How to Market Your Real Estate Business with LinkedIn
www.LinkedIn.com offers marketing for both small and large businesses. Marketing on LinkedIn involves working through your own network, using both your current contact list as well as potential contacts in the LinkedIn community.
LinkedIn Stats: Why You Must Master LinkedIn – LinkedIn is Where the Influences ARE!
Here are some of the Statistical Highlights on LinkedIn that you really need to know for your business.
- Average Age: 41
- Household Income: $109,703
- Male: 64%
- Household Income $100k+ 53.5%
- Own Smartphone/PDA: 34%
- College Grad/Post Grad: 80.1%
- Business Decision Maker: 49%
- EVP/SVP/VP: 6.5%
- 24% Have a Portfolio Value of $250k+
- Job Titles:
- C-Level Executives 7.8%
- EVP/SVP 6.5%
- Senior Management 16%
- Middle Management 18%
- 50% Are Business Decision Makers in Their Companies
LinkedIn has Company Pages!
Setting up a company page is free and the news is that LinkedIn added tabs that businesses will be able to populate with information at will: Careers and Showcases. (Companies were able to add more features like Careers to their pages previously, but there was a cost and it was not sold through their ad sales reps.)
On Company Pages, you can add content to the Showcase pages will have a greater extent of control over what is displayed on their pages. These various products’ lists will be able to be showcased dependent upon which industry category your LinkedIn account is a part of. Businesses can also modify their pages to display the strongest recommendations to prospective customers in an attempt to exhibit the trust in their brand and accelerate the growth of their product.
Companies can also add videos to their pages. In turn, LinkedIn members can recommend and review a product or service on a company profile and their recommendations will surface on their own profiles as well. Company Pages will list the people who have recommended a particular product as well.
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1. Make sure your LinkedIn profile links back to your business Web site and blog. Yes, you want your visitors and potential customers to be able to verify who you are, as noted in the previous bullet in this list, but you also want them to go back to your Web site and do some business with you! Make sure that you, and every employee of your company who’s on LinkedIn, includes a link to your business’s Web site and, if there is one, the company blog.
2. If you have a search engine expert working for you, that person may complain about something called a two-way link, which is a link from your LinkedIn profile to your Web site and a link from your Web site to your LinkedIn profile. This practice, known as reciprocal linking, hurts your search engine ranking. If so, have that person identify which of the two links is more important and implement only that link.
3. Make sure that your most popular keyword phrases are in your company or personal profile. Use sites such as the Google Keyword Planner to find the hottest keyword phrases. If your business is doing any online ad campaigns, make sure those keyword phrases are the same as the ones in your profile. Presenting a consistent image to any potential customer makes you and your company look more professional.
4. Develop relationships with key business partners or media contacts. When you search for someone on LinkedIn, you can be very precise about who you want to reach. If you want to increase your visibility, start reaching out to media members who cover your industry.
How to Use LinkedIn to Find Potential Investors
Although LinkedIn can’t guarantee that you’ll find the right funding partner, the professional networking site can help you improve your chances of success when dealing with the funding and growth of your business.
No matter what stage your business is in, LinkedIn can be an invaluable resource for finding investors. Here are some of the ways LinkedIn can assist you in the quest for an investor.
Although you may be an expert in your field, you could probably use some good advice from existing venture capitalists, angel investors, or successful entrepreneurs when it comes to obtaining financing. Thankfully, LinkedIn Answers allows you to tap a vast network of knowledgeable folk who are experts in that field and gladly give general and specific tips.
While LinkedIn Answers has a special category for Startups and Small Businesses, focus on the areas of Venture Capital and angel funding here. If you are not ready for that big investment, definitely check out the Startups and Small Business category for advice.
LinkedIn members have used the Answers section to get critiques or reviews of their executive summaries, directly ask for a VC or angel investor to consider their venture, or ask other entrepreneurs how their experience was with a particular VC or angel investor. Most questions, pleas for help, and advice solicitation have received multiple responses, from the one- or two-sentence reply to the pages-long exposition of precise advice and list of accompanying Web sites or contact information.
When you’re looking for funding, of any amount, one of the top things that any investor will want to see is your management team. No matter how great your idea is, the execution of that idea will determine your success. Investors see one way to mitigate the risk of their investment by rewarding strong management teams that have the skill to weather unexpected turns. If your management team is lacking in at least one key area, consider LinkedIn as a source to find that missing person.
Here are some things to keep in mind when doing a search on LinkedIn for your next team member:
- Experience is key.
- Pick complements, not carbon copies.
- Gauge the strength of the candidate’s network.
Suppose that you’ve got your business plan, management team, market analysis and you’ve built up a customer set. You’ve done some research and are ready to start shopping around and looking for investment. You’ve perfected your 30-second elevator pitch so you can quickly and accurately describe your business to anyone who’s interested, and you can quote the facts and figures you need for any presentation. It’s time to seek out a funding partner.
Although this is not the exhaustive list of what you can do, here are some tips that can help you find that partner using LinkedIn:
- Gather leads. Use LinkedIn Answers to post a question to either your network or the general community about the best firms or investors to consider.
