use a full profile. It
adds to SEO value and provides a better ability t
convey why someone should do business with yo
Whether your current status should be visible is
ing to depend on what you post. If you post lew
comments to a small network of friends (not reco
mended), it is probably better to keep your statu
private. However, by setting your current status
visible by everyone, you increase the likelihood t
your status will be read by someone who can con
tribute to your current project or who might beco
a lead or referral source. Often, it isn’t that you
don’t have a network, it is that your network doe
fully understand what you do, what your specialt
I do not subscribe to methods used to decrease o
make more difficult the ability of others to send i
vites to join their networks. The purpose of Link
is to make new connections and to build, manag
and serve a larger network. This doesn’t mean t
I accept every invite. However, I prefer to receiv
and then evaluate whether I should join that per
son’s network or, more accurately, whether I sho
grant that person access to my network, on a ca
by case basis.
his may or may not be controversial. However, I do not allow my connections to share, view or otherwis
se my connections. Here are my thoughts on the subject:
I often invite prospects, customers, referral sources, etc. to my network. As to customers, I view thei
identity as confidential and not subject to disclosure without their express permission. As to prospects
and referral sources, I view this information as proprietary and would prefer not to give my competito
a competitive advantage by disclosing my sources of business.
I often invite real estate professionals, including Realtors, developers, builders, sales managers, and
on-site builder sales representatives, to join my network. Often, these people are direct competitors o
at least potential competitors. Some may ask: Then, why invite your competitors to your network?
The short answer is that I value these relationships and find it productive to exchange ideas with othe
real estate professionals on a wide range of issues from market conditions, industry trends and issues
pricing, technology, marketing, etc. that occur from regular contacts with colleagues on LinkedIn.
I often invite my service providers to my LinkedIn network. Often, these connections are or perceive
themselves to be competitors with someone else on my preferred provider list. Although I do not
promise exclusivity to my preferred providers, I prefer to eliminate any misunderstanding that may
arise from having multiple providers of the same services being listed on my connections.
It is a common practice to harvest connections from one’s own connections. Admittedly, I have viewe
the connections of my connections. If I know these people, I often will send invites. If I don’t know
them, I will sometimes ask my connection to make a referral. I prefer as a personal choice to elimina
this reason as a reason to join my network. I also have connections where I want to expand my rela-
tionship with the connection. I would prefer not to tip someone off as to the identity of my connection
that I am actively courting for new or additional business.
he privacy and account settings that I have mentioned in this post are accessible by clicking on the
Account & Settings” link on the LinkedIn header. The privacy settings for the visibility of groups listed on
our profile are found on the profile edit page. When it comes to groups, I generally show my groups wit
Often, there are multiple groups governing the same subject. For example, there are close to 20
groups for Johns Hopkins alumni. I exclude all of the groups, except one, from visibility on my profile
because it makes my profile unwieldy.
I subscribe too numerous groups. Often, I join groups to get a better understanding of their business
or to develop networking contacts. I often will exclude these groups because I don’t want to give the
perception to readers of my profiles that these are major practice areas where these groups are not
directly related to my practice areas.
I tend to exclude religious, political or other groups that may be offensive or controversial to other pos
sible prospects, customers, etc. Although I may have an interest in these groups and their issues,
membership in some groups may alienate some readers so I exclude these groups from my profile.
p until this part, we have focused on establishing a good foundation for LinkedIn succes
creating a good, content laden and keyword rich profile. In this section, we will discu
e basic strategies for starting to build your network. We will cover more advanced
rategies such as the use of LinkedIn Groups, LinkedIn Q&A Forums, LinkedIn Testimon
s, and “follows” strategies to expand your network in future posts.
efore you start sending out invites or accepting invites on LinkedIn, I would strongly su
st that you first define your connection strategy. When you accept an invite to join an
her person’s network, you are essentially granting this person access to your network
d connections. Although opinions on this issue will vary widely, I do not subscribe to t
more connections” are better philosophy for real estate professionals. In my opinion, a
twork for a real estate professionals should be more focused. This is especially true
here you use LinkedIn as a tool for managing your network and developing relationship
ere are is my connection strategy:
ule 1—I automatically accept invitations from family and friends.
ule 2—I automatically accept invitations from all current and former customers and pro
ule 3—I automatically accept invitations from real estate professionals in the St. Louis
ea, including real estate agents, loan officers, title agents, builders, developers, sales
anagers, home inspectors, etc.
ule 4—I automatically accept invitations from active members of charitable, alumni, fra
rnal, civic and other groups that I actively participate in.
