As the role of social networking in real estate continues to grow, more and more real estate professionals are finding themselves using social media sites to make contacts, find clients and build their brand. However, thanks to the relative newness of the medium, many investors spend a great deal of time on these sites “spinning their wheels” rather than creating a streamlined, productive and profitable system for expanding their real estate network and investing business. In this training session, we’ll explore the LinkedIn network to determine how it can be best used by real estate professionals.

LinkedIn in a self-described “business-oriented social networking site.” The website is designed to help users “control their online identity” by creating  a professional profile on the site that appears at the top of search results so that they can control the first impressions that they make on new clients and potential clients who may be “Googling” them. LinkedIn also allows users to create circles of contacts that can help them solve problems and interact with other members of their own field and others to expand their knowledge base and professional reach.

Because LinkedIn is a professional site, unlike Facebook, Twitter or MySpace, it is ideally suited to investors of all types. However, if you really want to make the site work for you, you need to have a clear idea of how you want to use it. Many investors use the site to increase their own personal visibility or to promote their “brand” or business. However, in order for this to work you will need to spend some time connecting with other professionals on the site or promoting yourself elsewhere so that you can benefit from the high search engine results that LinkedIn provides when people search you. The site does help create rapport and trust between users, which can be particularly useful if you invest around the country and need “feet on the ground” in areas where you cannot be personally.

LinkedIn can also serve as a method of checking out potential clients and partners and establishing credibility yourself. The site provides “references” for users so that you can not only view reviews of companies’ or individual’s performances, but you can also post your own references and contact others to find out just how well an entity performed in a business transaction. Many people use LinkedIn to find employment as well, so if you are looking for programmers or other types of contractors and employees, you can do an effective, fast job search on the site. Just remember, they’re checking you out as well, so make sure that your profile is sleek, clear and professional.

Finally, to make LinkedIn work for you, you need to stay active on the site. Connect with others just as you would anywhere else that you were networking and building contacts. You will get the best use out of LinkedIn if you are highly visible both on and off the site so that you benefit from increased, positive exposure in the “real world” as well as within the confines of your LinkedIn circles.

Do you use and like/dislike LinkedIn?

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