Getting more value out of your LinkedIn connections…

A few years ago, I wrote a post about how to get more value out of LinkedIn, but I really haven’t given enough love to the site since them…  And I have an idea for how to change that.  Starting this week, I’m going to start writing one recommendation each week.

I’m starting this “recommendation” project with Kris Berg because she’s one of my favorite people in the world of real estate…  (Plus she doesn’t have many recommendations on LinkedIn which is a true shame!   If you know and like her, you should stop reading this post and head over to her profile and write a recommendation for her as well!)

Why commit to writing a weekly recommendations?

I have two purposes:

  1. It’s fun.  I really do enjoy the process of complementing folks who I’ve enjoyed working with and wish I did more of it.
  2. I want to play more with LinkedIn as a sphere building tool, but don’t want to dedicate a ton of time to the project.  I’m guessing I can knock out a solid recommendation in less than 20 minutes a week.

With that said, there’s so much more to LinkedIn these days with groups, Q&A, job opportunities, etc. that I’m sure there’s much more I *could* be doing.     If you have a more effective way to use LinkedIn, please share!  😉

Lov’n Real Estate Speaking Opportunities

If you’ve ever been to one of my presentations, you probably know that one of my passions is educating audiences. I simply love everything about a presentation…  and the bigger the audience, the more fun I have!   I’ve been pretty fortunate to land some amazing opportunities including speaking at all recent Annual NAR events, all recent Real Estate Connect events and more than a few regional and brokerage events.

speakers-pageProbably the only thing I haven’t done well with my speaking is spend time reaching out to regional and state REALTOR organizations to let them know about my experience speaking about social media and blogging activities that generates business. That’s where you come help!

If you know someone looking for an experienced speaker to engage an audience around social media and/or blogging topics, please don’t hesitate to send them my way.   If they want more information, you can send them directly to my speaker’s page or my speaker’s bio that summarizes my experience in a more print-friendly form.

No surprise that my presentations have evolved over the years (anyone else remember the bloginars I used to give with Russ Cofano in the summer of ’06???).   My current favorite to give is a three-part presentation that discusses how agents can  (part 1) engage on social networks, (part 2) create a local website or “hub”, and (part 3) use their social networking activity to drive traffic to conversion points within their hub…

By the way, just a few of the speaking gigs lined up in my near future include:

If you’re going to be at any of these, I’d love to connect!

Impact of Social Media in the Luxury Market

Earlier today I got my hands on a survey that the Institute of Luxury Home Marketing (ILHM) did of their members around how they are using social networks.

institute of luxury home marketing logoOne of the reasons I really like this survey is that the number of emails and calls I get from luxury agents and brokerages has ramped up lately, and yet, I haven’t had a great source of data to at least anchor the conversation in terms of social media presence within the luxury market.  This survey will definitely help me jump-start many of those conversations.

ILHM asked their members questions like:

  • Which social networking websites do you use?
  • If you had to choose just one social networking site for the member networking group, which would it be?
  • Have you ever given or received a referral, or generated business via a social network?

The answers to these questions and more from the 473 members who responded can be found within their survey results document (PDF), but I’m gonna summarize what I think are some of the more interesting findings:

  • LinkedIn (30%) and Facebook (28%) about equally dominate the mind-share of luxury agents
  • Over 80% of the agents said they were using social networks
  • When asked where ILHM should have a member group, people were equally divided between LinkedIn and Facebook
  • 20% of respondents said they had generated business out of social networks
  • Non-real estate social networks like Twitter and MySpace didn’t register much interest, while ActiveRain was the only real estate specific site mentioned that had any real traction
  • The social networks offered by Zillow and Trulia didn’t even hit the radar on the survey.  I’m not sure if this is because agents think of Trulia and Zillow as search sites and the idea of Trulia Voices or Zillow Advice being social networks didn’t occur to them or because the agents surveyed simply aren’t using these services.

I’m a bit surprised to see Facebook register just as high as LinkedIn only because LinkedIn seems like such a natural fit for luxury agents, but with so much buzz around Facebook in the press lately, in retrospect I shouldn’t have been surprised.

I’ve been telling agents for a long time now that they should be using LinkedIn to market themselves (that article is over 2 years old already)… and that advice rings even more true in the luxury market where it seems like agents are often extremely concerned with their image.  Especially if you have years of experience, then you really have to try to look bad on LinkedIn.

And, by the way, if you’re looking for one more person to connect with on LinkedIn (or better yet recommend!), I’m always looking to connect up with interesting real estate people!

