How to Market Yourself on LinkedIn

This is a follow up to my recent endevor to immerse myself in some of the more popular social networks on the web. Now that I think we’ve exhausted the MyBlogLog discussion, I thought I’d turn to LinkedIn and some of the ways that agents can use this platform to market themselves and potential earn new clients.

How LinkedIn works

LinkedIn is a relatively “closed” social network in that you don’t really get much power out of the system unless you are actively involved. While it is possible to see a someone’s online resumes without being logged in (here’s mine), the service only becomes really useful when you can see their connections and references.

How LinkedIn Really works
For LinkedIn purists, you need to only like to people you know and trust. That way, when other contacts are looking to use the services or hire someone from your contact list, they know they can have a higher level of trust in that person. This sounds good in theory, but LinkedIn doesn’t work that way anymore. Too many people have muddied the true “trust” waters, so the “rules” have changed.

For many people using LinkedIn today, the “game” is to link up with as many people as possible. For someone trying to reach an audience of potential people to hire and/or give them work (i.e. real estate agents, mortgage brokers, lawyers, etc.), you want as many connections as you can get because each connection gets you that much closer to someone who may be looking for your services in the future.

Why should you be on LinkedIn?

Here are four good reasons:

  • Real estate professionals are still pretty novel on the site, so there is plenty of room to stick out.
  • It is really easy to stand out… Simply upload your address book and ask previous clients for recommendations.
  • The site is primarily made up of well-to-do, tech savvy people. In my office at Move, I would estimate something like 75 to 80% of the people have an active LinkedIn profile, including almost our entire executive staff.
  • It meets the “what’s the worst that could happen test?

Seven steps to make LinkedIn work for you
Step 1: Sign up for an account
Step 2: Fill in your profile
Step 3: Upload your address book and connect with everyone who is already a member of linked in (If I’m not in your address book, add my email:
note: They make it extremely easy to upload your online address book (like one through Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and/or Hotmail) by simply giving your username and password, although my advice is to always use extreme caution with giving up your password!
Step 4: Selectively invite people from your address book… My experience has been that unless I send a personal invitation to someone with a really good reason why they should join, I get a REALLY low response rate. Nonetheless, if you have some previous clients who are particularly tech-savvy (and would give you a good recommendation) then they would make a good invite candidate.
Step 5: Start recommending anyone and everyone you can. If you give a good enough review of someone, they are quite likely to return the favor! That’s a lot easier than begging for recommendations and definitely makes a good place to start
Step 6: Start begging for recommendations from all your previous clients who are on the network (and presumably have a good opinion of you!)
The cool part about these last couple of steps is that once you get even one recommendation, you’ll start showing up in their list of recommended service professionals.

Step 7: After a few weeks, I recommend returning to the site and re-uploading your address book. It’s easy and you might be surprised how many of your new contacts are already on the site!

Obviously, the more recommendations and the more connections the better.

To give you an idea of how this might work for you, my wife and I were recently interested in finding a financial adviser in our area. The first thing I did was clicked on the financial adviser link and then sorted by people who were only one degree of separation from me. One guy out of that list looked real promising and will probably get a call from us soon. Next, we went one more degree of separation and found a few more (some with a ton of recommendations). We’ll definitely give at least one or two of those people a call when were ready to start the process of actively finding a financial adviser. The parallels for reaching someone who is searching for a tech savvy real estate agent should be obvious!

There is lots more information about how to use LinkedIn all over the web, but I figured this primer was probably pretty good for the typical real estate agent… Nonetheless, if you want more, check out Guy Kawasaki’s 10 12 Ways to Use LinkedIn.

16 thoughts on “How to Market Yourself on LinkedIn

  1. Pingback: Saskatoon Real Estate Resource Centre Blog

  2. Off topic, but I’d like to recast my vote on MyBlogLog. I just put in Ardell Seattle in Google and MyBlogLog came up second AND third with my “pointer domain” first. Odd.

    Since I put RCG on MyBlogLog I can’t get my blog on there. Any help appreciated.

  3. Off topic is allowed! (although an invite from LinkedIn would be better! 🙂 )

    I’ve noticed that Google has been picking up “fresh” articles much quicker than it used to and then dropping them a month or so later. To give you an example, after you published the “popcorn ceiling” article, RCG started ranking REALLY high in this term in google searches… But a few months later, this high ranking has diminished considerably.

