Social media is an undoubtedly valuable marketing tool for Realtors®, but be advised, not all platforms are equally effective or worth your time. Instead of rushing around creating profiles, writing daily marketing posts, or running ad campaigns on every media platform, save yourself some time and energy by first sifting through a few distinguishing features. This will give you a better understanding of what makes each platform unique, so you can determine which one (or ones) will be your heaviest hitters.

LinkedIn is a robust platform with lots of valuable features for savvy agents.

In the first article in our Social Media for Realtors® series, we showed you how to make the most out of Facebook. This article, the second in the series, delves into the many valuable facets of LinkedIn as both a B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer) marketing tool.

LinkedIn may be a little less familiar to most of us as a social platform, but for business, it excels at something that other social networks don’t do as quickly or as easily: facilitate referrals.

A platform designed for business professionals, LinkedIn has a reputation for being an excellent recruitment tool, both for job seekers and for employers looking to hire. But it’s much more than that.

Because the nature of LinkedIn connections leans more toward real, personal connections between people, LinkedIn is far and away the top social media platform for lead generation. Data produced by Hubspot, a leading online digital marketing company, shows that LinkedIn generates 277% more leads than the other major social media platforms. Although LinkedIn is generally thought of as a B2B platform, its B2C engagement is also higher than other platforms. This is partly due to the lack of “clutter” with things like photos of your kids or pets. With less clutter on the page, valuable content is more likely to be noticed. Also, LinkedIn’s algorithm is far different from Facebook’s, so you don’t have to fight and strategize as much to ensure that your content is seen by your desired network.

Another distinguishing feature is that LinkedIn offers the chance to create both “endorsements” and “recommendations.” When you make a connection with someone on LinkedIn (similar to becoming someone’s friend on Facebook), you have the option to endorse them or be endorsed by them. It’s like a reference letter for a job application: they can add their endorsement of you by clicking on your chosen skills and follow up by writing a full recommendation. These referrals help to validate your expertise.

Beyond endorsements, LinkedIn is an effective B2C resource because people go there looking for professional expertise, unlike Facebook and Instagram. This is good news for Realtors®: because LinkedIn is built for professionals, it’s easy to display your professional interests, qualifications, and successes. If a fellow LinkedIn member and potential client is looking for a successful real estate agent in the area, BAM! There you are, with all your skills and qualifications uniquely displayed, front and center.

Essentially, LinkedIn requires some work up front, but it doesn’t need to be managed in the same way as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. In a LinkedIn-focused article on REALTOR® Mag, Alan Wang, a Keller Williams agent and head of LinkedIn’s new market development and operations for the Asian-Pacific region, reportedly uses what he calls “no-strings-attached” networking. This involves engaging with his network in an organic, proactive way by sharing relevant, helpful articles, posting simple status updates, and having conversations around activity on other members’ profiles. As a result of his passive networking style, Wang’s LinkedIn connections alone resulted in 15 home sales in one year.

If you don’t already market through LinkedIn, we hope we’ve convinced you to give it a shot. Whether or not you already have a LinkedIn presence, be sure you’re making the most out of it by following the tips below.

Fill out every detail in your profile

If you don’t already have a website or a brand, LinkedIn can serve as an excellent overview of who you are; if you do have a website, LinkedIn can function as an extended portfolio. To ensure that you’re discoverable on LinkedIn, fill out every part of your profile. Use a clear, high-quality headshot, and for your cover image (which appears behind your profile picture), choose an image that fits your brand.

Take a look at Boston-based Realtor® Deborah Lucci’s image choices. Notice how she uses a photo of her friendly staff and welcoming office as the cover image with the company logo easily visible. You get a clear picture of what it would be like to step into her office and meet with her or one of her smiling agents. Plus, the elegant lettering of her logo matches her brand and encourages recognition even after you’ve navigated away from her LinkedIn company page.

For help creating your own company page, visit LinkedIn Marketing Solutions’ “get started” section. For specific guidelines on formatting images (including “how to” and ideal image sizes), click here.

Use the name of your business in your title (Realtor at XYZ) or use something location-based to help people find you.

Be as thorough as you can (and as makes sense) with the rest of your profile. A thorough bio that conveys not just your professional qualifications and specialties, but also your interests and personality, could help potential clients identify with you on a personal level. REALTOR® Mag points to Kentucky-based broker Nick Ratliff’s five-paragraph bio as a great example of this. Ratliff says that he has connected with a number of clients because of his extensive bio in which he shares details and insights such as where he was raised, alma maters, Ratliff’s favorite sports teams, and why he chose real estate as a profession.

Take advantage of the Accomplishment section. Have you won awards or helped with a particularly challenging project? Don’t be shy. This is your chance to share your grandest moments. It will help prospective clients understand more about your work ethic, enticing them to do business with someone who is as accomplished as you.

Don’t just ask for recommendations — award them to others

Endorsements and recommendations are a two-way street. Not only does it look good when you have many endorsements from notable Realtors® and clients, but it also positions you as an expert and leader when you endorse others, too. Plus, when you recommend someone, you now appear on their profile, which passively exposes you to more people. Be sure your recommendations are genuine, based on actual experience with the person you’re endorsing.

Join relevant groups

Groups are a great way to connect with like-minded individuals in your industry. Similar to Facebook Groups, LinkedIn Groups are mini-forums dedicated to a specific topic or interest. When you join a Group, it appears on your profile, which also helps demonstrate that you are serious about professional development and networking.

Groups can also help you target your dream clients. Check out local groups comprised of people who might fit your “dream client avatar.” Then, post or reach out to them to find out what their needs are. Using LinkedIn for research makes it easy to find sizable groups of potential leads.

LinkedIn is a robust platform that can seem complicated at first, but once you start, you’ll see how simple it really is. Be proactive by joining groups, posting articles, keeping in touch with clients, and connecting with fellow agents, and watch your leads grow by about 277%!