1. Profile

Your LinkedIn profile should be compelling and clear so that potential clients, recruits or business relationships are able to quickly recognize your area of expertise.
 
Keep in mind, LinkedIn members did nearly 4.2 billion professionally oriented searches on the platform in 2011 and are on pace to surpass 5.3 billion in 2012. Don’t get overlooked in that overwhelming number of searches because your profile wasn’t complete.

  Tips to a Perfect LinkedIn Real Estate Profile

  • Take your time when preparing your content. Just as your blog is a direct reflection on the professional nature of your business, so is your LinkedIn profile. You wouldn’t post an article to your blog without double-checking grammar, dates and spelling.  Put the same effort into your LinkedIn profile. Grammatical errors send a message you don’t want associated with your professional reputation.
  • Add all relevant skills and training you’ve earned throughout your career. Remember, buyers and sellers will research online, digging for details about you and your business long before they ever connect with you offline. Make sure their question of “what’s in it for me” is easily answered.
  • Let your unique personality and abilities to shine through. While this is a professional network, you do want to inject character into your profile. This will create differentiation from the other real estate professionals in your area.
  • Update your professional headline, which acts as your short bio. It should be attention grabbing and include words that spark excitement and position you as a leader within the real estate industry. To be found when peers or potential clients search for “real estate” or “realtor” within your area, use words related to your industry, niche and area. (See below for more details on optimization)
  • Optimize your LinkedIn profile with keywords specific to your expertise and location.  For example, if you specialize in short sales in Lexington, KY, your keywords would be “Short Sale Specialist Lexington Kentucky.”  These are searchable terms that allow people to quickly find you when searching real estate professionals in your area.
  • Optimize your profile image when uploading your professional headshot. This means using your identified keyword (including your name) in the saved title of your image. Since this is a professional community, make sure your image is a high-resolution headshot that makes you easily identifiable.
  • Customize your profile URL with your name (first and last) making it easier to locate and market your profile. By default, LinkedIn ascribes an arbitrary URL when you initially set up your profile. For branding and marketing purposes, you will want to customize this link and create your unique LinkedIn destination.

2. Make Connections

After completing your profile, it is time to make connections. Start by reaching out to your friends, existing clients and professional relationships that you have already established. Use LinkedIn’s internal search to explore by name, company or keyword. Choosing “advanced search” will offer a substantial amount of options allowing you to do a deeper dive into keywords, location or industry.
linkedin-advanced-search
One very important note: Do not approach strangers as it can affect your reputation as a real estate professional. It can also get you banned from adding any additional connections if you are marked as a spammer. With that said, it is perfectly acceptable to ask your current connections for recommendations or referrals to someone they are already connected to.

  3. Get Involved

The power of LinkedIn lies in the ability to research, locate, connect and engage all in one location. It is a social network dedicated to boosting your business by working alongside your current offline marketing efforts.

As with any successful marketing endeavor, the true magic is found once you stop lurking and get involved.

  A few ways to start a conversation on LinkedIn:

  • Join groups with a relevant niche or topic. Start a topic around a niche and get a conversation going with that crowd. You can identify the topic you are interested in (e.g. real estate) and provide helpful answers to these questions. Doing so can help establish who you are and allow you to connect with people within that niche and even a particular location.
  • Like or comment on the status of your connections. If they post their latest blog article, make a comment indicating what really resonated with you. What did you like most about it and how will that impact the way you do business? We all love hearing feedback, especially from trusted business connections.
  • Follow companies through LinkedIn’s “Company Follow” where you can identify possible recruits, keep up-to-date with the company through status updates and even receive notifications when an employee makes a move.
  • Research companies (competitors) within your local market through LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search feature.  You can filter your results and save your search parameters so you don’t have to go back through the same search each time.

  4. Don’t Forget Your Links

LinkedIn gives you the ability to link out to your website, blog or any other website you choose. It is a simple set-up process and a  fantastic way to establish your brand while driving traffic to additional online properties.

Once you determine which web sites you will link to, make sure to change the standard “My Website” title that LinkedIn provides. Edit that basic information to give connections a better understanding of your services and the specific information you are offering.

  5. Add Applications

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LinkedIn has made some dramatic changes to the look, feel and functionality of the platform. If you are still using the old interface, LinkedIn apps are available and easy to use in an effort to share additional information with your connections. Applications such as WordPress will automatically pull in your latest blog post and eliminate the need to manually publish that post to your profile. However, once you make the switch to the new LinkedIn profile, they may no longer be supported.

The goal with any social media automation tool is to free up your time so you can spend time where it matters most: engaging and networking with other like-minded business professionals and actively marketing to past and potential clients.

  To add applications:

    1. Hover over your name and click on “Settings” to the right of the navigation toolbar.
    2. Scroll to the bottom, left hand side section and click on “Groups, Companies and Applications.”
    3. Choose “Add Applications” for a list of all available applications.

linkedin-applications
As a real estate professional, it is critical that you make LinkedIn a part of your online business building efforts. As you look to gain market share and brain cells, it’s a perfect way for savvy professionals to grow a thriving real estate business!

