How to Jump-start your social networking with LinkedIn

I mentioned a bit ago that I’m taking part in a CB education event in a few weeks. One of the things I agreed to do was to mentor two real estate agents in how they can get the most out of social networking. However, good social networking takes time… and we only have two weeks before the event!

With only two weeks, I’m recommending that they start with LinkedIn. My guess is that for people just stepping their toes in online marketing, this is probably the area where they get some impact in a few weeks.

With that intro, here are the 10 steps for real estate professionals to get the most out of LinkedIn in a short time period!

1) Set up a profile! (I sent an invite to the two agents, but even if you don’t have an invite, setting up a profile is pretty straightforward. However, signing up is just the beginning. Next, you’ll need to fill in your profile.
2) Get detailed. Describe your previous work experience in great detail! Treat this like a resume that is not limited to one page. Fill in your websites and/or blog link so people can find more information out about you. Add a photo. Etc. Simply fill in as much as you possibly can!

3) Upload your address book. Whether you keep this on Outlook or a web-based email, upload ALL your contacts. If you keep your contacts in multiple databases, upload them all! Don’t worry about duplicates at this point, LinkedIn takes care of that.

4) Connect to everyone on your contact database who already has a LinkedIn profile. You can either do this in bulk or one at a time. My recommendation is to do it in batches.

  • Batch 1: Everyone who will know you well when they receive the invite request from you. These people can receive a pretty generic email and since they already have a LinkedIn account, your success rate will be pretty high
  • Batch 2: Everyone else deserves a personalized invitation. It’s worth the extra effort to remind each person where you met them. My guess is that your success rate for getting people to accept your invitation will more than double if you remind them where you met. Past clients are critical at this stage! By the way, a personalized invitation will go a long way to setting you up for step 8.

5) Connect with individuals who do not already have a LinkedIn profile. I use this sparingly because my success rate of getting someone to join LinkedIn is pretty low. However, if done right each new member will thank you after they join up! Personally, I’d focus on tech-savvy clients who might have an account under a different email address. However, if you want to find success at this step, it is critical to personalize each invitation.

6) As contacts start joining up, check out their contact list to see if you recognize any names. I’ve given a few seminars in the LA area and have hundreds of local real estate professionals. Look though my contact list and see if you recognize any names! If so, connect with those people!

7) Search for people at your colleges/previous employers that you recognize. This is quite easy to do on the service and I’ve actually caught up with a bunch of Berkeley classmates that I had lost touch with thanks to LinkedIn!

8) Seek recommendations from past clients/business partners. The MOST successful way to get recommendation from someone else is to FIRST recommend them! Go ahead and recommend some of the business partners that you’ve worked with and liked in the past (mortgage, legal, title, stagers, etc.). The best recommendations come unsolicited, so give a recommendation and wait a few days. Assuming you want to step up the pressure a bit, go ahead and request the recommendation from people you’re positive have liked working with you in the past (and/or people who owe you a big favor!). 🙂

9) Get active on the Q&A section of LinkedIn. Really active! Educate consumers who are asking real estate related questions. Also get creative with the questions you ask. Go ahead and ask if these 10 steps are smart advice. 😉 Ask mortgage questions, title questions. Ask questions that show you have some insight into a local market. Ask potential consumers what type of information they feel is missing from the world of online real estate. I honestly don’t know what type of questions will resonate best with the LinkedIn community, so read what others are doing and see what works. Most importantly: experiment!

10) Promote your LinkedIn profile! Add it to your websites. Add it to the signature of your emails. Here’s mine: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dustinluther . There’s lots of buttons and “bling” that LinkedIn offers to promote your profile, but a simple link is often the best! 😉

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Dustin Luther

Current lead up the team managing Brand and Influencer Engagement programs for Dun & Bradstreet. You can find me on Twitter (@tyr) or LinkedIn (DustinLuther)

7 thoughts on “How to Jump-start your social networking with LinkedIn”

  1. Question,

    So when you are adding a person. Say a commenter on your blog and you haven’t met them but have had an email conversation with them. What do you specify “How you know them”

  2. Loren, great question!

    For me, I have “founder at Rain City Guide” as one of my “positions”, so it is trivial for me to say they are a “business connection” and then use my RCG information. For people who don’t list their blog as a position on LinkedIn, I’m not sure how they would handle that. Any ideas?

  3. Dustin, this is a great explaination on how to use/develop connections on LinkedIn. I have been “shy” about contacting people as I have not been sure about the protocol to do it, so thanks! Of course thanks again for sending me an invitation a while back!

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