ule 5—I automatically accept invitations from active members of internet groups like Ac
veRain that I actively participate in.
ule 6—For invitations from connections in the 2nd or 3rd tier of my network, I review th
rson’s profile. If it is a personal invitation looking for a genuine networking opportunit
am inclined to accept the invitation.
ule 7—For unsolicited invitations, I look at the person’s profile, groups, etc. to see if the
terests, activities and posts are consistent with my professional interests. If the profile
complete, I am less likely to accept the invitation. Similarly, there are two types of inv
tions—the generic and personal invitations. If you send the generic invitation, have an
complete profile, have no common connections with me, or appear to be a link or conn
on whore (ie. indiscriminate invitations just to gain connections), I am more inclined to
sregard the invitation.
hen it comes to invitations, I don’t mind receiving the “generic” LinkedIn invitations fro
ople that I already know, do business with or with whom I have some relationship. Ho
er, when it comes to people that I don’t know and haven’t heard of, I prefer a persona
ed invitation with some explanation as to who they are or why I should connect with
em. Here are some good invitations from complete strangers that I have accepted be-
use the person provided a personalized invitation that was consistent with my profes-
Good Explanation of Connect
Reference to Blog on ActiveR
Honest Assessment of Purpos
the Connection—Referral Net
Sincere Compliments Never H
Reference to Participation in
Humorous Comments on Spa
Nature of Invitation —From F
Attorney Looking to Reconne
with Friends & Colleagues (no
Honest Assessment of the Pu
pose of the Connection—Reb
Loft Website & Forum
Step 1—Invite friends, family, co-workers, colleagues, etc. that you have
established connection with by importing your contacts from your Gmail,
Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, or Outlook address books. Send a mass invitation
ep 2—Manually enter contacts from your paper
dress book and then send personalized invita-
ons to these contacts in related groups.
Step 3—Periodically check the “Just Joined Linked
section at the bottom of the home page. It pulls
LinkedIn profiles from the education and employm
information from your LinkedIn Profile. New Linke
members are often looking to reconnect and are
more inclined to accept links.
ep 4—Watch the “People You May Know” sec-
on on the top right hand of most LinkedIn pages.
you know the person (personally or through an
quaintance) and have a sincere desire to de-
lop a networking relationship, send an invite.
tep 5—Take the rubber banded stack of business cards out of the desk drawer. Or, tak
ok of lists from business, civic and other organizations in which you are an active mem
se the “Search People” function to see if these people are on LinkedIn and, if so, send i
tes. After each business meeting, event, etc., I try to send out invites to the contacts
have made at these networking events. The success ratio on making new connections
eems to be the highest when the person is already a member of LinkedIn.
p 6—After you have started building your network, click on your
nections. Take a look at the connections of others in your net-
k. It is a great tool for finding connections that you may have
ed in the first five steps. Send invite if you personally know the
viduals listed as your connections’ connections.
Step 7—Click on “Introductions” on the left hand column of your Hom
page. Click on “Compose Message” and then “Send In-Mail or Introd
tion.” Use the search tool to identify people who you want to include
your network. You can search by keyword, location, group members
etc. The search results will include common or shared connections a
groups. You can then send the invitation directly to the person or yo
can request a shared connection to make an introduction.
Step 7A— If you elect to request an introduction fr
a shared connection, highlight the person to whom
want to be introduced. Click on “Get Introduced.”
will pull up a screen that includes a note to both the
person that you want to make the introduction as w
as the person to whom you want to be introduced.
Your connection then decides whether he or she wa
to introduce you to the person to whom you have re
quested to be introduced. It is a much stronger ap-
proach as the introduction from your connection is l
your connection saying “Hey Ryan’s a decent guy an
won’t spam you to death, why don’t you guys talk.”
e greatest asset of Linked-In may be the ability to showcase customer, colleague and
her testimonials and recommendations. Advertising may drive traffic, but testimonials
d recommendations drive referrals. So how do you get those rave reviews? After you
t the reviews, how do you best display the testimonials? This section will answer thos
o questions and more.
hether you are a real estate agent, mortgage broker, title agent, or in some other field
e of your best assets is your good reputation. Nothing says “hire me” better than the
stimonials of your past customers.
ere are a few tips on how to obtain those rave reviews and testimonials:
p #1—Deliver Great Customer Service. It is important to adopt a customer-centric
cus based on the simple premise under promise and over deliver. Don’t just meet cus-
mer expectations— you need to exceed them. Until you have delivered exceptional cus
mer service, you won’t have the satisfied customer base that is willing to give you thos
eat reviews. So, before you start asking for recommendations and testimonials, first
art delivering superior customer service.