Let’s face it: you, like everyone else in the world of business and marketing, want your site to become more important in the eyes of the all-mighty Google. There isn’t a magic formula that reveals exactly what search engines are looking for, but in the case of Google, there are plenty of tools you can use to make your site more visible.

A great place to start is to embrace Google+. To many, Google+ seems like a less-used version of Facebook. However, individuals and businesses need to start seeing Google+ for what it really is: a way to control your identity across all of Google’s products. It’s not a social network but a social layer that is integrated across all platforms from Google Places to YouTube. If you have a Google+ profile, it is easier to share and be seen.

Once you have set up a Google+ profile, focus on these other Google products:

 

Mobile SearchMobile search

It has been projected that mobile search will surpass desktop search in the next few years, but one doesn’t need solid statistics to realize that smartphones are everywhere—and that means your company needs to adapt and prepare for your site to be viewed and searched for on a smaller screen.

First, it is important to prepare your site for mobile search, whether it is with a responsive design or by serving dynamically. If you want people to stay on your site once they find it, you have to give them a site that is easy to view and use.

While designing a mobile version of your site, consider what you want the customer to do. For example, if you want people to be able to call your company, you should add a “click to call” button. Whatever your goal is for the customer, make that action easy to perform on a smaller screen.

 

 

Google Maps

Google Maps/Google Places

Here’s a statistic for you: according to Google, 50% of mobile searches are local. People want to find companies within their area, and being on Google Maps is a great way to ensure that you have a presence within your community.

If you have a physical location, add and verify your business using Google Places. Google is in the process of rolling out a new dashboard for Google Places, which is currently available to new or newly verified profiles. Among the changes include easier, faster updates to your Google+ Local page and the ability for service area businesses (without an exact location) to claim a page.

Whether you are working from the old or new platform, you should fill out all of the available categories: contact information, category, hours, photos, etc. You want to include any data that could be helpful to your customer. Think of that data as additional keywords for you as well. If someone is searching specifically for a Chinese restaurant in the area, and you haven’t mentioned that your restaurant sells Chinese food, you won’t be the most relevant (i.e. the top) result.

 

 

Google+Google+ Business Page

Along with completing your Google+ Local listing, you will want to complete a Google+ Business page and update it with regular posts.

A main goal of Google+ is to make the Google experience more social and personal for every individual. Therefore, Google will use the data shared on Google+ to give users the information they want while searching or using other applications.

For example, there are +1 buttons on posts and pages within Google+ (and on many websites outside of Google+). If you like a company or a specific post, you can add a +1. This data will factor into your searches based on where you and others in your network have added a +1. If you are looking for a place to eat and 10 of your friends have +1’d a specific restaurant, that restaurant will likely rank higher because of the social influence.

In addition, Google+ pages may be more convenient for targeting a certain audience. You can create different circles for each type of follower, such as “Employees,” “Customers,” etc. That way, you can direct the right content to the right people.

 

 

Google AnalyticsGoogle Analytics

With Google Analytics, the company provides you with a ton of data that will increase your rankings if you know how to use it. It would take an entire article (and then some) to explain all of the things you can do using these analytics, but here is the basic idea: this service will measure sales and conversions, and it will also show you how people are finding your company online and how those people are using the site.

Are you wondering whether you get more traffic organically or from referrals? Do you want to know what countries your visitors live in? What is the percentage of people who actually complete an order? Which pages do people view the most while visiting the site? These are the types of questions that these tools will answer. Google Analytics now does social reports as well to help you navigate the possibly daunting, but very important, world of social media.

 

YouTube

YouTube

Since YouTube was acquired by Google, we have been able to see more video results in the search engine. Therefore, creating an account and uploading videos might be another—and potentially more exciting—way to be visible on Google.

YouTube isn’t just for cat videos: you can find anything from the absurd (Harlem Shake, anyone?) to the genuinely informative. You could record a tutorial on something related to your field or add video from a company event. Something goofy, as long as it’s still appropriate, will humanize your business and its employees. Whatever you choose to capture, make sure to complete and be specific in your title, description, and tags. Just like anything else, those keywords will help people find your video.

And if you needed more incentive to get a Google+ account, Google recently announced that YouTube accounts and channels can be linked to a Google+ page. This will make it easier for users to share video and give people the chance to do live broadcasts using Google Hangouts.

If there is one thing to know about Google, it’s that the company and its products are always growing and changing. If you truly want your brand to be visible, keep up to date with all of Google’s developments. The more involved you are, the better chance you have of someone coming across your business.

 

Shannon Williams

Shannon Williams is a team lead for Boostability’s SEO department, specializing in guest blogging and content strategy. She graduated from BYU with a degree in English and Editing, and she’s thrilled to have found a job where she can actually use her writing skills. In her free time, Shannon works on her own novels and watches more movies and TV shows than she cares to admit.