    In terms associating your blogs with your account, you should be able to find instructions on your profile page. Assuming you are logged in, you should see instructions to “add site/blog I author” under your “account tools” in the top right corner.

  4. Hey Dustin, I’m still recovering from your last “invite”…Big Party Tomorrow Night and I’ve forgotten who I invited! I just did a roundup Party Mail and if I don’t start cooking, I’m going to have a lot of hungry people! If I forgot someone…it has been a crazy week!

    If you’ve ever had a seller turn 100 while you were selling his house, or had water rushing through the house during the home inspection, you’d forgive me. It’s been an unbelievable week!

  5. Dustin:

    I’ve been on linked in for a three years now. I offer these comments:

    1- It’s cumbersome if you’re used to Active Rain, MySpace, Facebook, etc. The protective nature of contacting people is part of the attraction for many of the tech folks (who are most of the members) and frsutrating for real estate practicioners. Just understand that going in.

    2- The solution…pick up the phone. If you want to talk to someone, call them. That has worked for me. The recipients are sometimes suprised at an “unsolicited” phone call nut are generally receptive if it is not a canned, script read, completely sales driven phone call. I’ve had success with an introductory call followed up by a referral to my website/blog.

  6. Excellent overview.. I’ve only recently discovered the wonder of linkedin, but I can already see the potential upsides in having an account. First of all.. IT’S FREE!

    It’s a really great social network service

  7. LinkedIn isn’t always “free” as Nicholas says above. The long term of LI is that they’ll charge for certain kinds of contacts within the system. I’ve been a member for about 5-6 years now, I believe, and it’s not typically a great RE sales tool although my techie clients love finding me on it. I usually end up helping clients and friends with job searching.

  8. Thanks Reba,

    You make some great points… It is definitely still most effective for people doing the usual job search although all indications point toward them playing a larger role in the finding professional service providers into the future!

  9. Seems every time I open my email, someone is asking me to join Linked-In.

    When I read this “Simply upload your address book and ask previous clients for recommendations.” In the article it sounded so cheesy to me. I would never do that.

    Upload my address book so others have it? Isn’t that a breach of confidentiality to my clients? I never email my clients asking for referrals. They send referrals as warranted, and I am very happy that they refer me. But I would never put them on the spot by asking them to do that.

    I feel very badly ignoring all of the people asking me to sign up. Why are they asking me? What benefit is there to them if I sign up?

    Thanks for any light you can shed. Of course I want someone to tell me not to feel guilty for ignoring the requests to join.

  10. All very good concerns Ardell…

    I would never advocate that you make your address book open to other people! I’m not sure that would breach confidentially (it probably would!), but I think it would be a dumb idea for most agents. When you upload your address book to LinkedIn, it is only available to you, that’s one of the reasons I like the service. Also, the service tells you which people who are in your network are already in LinkedIn.

    My experience has been that if you had a good experience with someone in the past, AND they are already on LinkedIn, then they normally don’t mind if you invite them as well… The easiest way to find out if someone is already a member is simply to upload your address book.

    In terms asking for a referral, I’ve never asked anyone on LinkedIn. My style for getting a referral from someone is to first give them a referral. When you say something nice about someone on LinkedIn, they almost always say something nice about you! 🙂

    Does that help?

  11. Thanks Dustin. I am bombarded with requests to share links, join groups, give advices to bloggers. I have been pretty selective. At least when I agree, people know I have a sincere interest.

  12. Thanks for your willingness to join the LinkedIn networks of your readers. As you know, Seattle and the Charleston, SC area share a lot of aircraft industry workers.

  13. Pingback: Impact of Social Media in the Luxury Market |

  14. Ardell, I know this post is kind of old and that is why I am interested to see what you perception of Linkedin is now after a year? Are you still as selective with who you connect?

  15. Hi Tony,

    I like Twitter 🙂 I feel more direct communication and connection with Twitther than I have with Facebook or LinkedIn. I don’t pay much attention to LinkedIn…I’m not very selective on Facebook. Most times people ask to be my “friend” and I accept when the “invites” get to be a dozen or so on Facebook. But Twitter I find fascinating.

  16. Hey Dustin,

    Great post!

    LinkedIn is one of the most underused
    social networks today. Only a few really
    leverage to reach great results.

    I’d like to add your awesome list, interact.
    This is where you can easily build your
    brand, authority and expert status.

    Just answering questions and providing
    value in the group has increase the number
    requests I receive weekly.

    C.F. Jackson

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