p #2—Ask for the Recommendation and/or Testimonial. There are some custom
s who will automatically send a “thank you” note. However, if you are going to effec-
vely use customer testimonials, you need ask for recommendations. As a part of closin
t my sales files, whether using LinkedIn or not, I send a brief note as follows:
ear Mr. Smith: I wanted to thank you for the opportunity to represent you in the pur-
ase of your new home. I am in the process of closing out your file and wanted to ask
u for a quick favor. As you know, my business is based primarily on customer referral
am currently updating my marketing materials and I would like to include some examp
om people who I have recently had the pleasure to represent in sales transaction of how
ve helped them purchase a new home. If possible, I was hoping that you would be wi
g to send me a short one or two paragraph note describing how my services helped or
sisted you in the purchase of your new home. Again, it was a pleasure working with y
ook forward to being your Realtor for life.
p #3—Use LinkedIn or Full Contact Information. On LinkedIn, you can request re
mmendations using the Request Recommendation. LinkedIn does not permit anonymou
commendations and testimonials. However, if you receive a recommendation other th
rough LinkedIn, I would strongly suggest that you obtain permission to use the person
ll name. Nothing like “M.G” to give the impression that the recommendation is a fake.
en if the customer requests the use of initials, include some additional contact informa
on like “John S., Professor, Washington University, 15XXX Lafayette, St. Louis, Missour
e inclusion of more information makes the recommendation or testimonial more credib
d more effective.
p #4—Use Targeted Recommendations. When using a recommendation for a spec
urpose, select testimonials that are from the same core group. For example, if your tar
t audience is first-time homebuyers, select testimonials from first-time homebuyers.
dapt your testimonials to your targeted audience. Sometimes it is as simple as adding
ohn Smith, First-Time Homebuyer” to the identifying information.
p #5—Use Multiple Media. Do not limit your recommendations to a particular media
udio voiceovers, photo clips, video clips, or combinations thereof are effective media fo
owcasing testimonials. These testimonials can be hosted on LinkedIn using the Box.ne
p #6—Develop a System. Do not delay in requesting testimonials. The best time to
k for a recommendation or testimonial is right after the sale. To automate this system
eate a reminder or tickler service to send the request within 15 days of the closing of t
p #7—Don’t Limit Testimonials to Customers Only. Testimonials are most powerf
om current and former customers. However, customers are not the only source for gre
stimonials. Employers, co-workers, colleagues, competitors, service providers, and par
ipants in volunteer, church and other activities are also great sources of testimonials.
on’t forget these avenues – especially if you are new to the real estate field.
n LinkedIn, you can request recommendations using the Request Recommendation.
ep 1— Go to Recommendations under the Profile Section on the left side of your Home
ge. Click on Recommendations. Click on the Request Recommendation Tab.
ep 2— Then:
Select your position.
Select the people you want to ask for a recommendation.
Create a personalized message. Use personalized message not the form “Can you en-
dorse me?” message.
ep 3— Click send. It is that easy. The recipient then writes the testimonial. When co
eted, you then can review the testimonial and approve its use on your profile.
hate to call this a strategy because the use of the term strategy implies a quid pro quo
rangement like “send me a glowing recommendation and I’ll do the same for you” whic
not the purpose or intent of this strategy. Notwithstanding the lack of a quid pro quod
reement, I have found that sending an unsolicited recommendation often results in the
ceipt of a reciprocal recommendation.
hen making a recommendation, unsolicited or otherwise, I am a strong believer that yo
ould make it genuine and factually accurate focusing on a specific characteristic like or
nizational skills, customer service, industry knowledge, etc. I don’t exaggerate or ove
ate the person’s qualification and stay within the “just stick to the facts” mantra when
iting a recommendation.
nkedIn actually encourages reciprocity in the making of recommendations. After you
ite a recommendation, the recipient then approves the recommendation. After the re-
pient clicks to approve the recommendation, LinkedIn automatically asks the recipient o
e original recommendation if they want to make a recommendation for the person who
your customer, colleague, etc. does not have a LinkedIn account and sends a favorable
mail, letter, note, etc. that would serve as a good testimonial, there are other ways to
st the material on LinkedIn.
ere are three examples:
Use Box.net. Create a folder called “Customer Recommendations.” Scan the e-mail,
letter, note, etc. to create a .pdf. Upload it to the folder.
