How to Build a Powerful Personal Brand Using LinkedIn: Building a Solid Foundation

Having been involved with the real estate industry for 27 years, in many different roles including principal, manager, licensee and sales rep, I understand how important it is for agents to remain competitive.

In this four part series, I’m going to show you how you can use LinkedIn to get a competitive edge by connecting with other professionals – and to not only connect with them, but to develop relationships that are both enjoyable and mutually profitable. But first, you may be wondering:

Why use LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a valuable social networking tool for real estate agents. It’s valuable because:

  • It gives you access to some truly exciting, valuable, business opportunities – opportunities that just weren’t available when I started my real estate career.
  • It gives you access to over 135 million LinkedIn users across the globe. That’s a fantastic way to extend your real life network!
  • And wonderfully: LinkedIn (unlike Facebook which can be on the trivial side) is targeted to business professionals. On LinkedIn, you’re talking with like-minded people.

Because of these factors, LinkedIn offers some important practical benefits. Notably:

  • LinkedIn is a recruiting opportunity. Countless principals and real estate agents across the world are now using LinkedIn to reach out and recruit top flight sales people, top flight administrative and support staff, and great property managers.
  • LinkedIn is also a fantastic way of building your credibility and becoming known as the expert in your marketing niche.

Creating a killer LinkedIn profile

The benefits of a completed and comprehensive LinkedIn profile are many:

  • It gives you a far greater chance for internet marketing success.
  • It showcases your:
      • talents,
      • experience, and
      • expertise.
  • It makes you look like a LinkedIn pro. A nicely completed profile will make you look professional, and it will change the shape of your personal brand.
  • It also gives you a great introduction to people that are trying to reach and and do business with you.

To build a solid foundation for a great LinkedIn profile, you’ll need to:

  1. Add a professional image,
  2. Share your job experience,
  3. Summarise yourself, and
  4. Add Interests, Groups and Associations.

I’ll go through each of these steps in detail below.

1. Add a professional image

Your first task in developing a professional LinkedIn profile is to add a professional image. Your profile image is important – without it, your online self is quite literally faceless.

Ensure you:

  • Make it recent. Your photo shouldn’t be more than three years old.
  • Make it head and shoulders only. Don’t have a photo with your face so far away that people can’t recognise you, but don’t be so close you’re staring down the camera, either.
  • Keep it real – no need for airbrushing here! Both this and my first point are intended to ensure you present an accurate and approachable version of yourself.
  • Be professional, yet friendly. A lot of agents are now trying to avoid the clichéd photo of a ‘smiling assassin’ with the left shoulder forward, white shirt, and red tie – in favour of something slightly more creative such as a photo of them with a favourite landmark.
A profile image on LinkedIn

Change your profile image by going to Edit Profile > Edit Photo

2. Share your job experience

A LinkedIn profile can be likened to an online resume – so show potential contacts your experience.

Ensure you:

  • List your current position,
  • Add past positions – it’s a great way to be found by your colleagues from the past, and
  • Describe what you did in each position, in as much detail as you can. In this case, more is more.
Job experience on a LinkedIn profile

To alter your job experience, scroll down to the 'Experience' section of the Edit Profile page

3. Summarise yourself

The summary is an important part of any LinkedIn profile. By all means, avoid the stale third person bio. My tips:

  • Write in first person, but do it in a way without using lots of ‘I’s and ‘me’s.
  • Simply describe: Who you are, and what you can do for other people.
  • Imagine the reader is asking you “So, what is it that you can do for me?”.

But avoid the sales pitch! This is not the place to be asking people if they want a free market appraisal. This is a place where you consider “How is it that I can enrich another person’s life; how is it that I can help them enjoy living in their suburb even more?”.

A LinkedIn profile summary

To edit your summary, visit Edit Profile and click Edit next to your Summary section

4. Add Interests, Groups, and Associations

Groups and associations are a particularly good way for LinkedIn to help you connect with other people.

These certainly don’t have to be work-related – If you’re a member of one of your local institutes, add that, but if you’re a proud member of the Pigeon-Racing Club of Uluru, add that too.

LinkedIn's Interests, Groups and Associations section

To add your Interests, Groups, and Associations, edit your Additional Information section

Have you completed all four steps? Congratulations, you’re well on your way to having a killer LinkedIn profile!

In the next blog post, I’m going to show you how to really get your profile working for you using keywords.

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About Peter Fletcher

Speaker, trainer, and consultant helping real estate agents sort out their online communication strategy.

@peterfletcher - Google+

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  1. […] This is a Part 2 in a series of blog posts on building a powerful personal brand using LinkedIn. Read Part 1: Building a Solid Foundation. […]

  2. […] you’ve followed my advice about building a solid foundation, building a profile that sells, optimising your profile to get found, and using recommendations […]

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