If you’re a real estate agent, agency principal or franchisee, LinkedIn has few rivals in social media when it comes to building your personal and business brand. In a premium context, you can shine through with your own particular real estate niche, and build a large professional following – both online and offline.
Hands up who’s using LinkedIn?
Right now, if you’re a real estate agent, you have a fantastic opportunity to dominate this social media platform, because the agents that are using it well are few and far between.
I caught up with Travis May, Enterprise Account Director at LinkedIn (a friend of mine who was a real estate advertising exec in a past life), to better understand how real estate agents can leverage the virtues of LinkedIn. Travis recommends that you need to ‘own’ your chosen real estate niche, be perceived as a thought leader, and publish high-quality content on LinkedIn’s newsfeed and through their publishing tool called Pulse.
According to Travis. LinkedIn has multiple benefits, not least of which is that your clients go to LinkedIn to find content they trust. Aim to dominate your niche and you may find journalists knocking at your door for comment! And, once their opinion pieces go wider you’ve amplified your reach.
On LinkedIn, you’ll be marketing yourself or your real estate business to the decision makers and influencers who matter – and you have a huge opportunity to gain massive organic growth – but this situation may not last. As more people learn how to maximise their time on LinkedIn, the window of opportunity is closing. So be first to stake your claim as an expert in your field; be it residential, commercial, or new development sales for your geographic locale.
“Take advantage of LinkedIn now while social media conditions are optimum and your niche area of expertise remains unclaimed.”
But first, you need to understand how to do this, and why people spend time on LinkedIn.
According to Travis, “We’ve learned through research that users come to LinkedIn not to spend time (as Facebook users do) but to invest time. Their needs are different: they’re looking for information, education, industry trends, ways to improve their skills.”
Travis adds that “Above all, they want to be inspired.”
It’s up to you to give potential clients high-value information that can benefit them in some way.
How real estate principals, agents and franchise businesses can use LinkedIn
As a professional social media platform, LinkedIn has no equal. Real estate business owners, individual selling agents, boutique agencies, franchisees and networks can all benefit from the high quality of connections and traffic LinkedIn offers.
So where do you begin to take advantage of all that the LinkedIn platform has to offer?
Let’s start with the basics:
LinkedIn for agency partners and principals
- Your LinkedIn profile is up to date.
- Your Company page on LinkedIn is compelling.
- Your team members all have up-to-date and relevant LinkedIn profiles. (It’s vital that all the members of your team have a solid LinkedIn presence, as everything they do online adds to your visibility and credibility).
- All your team member profiles have a link to your company website and LinkedIn Company page.
- You highlight your niche market.
- You publish evergreen content about your agency’s expertise regularly.
This is where we come in at Hoole.co. We can get you set up correctly on LinkedIn with great profiles and company pages. We can also publish informative articles for you on a regular basis. Get in touch with us to discuss our social media profile package.
LinkedIn for real estate agents
- Your profile is up to date and highlights your key strengths, experience, and any awards you’ve won.
- You include a link to your own profile on your agency website.
- You include links to your social media pages.
- You share content relevant to your geographic area of focus.
- You publish selling and buying advice to the Pulse.
Real estate franchises and independent real estate networks
Make sure that:
- Your Linkedin company page is up to date and posts regular company updates.
- All franchisees and their agents link to your company page on LinkedIn.
- Franchisees and their agents understand how to help promote corporate content through Shares and Comments.
Now it’s time to create more value.
Connect, connect, connect
It doesn’t matter how good your profiles are if no one sees them. And it doesn’t matter how high quality your posts are if nobody is reading them.
Whether you’re a real estate agency principal, a real estate agent or a real estate franchise or boutique agency, you need to make those connections.
When you’re building connections, quality is more important than quantity.
As Travis remarked, “If you’re putting out quality content, scale doesn’t matter so much.”
Those people you met at the open homes on Saturday… follow them up with a phone call or via email, then search for them on LinkedIn and connect with them.
You could send a personal message to each person with whom you connect. It’s a softer approach and one that works well with both new connections and old.
Travis adds, “Whatever you do, think how you’d behave offline. If it’s appropriate there, then it’s appropriate when you’re connecting with people online.”
Create high-value content
Whether you’re an individual real estate agent or a major real estate franchise, every piece of content you publish to LinkedIn should be as cutting edge as you can make it, concise, and inspirational.
You can’t treat content creation for LinkedIn the same as you would for other social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. While a friendly and informal post about the office birthday party will get high engagement on a platform like Facebook, in the professional context of LinkedIn, the same post will be passed by with little interest.
Concentrate on your strength or niche, and post educational and informative articles that demonstrate your expertise and that also tell your audience something they didn’t know.
Consider educational posts that cover topics such as:
- Economic updates about your particular market, be that the type of properties you sell or the geographic area that you sell within.
- Trends in the way properties are now marketed, to help demonstrate your knowledge is at the cutting edge; for example, you might discuss the use of virtual reality and augmented reality and how they affect your niche.
- Discuss disruptive technologies with your peers in real estate and how they could improve productivity and the bottom line.
- Analyse overseas real estate trends and how they might translate to the Australian or New Zealand market.
Remember that you’re talking to your peers in the industry as well as potential buyers and sellers. Everything you publish needs to be high-value content that educates or inspires.
It’s fine to share others’ content, but do so sparingly, and ensure it’s contextually relevant to your area of expertise.
If it’s great content, your network still benefits, and your readers can see and understand what interests you. It all helps them to get to know you better.
Publishing your content: LinkedIn news feed or Pulse?
If you’re looking to publish that brilliant thought leadership article, the LinkedIn team recommends publishing to Pulse.
When LinkedIn first began, Pulse was reserved for influencers, the likes of Bill Gates and Richard Branson. Now the LinkedIn Influencers List is open to everyone, but the bar has been set high, so keep your best content for Pulse.
For other more locally relevant content, posting content from your own website into the news feed is fine. You’ll engage with your network, they’ll get a better idea of your expertise, and over time they’ll come to rely on you as a trusted source. (We know this as influencer marketing.)
LinkedIn is the social media platform for conversing with your high-income earning audience – the kind of people you want to see your brand, and it keeps you top of mind.
You won’t get people looking for real estate listings on LinkedIn. Promoting your property listings is more suited to the property portal websites and now Facebook audiences that you grow and nurture yourself.
However, on LinkedIn, you will get potential home sellers and buyers looking to learn about real estate.
The more often you can put a piece of content in front of them that potential home sellers find useful, valuable or inspiring, the longer you’ll stay top of mind. Also, studies suggest that the earlier you can engage with your target audience as they embark on their property purchase journey, the more likely you are to gain a sale from them.
When your audience is in the market to sell a property, they’ve already seen what you do and how you do it. You’re familiar and they’ll likely get in touch with you rather than an unknown quantity.
So don’t discount LinkedIn just yet – it’s a valuable and unappreciated social media platform for real estate principals, selling agents and franchises. Jump in to take advantage of this platform’s strengths to dominate your niche before your particular field of expertise becomes too crowded.