Use Box.net. Create a folder called “Audio Recommendations.” Upload your audio file
to the folder.
Use SlideShare.net. Create a slideshow using Microsoft Publisher, Microsoft PowerPoin
or similar software. Include the text, customer identification, information, and a phot
of the property.
efore you use these methods, always ask the customer for permission to use t
commendation on LinkedIn and in your marketing materials.
arting in March, 2009, LinkedIn is no longer just for individuals and their personal pro-
es. It also includes company profiles. Although the jury is still out, this may be a very
eful tool for real estate professionals—particularly real estate agents who specialize in
cation services. With this new tool, you can more easily identify decision makers who a
or out of your network. Here is a sample company profile for Brown Shoe Company in
. Louis, Missouri:
e Company Profile is broken into three major parts: Company Summary, Employees o
nkedIn, and Corporate Statistics. The Employees on LinkedIn includes is further broke
wn into three interesting categories:
People in Your Network
Promotions and Changes
ith this new tool from LinkedIn, it becomes easier to track relocation patterns and coul
ssibly be used to identify key decision makers in the hiring, human resources and reloc
on area, which is one of the stronger areas in today’s market. It also identifies people
ho have been recently hired, which could be used as a lead generation tool.
ou are a large company or a publicly traded company, your company profile has likely
dy been created from data compiled from LinkedIn, Capital IQ, and Business Weekly. F
aller real estate companies, you have to add your company profile to LinkedIn. Here ar
p 1—Click on Search Companies on
p 2—Click on Add Company
p 3—Enter Verification Info Step 4—Enter Company Info
fore you join and start using LinkedIn groups, it is important to understand the Linke
oup dynamic. Until you understand the group dynamic, LinkedIn groups can be an inh
able place for “pure” marketing and advertising activities. That is, your repetitive a
f-serving group discussions like posting listings or requests for referrals will fall on d
rs (or more accurately blind eyes).
twithstanding this fact, LinkedIn groups can be a very good and effective marketing to
e key to using LinkedIn groups as a marketing tool is to understand the appropriate
group discussions. The success of your experience in using LinkedIn groups will depe
whether you fully understand that marketing on social networking sites starts with bu
til group members know you and understand and appreciate your opinions and adv
u may find LinkedIn groups to be a waste of time in developing new business opportu
s and leads. When you participate in group discussions, you render assistance. Wh
u render assistance, you develop relationships. Simply put, until you care about othe
ey won’t care about you or your business. Relationships are what ultimately will as
u in generating new business opportunities, referrals and leads.
Step 1—Define Your Purpose for Joining a Group. Before you join a discussion
group on LinkedIn, first define why you want to join the group. Here are some com-
mon business reasons to join a group:
Use as a research tool to obtain information on industry related issues or your
Use as a training tool to learn how to effectively use new technologies in the
marketing and sale of homes.
Use as a marketing tool to general new leads for your real estate or consulting
Use as an advertising tool to expose your listings or real estate services to the
broadest possible audience.
Use as a networking tool to develop business opportunities by identifying stra-
tegic partners and establishing a referral network.
Use as a personal branding tool to develop a market niche or area of speciali-
zation and to establish your credentials or expertise.
p 2—Identify Groups that Further Your Purpose for Joining a Group. After defin
purposes for joining a LinkedIn group, next identify LinkedIn Groups that are consiste
the identified purposes. Here are some common categories:
Education, Fraternal, and Charitable Groups: Identify groups that allow you t
establish connections with current and former friends, classmates, colleagues, etc.
(e.g. college alumni associations, fraternal organizations, civic groups, etc.) The
groups are good for reconnecting with people who already know you.
Personal Interest Groups: Identify groups that have members who have simila
interests as you. (e.g. cooking, food and wine, travel, sports, etc.) These groups
good because you already have a common bond with these people.
Geographic Groups: Given that real estate is local, identify groups that are with
your geographic service areas (e.g. neighborhood associations, community groups
etc.) These groups are good for exposing your listings and services to people who
live, work, or sell in your service areas and may have an interest in your listings o
Industry Groups: Identify industry related groups for monitoring trends, addres
industry issues, or developing referral relationships. (e.g. real estate associations
landlord associations, hotel owner associations, etc.)
