Gone are the days of the Rolodex. Today, people across all industries are using social media – specifically, LinkedIn – to connect and stay in touch with their professional contacts.
LinkedIn was launched back in 2003 as a professional networking site, which is still its primary use today. People do this by making “connections” with other users, which are the equivalent of Twitter followers and Facebook likes. These can be with people the user already knows, such as clients or colleagues, or with new contacts they’d like to introduce themselves to. If you’re going to be attending a conference or workshop, LinkedIn is a great way to break the ice with people you’re planning to meet in person.
Like Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn has a number of uses that extend beyond basic networking. These include:
- Job listings: LinkedIn allows companies to post open positions and makes it easy for users to search for job openings using a variety of built-in filters. Perhaps the biggest benefit to using LinkedIn for job searches is the “shared connections” feature, which shows users how they’re connected to each other. If you’re applying for a position and look up the hiring manager, for example, LinkedIn will provide a list of any mutual acquaintances who might be able to speak to your qualifications and, hopefully, put in a good word during the hiring process.
- News/photos: Another use for LinkedIn is getting or sharing news, similar to how you would create a post on Facebook. The biggest difference is audience. While your Facebook followers could be a mix of personal and professional contacts, the majority of your LinkedIn connections will be people in your industry, so it’s important to keep that in mind when sharing content. The “rule of thirds” still applies – that means 1/3 of your content should be about you and your business; 1/3 should be about your industry, and 1/3 should be more “social” in nature, such as direct interactions with other users – but you may want to think twice about sharing some of those vacation photos with clients and colleagues.
- Blogs/commentary: LinkedIn also offers a publishing tool that allows users to create long-form posts (no word limit) that can be shared across multiple social media platforms with the click of a mouse. If you’re already writing blog posts, this is a great way to repurpose some of that content and get it in front of a larger audience.
Profiles vs. Pages
All LinkedIn users create a profile page that is essentially a glorified version of their résumé. (Click here for an example.) These include a professional headshot and description of the user’s experience/qualifications, as well as their top skills, interests/volunteer work and links to any content they’ve published.
Users also have the option of creating company pages for their businesses, similar to Facebook. (You can view Taylor Johnson’s here.) This allows them to write a description of their company and the services it provides, and gives them another place to share corporate news, events, job listings and a link to their website. If you’re just getting started on LinkedIn, you may want to consider this a “next step” until you’ve had a chance to familiarize yourself with the interface.
When to Post
Users typically post less frequently on LinkedIn than on Facebook and Twitter. In the beginning, aim for one to three posts per week, working your way up to one post per weekday. As with the other platforms, you’ll want to pay attention to what time of day you’re posting your content. You’re targeting the 9-5 crowd, so morning and evening commutes and lunch breaks are perfect times to share articles or blog posts that may take a few minutes to read. And don’t forget about weekends. People still use social media on Saturday and Sunday, so while this doesn’t have to be a weekly ritual, it’s important to experiment with different days of the week and see what works best for you and your audience.
For more information on how LinkedIn can help you grow your real estate business, email Emily Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.