Update: I hadn’t noticed before posting, but John C’s comment prompted me to check out ILHM’s blog: Luxury Insight, where I see that they also posted information on the survey.

Simon Baker Leaving REA Group

My guess is that to more than a few of us, Simon is the face of REA Group, so it’s quite a shock to hear that he is leaving.

However, I must say that it occured to me that he might be leaving when I noticed he started collecting “recommendations” on LinkedIn recently…  He went from just a handful of recommendations to 45 in just a few days!   Quite an inspiration.

Today’s Roundtable on social networking was…

…a blast. There were so many great insights from so many different people packed into just under an hour. You can listen to the recording here:
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And thanks again to everyone who participated!

And since we talked so much about social networks, I thought I’d link to some of the places you can find me on the various social networks: LinkedIn, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, MyDealBook, RealSeekr. And if you’re interested in connecting up with other real estate professionals, feel free to leave links to your social networks in the comments!

PropertyShark team launched MyDealBook and…

pre-launch opinion was to be very skeptical.

After a conversation with Ryan Slack (former CEO of PropertyShark, now CEO of MyDealBook), I became more optimistic that he had a plan beyond starting with a mass of users.

The way I understand it, the site is kind of cross between LinkedIn and ActiveRain… but with a larger focus on the commercial real estate sector since that community is pretty underserved online (as mentioned to me by Ryan).

I’ve been playing with the site for a few minutes, and it definitely leaves me with the feeling of “what next”, but I’m not really the target market.   I’m not really looking to connect with others to make deals, but then again, I’m not sure real estate professionals are looking online for this type of community.

With that said, if you do decide to try out the system, you (apparently) need to be “connected” to at least a few people before it will give you access to some of the features (like member search), so feel free to connect up with me.

Seth says it is time to go without a…

resume, which I find quite timely because I just had a long conversation with a friend about the value of resumes this weekend.

I mentioned to my friend that I hadn’t put a resume together since I left engineering and I had no plans to ever create a resume in the future because I wouldn’t want a job that would hire me based on my resume as oppose to my reputation.

Interestingly, I even had an example to give my friend.  Not too long ago, a recruiter from Google contacted me to ask if I’d be interested in working in their Strategic Partner Development Group.  In terms of a corporate job, working for Google in NYC would be about as good as it gets, so I said I would definitely entertain the idea.

When the recruiter asked for a resume, I happily emailed her a link to connect with me on LinkedIn figuring this would suffice for a web-savvy company like Google.   It didn’t.   In order to file things correctly, she wanted a traditional resume.  LinkedIn was as good as it was going to get from me, so surprise, surprise, I never got another call.

Truth is, I’m not so principled on this particular issue to say I’d never put together a traditional resume, but at the moment, I’m not excited about getting back into the corporate grind.   I’d only jump back into that world if someone made me a ridiculous offer I couldn’t refuse and no one is going to do that based on a resume.

The 1st 4RealzEd event was yesterday and…

4ealzEdI think I’ve recovered enough now to actually post about it! 🙂

Despite our best efforts to be prepared, the day started off a bit rough with a nearby mudslide taking out power in our building in the morning (meaning no hot coffee and no projector) and a 9-car pileup on a nearby freeway slowed me down tremendously. AHHH

So, to say it started rough would be an understatement… But once it started, things seem to get on a roll quickly.

I started with an overview of consumers expectations in a web2.0 world to set expectations for the day… Jim followed up with presentation on optimal features and design for a real estate website. Then it turned back to me for a presentation on social networking… lunch… then another presentation by me on creating value through blogging about communities. And we returned for the day’s finally with Jim giving a engaging presentation on measuring and tracking marketing results to ensure a positive ROI.

All around, it was a wonderful day! And, maybe they were just being nice, but the attendees who talked with me said only good things about the education.

Because I promised attendees I would give them a list of all the sites I mentioned in my presentations (so that they wouldn’t have to ask me to spell out each URL), here is the list for everyone’s benefit.

Consumer Expectations in a Web2.0 World:

Engaging in Social Networking to Earn Clients

Using Blogs to Build Communities

I wasn’t tracking the sites that Jim mentioned, but there were not nearly as many of them in his presentations…

And thanks again to all the bloggers who have helped spread the word about the event, the sponsors who helped us keep the price low and all the attendees who made the day possible!

I received some incredible feedback from all three groups, which is going to lead me to make some changes to the upcoming events (I’ll announce those early next week!). Great stuff all around. Thanks again to everyone!

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! 😉