Target Market Groups: To generate leads, you need to be where your customer
are or likely will be. Identify groups whose members include your targeted marke
customer (e.g. medical doctors, human resource executives, students, owners, etc
p 3—Search on Keywords for Groups. Before you join a group, use the LinkedIn se
groups using keywords. By using on relevant keywords, you will be using the same sea
hods used by most of your targeted customer market to locate groups to join.
p 4—Research the Group. Before you join a group, do some basic research on the gr
oining and then looking at the group. Here are some criteria for measuring the usefuln
Members: Before you join a group, take a look at the number of members. Sma
groups can be ineffective. After looking at the size of the group, take a look at the
member list. Look for groups that have members from your geographic service ar
industry, or targeted customer market.
Discussions: Before you join a group, look for groups with active discussions.
Groups that only have sporadic posts can be ineffective. After looking at the quan
of posts, read some of the posts and assess the quality of the posts. Discussion
groups that only have self-promotion posts are ineffective. Similarly, discussion
groups that have discussions with few comments on each post are ineffective. If t
discussion are simply “link to me” or “buy my product”, then it may not further yo
goals for joining.
Terms of Service/Discussion Rules: Read the purpose of the groups including
discussion posting guidelines or rules. Some groups have strict moderator enforce
rules on self-promotion. Others have no or little moderation. Groups with onerou
terms may not further your business purpose. Similarly, groups with no moderati
may not lead to productive discussions.
Competitors: If you need assistance in selecting relevant LinkedIn groups, take
look at the groups on the profile of your competitors. Often, you will identify grou
that are relevant to your business.
ep 5—Join a Group. LinkedIn allows you to join 50 LinkedIn groups. After joining th
oup, review your group settings. You will have the option to include the group logo o
ur profile. The groups that you show on your LinkedIn profile will either support or de
act from your intended area of expertise. If the number of groups is diverse or exce
ve, it will weaken your focus and credibility as a specialist with a particular area of ex
rtise so choose relevant, non-controversial groups.
osting an Introduction
efore you start posting comments or discussions, first post an introduction that de-
ribes your background, education, experience or service areas and explains why you
ned the group.
hen posting a discussion, you must first decide which group is an appropriate forum for
e question. After selecting the forum, craft a headline that is both clear and concise
d calculated to attract attention. Avoid self-promotion in your subject header. Use the
cond box to provide the details or facts applicable to your post.
ter you have posted a discussion, participate in the discussion. It can be as simple as
arifying the facts applicable to the post, replying to or even debating comments, thank-
g the person for posting, etc. The goals are to: (1) participate, encourage and guide
e discussion, (2) engage people who are posting comments in discussion, and (3) es-
blish your expertise in a particular niche or area of specialization.
hen you have a good discussion with a person, send an invitation to connect. Keep in
gular contact with the person and periodically ask about their business or how you can
lp the person. If and when appropriate, move the networking from the virtual world to
efore your post a comment, consider the following: (1) Is the comment or subject ma
r of the question consistent with the professional image that I desire to establish? (2)
the comment thoughtfully (or superficially) answered? That is, does the comment add
lue to the discussion and assist the reader? (3) Does the comment further your direc
indirect goals? (4) Is the comment appropriate to the group and responsive to the
hen posting news articles, first consider whether the article is relevant to the group and
informative. If it is an advertisement such as a new listing, then label it as such.
you want to distribute your blog posts as new items to your LinkedIn connec-
ns or to your LinkedIn groups? Do you want to allow your readers to share yo
g posts as news to their LinkedIn connections or to their LinkedIn groups?
ou answered “Yes”, then you may want to start including the Share on LinkedIn widget
on your blog posts. After inserting the link, you or your readers can then send the blo
t to your respective LinkedIn connections or to your LinkedIn groups as a news item.
1— You write a great blog post. Your blog readers read the post and want to share it
their LinkedIn connections or their LinkedIn groups.
2—At this point, there are three main options to distribute the blog post.
Option 1—Your reader can send a status update with a link to your blog post.
Option 2—Your reader can go to their groups, click on the news tab, click on new
news item, and then manually type in the title, URL, the first 250 words, and then
source for your blog. For each group, the process must be repeated.
Option 3—You save your readers the time, effort and hassle by providing them wi
the Share on LinkedIn link. Now, if you want to attract new readers, you will want
select this option. It really is about making it easy for your readers to distribute or
share your content with their LinkedIn network.
3—Your reader clicks on the Share on LinkedIn link. If they are not logged into Linked
will be taken to the log-in screen. If they are logged in and if you have set up Share o
dIn link with all of the required information, they will then go to the distribution screen
u have omitted information, they will be requested to provide the additional information
URL, title, summary, and source).