- Do research on your leads. Look up potential investors on LinkedIn and read their profiles.
- Work your network and get them working. Do advanced searches to see how your network can connect you with the right person.
- Get introduced or reach out yourself. If you have a second- or third-degree connection to a potential investor, use LinkedIn Introductions to ask your contacts to introduce you.
- Do your homework before any meeting. Use LinkedIn to prepare before you meet any potential investor.
How to Use LinkedIn to Research Client Prospects ( and tenants )
LinkedIn lets you spend some time familiarizing yourself with prospective buyers before you contact them. This LinkedIn Network advantage can improve your chances of getting the person to respond, taking the time to listen to your pitch, and buying your product.
Following are some tips concerning specific ways to research your prospective clients:
- Read the prospect’s full profile to discover all you can about his or her interests, likes, dislikes, and so on. You can do far more than simply scan a person’s profile looking for past jobs and maybe their education to see whether they share an alma mater with you. A person’s LinkedIn profile can be or lead to a gold mine of information about that person.
- For instance, people may include links to their own Web sites, blogs, or company Web sites. Follow those links, especially to blogs or personal Web sites, and see what you can find out. In the prospect’s profile, look over the Interests section and the Additional Information section.
- And don’t forget the Contact Settings section – here’s where you can find out under what circumstances this person wants to be contacted. Be sure to respect those wishes.
- Read your prospect’s recommendations for other people. You can gain a lot of insight by seeing what qualities a person likes to praise in other people, especially if your prospect has left multiple recommendations.
- In this way, you also gain insight into the people they trust, so check those people who received a recommendation to see whether you have a connection to any of them. If so, ask that person first for an Introduction to your prospect.
- Read any questions or answers your prospect wrote for LinkedIn Answers. If you pull up someone’s profile, look for a section in the right column entitled Person’s Q&A and click that tab. The page that opens contains all the questions and answers this person has contributed to LinkedIn. When you read these contributions, you might gain some insight into this person’s preferences and “hot button issues,” what motivates or annoys him or her.
How to Generate Leads on LinkedIn with Advanced People Search
When you’re ready to start looking for leads, the LinkedIn Advanced People Search feature allows you to search the database consisting of tens of millions of LinkedIn members based on the criteria you’ve established for the leads you want to generate.
To start a search, bring down the drop-down list next to People at the top of the page, then click the Advanced People Search link.
Say, for example, that you need accountants who work in the Financial Services industry. To start such a search, you would fill in the Title and Industry fields of Advanced People Search, as shown here, and click Search.
When you begin your search of the LinkedIn database, your own network can help you identify your best leads (people only two or three degrees away from you who you can reach through a first-degree connection introducing you) if you change the Sort By option, to Relationship. (The default option is Keyword Relevance.)
When you see your search results, you first see which results are closely connected with you via your connections. You can click each person’s name to read his or her full LinkedIn profile, see how you are connected to that person, and decide whether you’ve got a potential lead.
Another way to get different search results is to deselect the Network checkbox from the Advanced People Search page. This search generates general leads that are within your network as well as leads that aren’t directly or indirectly connected to you.
Here, you can see the lead’s title and company, but not his or her name. You can find out some details from reading their LinkedIn profile, but you will have to use LinkedIn tools like InMail to communicate with these people to pursue the lead.
When you are doing general prospecting, surveying the market for that ‘œperfect lead’ or, at least, a lead in the right direction, try to keep these ideas in mind while filling in the appropriate fields for each strategy:
- Generalize your search: If you’re looking for your ideal contacts independently of the company they work for, focus primarily on the Title and Industry fields to find your leads.
- Narrow your search: Use the Keywords field to narrow your results list when you need to reach people within a certain niche of an industry or job.
- Target specific people: Use either the Company or Keywords field, plus the Title field, to help you find specific employees in your target companies.
- Refine your search by areas of knowledge: Click on Answers from the top navigation bar and look for people who answered questions in your target area to see whether you spot a potential contact there.
- Help your product sell itself: Search for the customers of your customers. Why would you do such a thing? You want to get those people excited about your product so that they’ll demand it from your customers, of course! This strategy is also known as pull marketing.
- Reach out through service professionals: Search for consultants who are hired by your potential customers by using the Title and Industry fields, or by choosing ‘œConsultants/contractors’ from the Interested In drop-down list. You can ask those consultants for help in reaching your potential customers.
LinkedIn: Profit from the Group Discussion Boards
What are the benefits of using the group discussion board on LinkedIn for your business?
- You create great exposure to your brand, website, and targeted individuals/potential customers
- Build Credibility
- Begin to create relationships with other members
- Leverage the daily emails for your businesses use
If you want to get the best use out of the group discussion board, then you should consider the following steps:
- Maximize the number of groups you have with your target audience
- Watch the discussion board and see what is being talked about
- See what the questions with the most comments look like and are structured like
- Start posting questions similar to the most commented ones, but tweak to your interest
- Identify the best questions and duplicate it consistently on the board
- Time your question postings properly for maximum exposure