10 WAYS TO USE LINKEDIN IN THE PROPERTY INDUSTRY
There are over 385,000 registered LinkedIn members working in the property industry in the UK, and as the world’s largest business community; LinkedIn is turning the traditional business development and networking model on its head.
It’s streamlined, targeted, continual and extremely effective.
But there are surprisingly few in the property industry that have a full understanding of what they can leverage for themselves and their business from the most powerful business tool of late.
How does LinkedIn work for the property Industry?
LinkedIn works on the principle that the more contacts you link with the wider your network and access to this living, breathing database becomes. Put simply the more active you are the more chance you stand to benefit.
In 2013, 65% of B2B companies acquired customers through LinkedIn alone. The property industry thrives on networking and, as people are tuning out the sales calls, emails and the hard sale relationships matter more than ever. If you are looking to stay marketable, maintain and expand your networks and connections, grow your business and keep up to date with the property industry you need to be visible on LinkedIn.
1. Your profile is your first impression..
The priority is to ensure you are visible to prospective clients searching for your services and skills. The summary section of your profile is scanned by search engines for keywords to match these searches. This means you must optimise your summary to include keywords that you think your prospects might search. If you are a Valuation Surveyor, Asset Manager or an Estate Agent ensure your summary states this and any qualifications or skills associated with your profession. Consider what your prospective client might search for to find your company or your profile and write your summary accordingly.
More often than not people will search for you online before they meet offline, meaning their first impressions begin with your profile. Ensure your profile appears when they search for you by customising your profile url to your name. Additionally this will make it an easier url to remember and share.
Your profile can help drive traffic to your website. Include your company’s website in your contact information. Selecting “Other” in the drop down list will allow you to name the link as your company’s name:
Always include a professional image to reflect how you and your company want to be portrayed. Profiles without images are less likely to be noticed or trusted, raising a red flag to potential prospects who may think you have something to hide or are not up to date in business and technology.
Ask for endorsements and recommendations and make sure you return the favour. Word of mouth has always been the most powerful marketing tool. People are more likely to trust companies and individuals if they read positive reviews on social media.
2. Market yourself internationally…
The UK property market is reliant on foreign investment and if you work in property it invariably means you or your company need to be visible internationally. This is often much harder than it seems with language barriers and restrictions with some foreign search engines. Social media platforms, particularly LinkedIn invest heavily in their global presence and this can help you to penetrate global markets and build your profile internationally.
Once you have created and optimised your profile you can then create it in different languages.
On your profile hover over the arrow next to the Edit button. A drop down menu will appear:
Select – “Create profile in another language”. Fill in the fields ensuring the “Headline” includes keywords that international prospects might search.
3. Engage with your contacts and network…
LinkedIn recently surveyed their members and found 50% are more likely to buy or use a company they have engaged with on LinkedIn.
People use LinkedIn to help further their career and business, which means their mind-set when they are logged in is that they want to engage and connect. They want to appear active and grow their network. 10 years ago your only means of a foot in the door was a cold call or sales email now you can link with them, which has mutual benefits. This simple engagement raises awareness of you and your company without any commitment or intrusion on their time.
When you add a connection always try to introduce yourself and your reason for connecting. Don’t expect them to connect without a reason. This introduction can help spark a conversation.
Engage with their content by liking or sharing their posts and news. This will show your support and interest in their activities. Don’t go overboard it must be genuine.
4. Become a thought leader…
You no longer have to be an accomplished public speaker to become a thought leader in the property industry.
Join relevant property discussions and news groups and provide your insights and opinions. Don’t bombard them with links back to your website as this will make you a spammer. Use groups to learn more about your target market, keep up to date with the latest industry news and concerns. Aim to become a visible resource, a value adding contributor and in time a thought leader. Relevant participation is much the same as contributing to a seminar or discussion; it’s a way of building yours and your company’s reputation.
The main topics in the groups will be sent to the members as an alert email to highlight the discussions. This is a very effective way of increasing awareness of you and your company to members outside your network.
5. Carry out effective and targeted lead generation…
LinkedIn has an advanced search tool, which is invaluable for finding leads and deciding which companies to target. This can help you identify the decision makers within organisations to ensure you are contacting the right people from the outset.
If you have previously purchased lists to target prospects by letter, direct mail or email now you can use LinkedIn’s sponsored Inmail facility. Although it does cost money it is more targeted and up to date than purchasing a list. You can include your companies branding and links to your website. The Inmails are tracked to measure the success of the campaign. Simply fill in the criteria of your target market and LinkedIn will build the list for you. The messages will be delivered to their LinkedIn inboxes.
6. Preparing for a meeting…
Before you meet with anyone new get into the habit of checking their LinkedIn profile first. From shared connections and interests to growing up in the same area, a mutual background can be extremely powerful. It is now common practice to mention that you noticed this related information on LinkedIn during the meeting, which can help to break the ice.
7. Getting the most out of an event…
Before an event make sure you become first level connections with the event coordinator as this will then open up your network to many of the other delegates.
Look for a group or discussion related to the event and become a member. This will help keep you notified of the topics and discussions prior to the event and to see who will be attending. If there are any target prospects making contributions to the discussions take note of these as this can be a useful conversation starter for when you meet at the event.
Additionally you can post in the group discussion section that you are going to the event and invite other members to meet you there. By being in the same group you can invite and Inmail other members without having to be connected to them.
8. Organise your contacts…
You can now organise your contacts into manageable groups by tagging. Tags are simple keywords to help organise and sort your contacts. They can be added from your Network page or a person’s profile.
From your Network on each contact you will see Tag next to Message:
From here you can either select an existing tag or select Add New Tags to create a new group. You can create up to 200 new and unique tags.
The tag will be visible to you on the person’s contact information and on their profile. You can click the tag in these areas to see all other profiles with the same tag. Only you will see the tags you’ve created.
9. Add all your new contacts automatically…
Evernote the note taking app has team up with LinkedIn. Users can now link their Evernote account with their LinkedIn profile. The best feature from this integration is the business card ap from Evernote. Simply take a picture of the business card and Evernote will transform a contact entry from the image and automatically add this to your LinkedIn account, giving you the choice to add this contact to your network whilst saving their contact information in Evernote.
10. Share industry news and press coverage about your company…
You can share articles and content such as slides and videos on LinkedIn. Done properly, posting articles and content from newspapers, magazines, or blogs and sharing them with clients, prospective clients, and business associates with an accompanying note of why you shared it with them has always been an effective networking tool. It is also a good way of making your network aware of your company’s latest activities if you receive any press coverage.
At the top of the homepage next to your profile picture is the Share and Update box. If you are sharing news from a website copy and paste the website page address in the white box. To attach a file select the paperclip in the right hand corner.
For a link wait a few seconds and the details and image from the page will appear. You can edit the title and subtitle and select to share with your contacts or the public:
For more advice on networking and your property career visit www.deverellsmith.com