4—When your reader gets to the distribution screen, your reader will have the option
the blog post to their LinkedIn connections, to all of their LinkedIn groups, or to specif
5—With one click, your blog post is disseminated to their LinkedIn connections and to
fied LinkedIn groups.
e Master Code:
e Input Items or Parameters:
i 4 Must always be true
The permanent link to the article. Must be URL en
e 200 The title of the article. Must be URL encoded
The source of the article. Must be URL encoded. E
ample: Wired Magazine
A brief summary of the article. Must be URL en-
mmary 256 coded. Longer titles will be truncated gracefully wi
w comes the easy part, right? Write the code. What? You have never written code. S
have—and it is easy. Let’s take it step by step. Using this blog post as an example.
Share on LinkedIn Widget
Note: Parameters must be written as encoded URL. Copy your text
paste the parameters into an encoding program like:
ep 5-Coding http://www.w3schools.com/TAGS/ref_urlencode.asp to obtain the U
encoded text to insert into the link code.
ep 6-Insert Link into Blog Post Step 7-Paste Code
Click on Share on LinkedIn l
below to see how the finish
this widget works.
u want to promote your LinkedIn profile using a badge for your website or blog, right?
u go to LinkedIn and can’t find any information. You search on Google for “LinkedIn
adges” and are directed to go to your LinkedIn profile and look for a link labeled
romote Your Profile.” So I followed the instructions—guess what? I didn’t find it.
ep 1— Enter this URL into your browser: http://www.linkedin.com/profile?
ep 2—Select the badge style.
ep 3—Cut and paste the code into your website or blog.
ep 4—Review and adjust your privacy setting for your public profile. The privacy set-
ngs for your public profile control what information is shown when a person click on the
ew your profile link.
ption 1— PopUp Profile: Use name in text and then have the LinkedIn Logo next to
me. Click on name and public profile pops up for viewing.
a class="linkedin-profileinsider-popup" href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/
anshaughnessy">Ryan Shaughnessy </a>  is a principal of PREA
gnature Realty who is currently working on a LinkedIn presentation for his
ext blog post.
ption 2— In-Line Profile: Public profile in summary form automatically appears
hen the page is loaded.
a class="linkedin-profileinsider-inline" href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to
get this code to work on my ActiveRain
The code does work on Blogger and
other blogging platforms that accept
al estate sales, it is important to develop a referral business. Although we have talked about th
nce of status updates, customer testimonials, etc., in past posts, it is important to leverage ou
on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a good tool for reference selling.
the past 10 years, I have been asked to place telephone calls, provide mailing lists, and send
on behalf of service providers to my sphere of influence. I have always refused because I
methods either to be too intrusive or too much of an imposition on people within my sphere
ce. However, I have always been willing to make introductions to specific people or to make re
ations and referrals to service providers where someone has expressed an interest or need.
dIn solves many of my concerns because no personal information is shared except the inform
he person has placed on his or her profile and the referral is generally passive. That is, the p
g the status update, discussion post, introduction, etc. has the option to ignore the informat
and request more information.
r goal is to develop a referral only business with no more floor time, no more prospecting, no
ssing neighborhoods, etc., then using LinkedIn for referrals and reference selling may assist y
ve this goal.
— Expand Your Network. Make a list of possible connections including current and former custo
e providers, other real estate agents, etc. that have involved in a sales transaction with you. Expan
rk to include these people.
— Send Out Self-Promotion Status Reports. Post periodic status updates that describe your spec
aphic service areas, professional designations, current projects, etc. as well as describing your success s
phere of influence is only useful for referrals if they know your practice areas—including areas of expe
ur success stories.
3 — Seek Direct Referrals from Customers. Depending on your relationship with your customer, ask
d a status update to their network describing their satisfaction with your services. Look at connecti
ustomer’s LinkedIn networks who might be possible referral services or might be in need of your service
— Ask for Testimonials. Always ask for a testimonial from a customer. Testimonials build instant
with prospects who know your current or former customers.
— Seek Introductions from Customers. After a successful sales transaction, look to see if you
is on LinkedIn. If so, take a look at their connections. There may be opportunities to obtain referral
ustomers. Here are some possible referral sources:
Connections in particular professions — divorce lawyers, probate lawyers, accountants with high
or real estate investor clients, HR professionals, recruiters, physicians who work in a hospital settin
medical residents, etc.
Connections with particular companies — mergers, acquisition, corporate training programs and
layoffs may present an opportunity whether it is temporary corporate housing or relocations.
Connections to fraternal or civic organizations.