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Do you want the inside info to Top Producer’s new mobile application?  Do you want to see if it will easily fit into your lifestyle and daily activities? Want to see what’s missing from the application and learn what’s coming down the pipeline?  I helped in the development of this product when it was just an idea and can give you an insiders view of this cutting edge app that you won’t get anywhere else.

Am I biased, yup. Is it perfect, nope. Do I love it, absolutely. It is a giant step in the right direction in the creation of something special and unique.

This ain’t yo Momma’s Top Producer!

Google tweaks its algorithm up to 600 times a year!

 

They made a huge change in the way they rank content yesterday.  According to Mashable 35% of all searches will be affected by this shift.  Fresh content is carrying more weight than ever!  Find out how to leverage this change by checking out the video below.  Aren’t you glad you are a blogger?????

It is no longer news to hear that since the Financial Crisis many things have changed, and countless people have had to cope with a drastically negative transformation in their financial lives.  What is coming as news are the lasting effects the Crisis is having on consumer behavior.  Absolute Strategy Research’s (“ASR”) recent consumer survey brings results from the past three years on U.S. Household Finances showing a definitive change in consumer attitudes towards debt.  Two out of every three Americans questioned believe that the Financial Crisis has fundamentally changed their attitude towards debt, and almost half those polled are not prepared to take any risk with their savings.  There is a serious collapse in consumer confidence due to negative wealth effects; 27% of Americans believe their homes are worth less than what they owe on their mortgage.

What Consumers Need Now

With these statistics it is clear to see that consumers aren’t confident that housing is a good investment at the present time.  The group reporting a change in attitude towards debt in the study tends to be much more hesitant to take financial risk; only 24% are prepared to take risks with their savings.  With these results, we should expect many more buyers to focus on whether or not the decision to buy a home or invest in real estate makes financial sense.  What consumers need now is a higher sense of security; they need to know that the decision they are making is a good investment with low risk factors in the long-term.  They need information about the long-term effects that buying a home will have on their finances.

How Real Estate Agents Can Help

 

Real estate agents can’t expect to continue their practices without responding in some way to these changes in consumer attitudes.  Consumer hesitancy poses real estate agents with a new challenge and an opportunity, the opportunity to be integral in forming a response to consumer apprehension by helping to ease hesitancy when it comes to making investments in real estate.  The role of the real estate agent can be first to inform clients in an open and honest way about what the process of buying a home entails and what options there are available to consumers on the market within their means.  The future of the housing market hinges upon a new investment in communication between agents and consumers.

 

Tools For Change: Confidence Building Calculators

Perhaps the best resources available to help consumers work through their hesitancy are decision-making tools, and fortunately there are a host of these tools and financial calculators online.  While a lot of them begin to address consumer needs, most haven’t changed since the late nineties, and it didn’t take a lot of thought from the SmartAsset  team (www.smartasset.com)to realize that today’s consumer, having grown up with the internet, expects much more.  That is why we have developed a web app that helps consumers to measure affordability, evaluate financing alternatives, and test the cash flow impact for big financial decisions such as buying a home.  With a few pieces of information from a potential home buyer, our tool can help determine how much home a particular consumer can afford and how best to finance it.  It spells out the ramifications of their decision and allows them to see how it will affect their finances over time; we think it is an awesome tool in terms of providing consumers with the information they need when trying to decide if a decision makes financial sense.  If real estate agents can tap into this resource and help consumers through the home buying process with it, we think this can lead to a constructive way of working through consumer hesitancy towards investment in real estate.  There is no reason why real estate agents can’t take part in providing consumers with actionable, objective, personalized, and easy-to-understand advice. Trustworthy information feeds consumer confidence, and everyone has something to gain from this.

This article was written by Michael Carvin the Founder and CEO of Smart Asset.  Check out his site to get a free invite to his software www.smartasset.com

 

I spent way more money this month than I made in October!  Vacations and doctors bills in the same month will do that to you. Not good.

I have to admit I have never been good at budgeting.  I have always had a sales job so whenever I spent more than I should have, I worked harder to sell more.  Not a good strategy for a Dad with a family of four, even though it worked ok in my twenties. :-)

Knowing that I am not proficient at tracking my income and spending, I begrudgingly looked for an app to help.  Apps get me to do things that I normally wouldn’t do because they usually have a “gameification” aspect to them.  The motivation for a higher score, goal, badge, or some type of visual indicator usually keeps me going.  Well, I found a amazingly simple app that already has helped me become more organized.  You can set up your entire financial world in less than 5 minutes and it works automatically….. right up my alley!  Also, stick around for the end for my bonus app that you will love too!

 

 

 

Real Estate is more confusing than ever these days.  With so many places to spend your time and money, it’s a wonder you have time to sell homes!  Should you be on Twitter?  Should you delete your Facebook business page because it’s a giant time suck and not making you any money?  Website or blog….or both?  When should you throw in the towel on some of these newer forms of exposure (notice I didn’t say marketing).

To understand which mediums are actually working for us or at least moving in the right direction, we need to set a baseline metric for each to start from.  I found a website that can help!  Check out the video to learn more.