Need to flesh out an advertising or marketing concept? Need to test the possible de
mand for a new service? Need some technical expertise to implement a new busines
program or idea? Just ask… Use LinkedIn for surveys, polls, Q&A, requests for assis
ance, and much more.
Step 1 — Conduct a Survey or Virtual Focus Group. Whether you want to test the
waters, improve a current program or service, or judge the demand for a service
LinkedIn has a number of tools. Here are a few examples:
Take a poll of the connections in your LinkedIn network.
Ask the opinion of all or specific connections in your LinkedIn network.
Post a question — globally or to targeted to specific individuals such as a sur
vey of current or past customers.
Start a group discussion. Seek comments. Follow-up directly with the person
who posted a comment.
Step 2 — Ask for Technical Assistance. If you need technical assistance, market in
ormation, etc., LinkedIn has a number of tools.
Join a LinkedIn group where you might find the person with the technical ex
pertise, a person in the targeted audience, etc. Start a discussion on the “how
to” aspect of implementing the new program or service.
Post a question and start receiving answers to general “how to” or other tech
Seek out either people with technical expertise or people who are within the
targeted audience using the “people search” feature.
Step 3 — Forge Partnerships to Develop New Ideas. There is no reason to recre
ate the wheel. Often, another person is performing similar research or working on
similar projects. Often, LinkedIn groups present opportunities not only to seek advic
but also to share research and forge joint partnerships. This is especially true in th
eal estate field. If you are in Missouri working on a project to develop a new market
ng campaign and another Realtor is working in Arizona, it is unlikely that you are com
petitors. If you aren’t competitors, then it may be opportunity to seek out a partner to
ointly tackle a project.
Before you do any of these steps, you must first examine what is and is not confidentia
or proprietary. You don’t want to announce a great concept to your competition. It i
up to you to judge how much information to share and with whom.
Need another tool to dissemination information and other content? With your profile
you can set up a forum for disseminating information—resume, status updates, powe
point and other slide presentations, downloadable forms, links to other sites and much
tep 1 — Setting Up Your Profile
tep 2 — Adding Content such as blog posts, presentations and downloadable files.
Step 3 — Adding Recommendations and Testimonials
Step 4 — Adding Your Company Profile
Step 5 — LinkedIn Widget for Distribution of Blog Posts
tep 6 — Promoting Your LinkedIn Profile Using Badges
For a free site, LinkedIn can be used as an agent website. Use your LinkedIn profile to
create a partial solution. No programming knowledge or experience required.
Generate leads and develop new business by establishing your expertise or specialty
Start conversation by providing assistance. By participating, you become a leader in
p 1—Build your Network. Start by focusing on connections in your industry, in grou
resenting your target audience or your geographical service area.
p 2 — Build Relationships. After you send an invite or after you accept an invitation
d a personal invitation with bullet points describing your background, experience, profe
nal interests, etc. Ask questions about your connections industry. Identify other ways
nect online such as blogs, e-newsletters, forums, websites, etc.
p 3—Update Your Profile. Consistently update your profile so that it highlights your
cation, experience and professional accomplishments that are designed to generate ne
ds from your target audience.
p 4—Update Your Links. Periodically update your links on your profile to include you
mpany website, personal website and blog.
p 5—Write a White Paper. Post questions and start group discussions to collect info
ion on industry topics. Publish blog posts on your LinkedIn or other social networking
p 6—Q&A. Answer questions in your field to establish your knowledge or experience i
r field. Focus on complete and insightful answers or commentary to obtain top ratings
p 7—Industry Groups. Join groups in your industry as well as related fields. For exa
if you are a Realtor, join a developer group, title group, lender group, affordable hous
p 8—Websites and Blog Posts. Publicize your LinkedIn profile using badges. Post b
ries describing your LinkedIn experience. Cross-market your website and blog with you
ked profile. Include a LinkedIn badge or link in all e-mails. On blog comments, redirec
m to LinkedIn or your website and vice versa.
p 9—Obtain Expert Recommendations. Secure recommendations from third partie
an expert from persons posting or answering Q&A. Ask other LinkedIn members that y
st or with whom you have shared insights to make such a recommendation.
dIn is the Mecca for recruiters. It is fundamentally designed for recruiting. What is b
having the ability to advertise “jobs” on LinkedIn or post “jobs” on LinkedIn group p
ever, it isn’t just the features that make LinkedIn a good recruiting tool. It is also the
act that LinkedIn is built on the online resumes of its members. In addition, it isn’
t advertising a position or being in the right place (ie. where job seekers are online).
about the connections and relationships that you develop. Lateral hiring is commo
D ADVERTISING—SINGLE POST
1—Click on Jobs Tab. Click on Post a Job.
2—Enter the job details.
3—Set your privacy and other job search management settings.
4—Preview your advertisement.
5—Pay for the ad—$195.00 for 30 days.
E PLACEMENT—POSTING TO GROUPS
1— Send out a status update announcing a new position. Link to the job details.
2—Go to your LinkedIn groups. Click on the Jobs tab.
3—Post the job. If you have never written an advertisement for a job, look at the con
ired to post a paid advertisement for a position..
1—Search using the Find People search tool. Type in your key words for the position.
ew the results for possible lateral hires.
2—Participate in groups. If someone strikes you as a good candidate or if they have t
e approach or business philosophy as you, start a conversation to see if there is interes
LinkedIn is a great research tool. When you are working with a prospect, LinkedIn pro
vides valuable information, including interests, education, employment information
etc.. For example, I had a very good showing with a prospect. I searched on her nam
n several social networks and found a number of connections that we hadn’t discussed
such as her alma mater (which happens to be mine). LinkedIn provided me with addi
ional information to build upon the connection and develop a better relationship based
on common experiences and interests. With LinkedIn, cold calling is dead. You now
have information at your finger tips that makes that telephone call, e-mail, persona
note, etc. feel more like a “warm call” and not an intrusive “cold call.”
Step 1—Search for a person using the search for people feature on LinkedIn.
Step 2—Read the person’s profile.
Step 3—Develop a “selling” strategy based on the person’s profile.
Step 4—Invite the person to connect to your LinkedIn network.
Step 5—Read the status updates. It is amazing how many leads are generated simply
by reading your network’s status updates and saying “congratulation on your retire
ment…” followed later by “now is the time to downsize…” or “congratulations on the ad
dition to the family” followed by “I have a great home in xxx near the park for a grow
Step 6—Use the information to your advantage. Some random ideas on the use of thi
Use employment location to sell to a prospect based on location of the home.
Read status reports to develop potential leads from existing customers or peo
ple already within your sphere of influence.
Review testimonials to gain insights on customer satisfaction for suppliers o
Use the information to “break the ice” at a meeting or other event. Refer to a
blog post, book they are reading, common connections, etc. LinkedIn infor
mation is a great “small talk” starter.
Use the information to enhance your follow-up after a networking or othe
event. Ask for information. Offer assistance. Build on the relationship.
Use status reports as a refresher on “current happenings” with people in you
Thought leaders are recognized by their peers for developing and promoting innovative
deas and by the general public as someone who understands their industry, the needs
of their customers, and the housing market generally. When you attain the status of a
thought leader”, you will find that people bring you business opportunities. It is the
point where you are asked to serve as opposed to volunteering and where you are
asked to participate in business opportunities as opposed to developing business oppor
unities on your own. LinkedIn groups are a great way to develop or enhance your
status as a thought leader.
Step 1—Participate in existing groups. Focus on national groups. Become a
LinkedIn expert (as described in a prior post).
Step 2—Create a smaller subset of the existing group. For example, if you are in
volved in a Green Realtor Group, start a Missouri Green Realtor Group or St. Loui
Green Realtor Group. The best approach is to avoid duplicative groups, to focus on
niche, and to focus on the keywords that will attract new members. LinkedIn Group
can sometime be like the great land rush with claims being made to a territory—jus
make sure you’re a claiming prime real estate as opposed to swampland.
Step 3—Create a content or benefit for joining the new group. For example
ake national trends and create the local story or angle to the national trend.
Step 4—Actively promote the group. Consult the moderator of the existing group
Determine whether there is an affiliation opportunity to promote the new group as
subset of the larger group. Mention the new group in posts. Invite your connections to
he new group. Use the search feature to identify people who might be interested in
he new group and send out invitations. Encourage members of the group to invite th
members of their networks to join.
Step 5—Encourage discussions within the new group. Post starter conversations
Consider pulling hot topics from more established groups. If people are reluctant to
post, send group members suggestions on what to post.
Step 6—Build mass—both in terms of content and members. Start slow and fo
cus on steady development. Also, there is a tendency to run before you walk. There i
nothing worse than an inactive group with little or no discussions. Just like any mar
keting activity, you get out of it what you put into it.
Step 7—Provide recognition to active members. Use featured discussions and re
caps to recognize members and good discussions. Share the group moderator with ac
ive or established group members.