Technology Solutions

LinkedIn Logic

It’s safe to say there won’t be a movie made about the founding of LinkedIn. It has more than 187 million users. Facebook has more than 1 billion. LinkedIn was founded in a living room, not a dorm room. And the only relationship status LinkedIn users see is whether they have a professional connection to another user.

That’s why CCIM members like LinkedIn.

In a recent survey of members, 73 percent of respondents said LinkedIn was their favorite social networking site. For anyone looking to digitally connect with commercial real estate professionals, LinkedIn is a logical first step. The following tips can help unlock the site’s potential.

Take Advantage of New Profiles

LinkedIn profiles are typically on the first page of Google search results when a user’s name is searched, which means a profile can be a prospective client’s first impression. And that first impression is going to be increasingly visual following a redesign of LinkedIn profiles.

A bigger profile picture is the most noticeable change in the redesign, which began rolling out in October 2012. Users should make sure their enlarged profile picture doesn’t look grainy or draw attention to previously unnoticeable imperfections.

The redesigned profiles also give more prominence to the user’s activity on Linked-In. Status updates, new connections, and shared links, which were displayed in the right column, are now just below the user’s profile picture. Skills and expertise have been moved toward the top and work experience toward the bottom.

Create a Company Page

LinkedIn is best known for its individual profiles, but users can also create company pages, which are similar to Facebook pages. Company pages offer familiar social networking features — status updates and the ability for users to follow a company — with a professional twist. Page owners can send status updates to followers from a specific company size, industry, seniority level, and more. Follower analytics are broken down into similar categories.

Explore Premium Features

LinkedIn’s free accounts allow users to build a network, search for other users, and join professional groups. Premium accounts, which start at $19.95 per month, extend these popular features and make it easier to connect with other users. Premium plans include a quota of InMail messages, which allow users to contact anyone on LinkedIn. Premium account holders can organize contacts into folders, see more search results, and get more information about who’s viewed their profile.

Connect Without Being Connected

Contacting a LinkedIn user who is not a first-degree connection typically requires an introduction via a mutual connection. Users with premium accounts can bypass the introduction by using InMail. Premium accounts also include OpenLink, a feature that, if enabled, gives any LinkedIn user the ability to contact the premium account holder at no cost.

Users with basic accounts can use LinkedIn groups to contact users with whom they aren’t connected. When joining a group, LinkedIn gives users the option to allow other group members to send them messages via LinkedIn. Unless this option is deselected, users who belong to the same group can contact each other at no cost by clicking “Members” from the group page and then “Send Message” when hovering over the intended recipient.

Another way to contact group members is to reply to an update posted by the intended recipient. By clicking “More,” then “Reply Privately” below the update, users can contact the person who posted the update even though they may not be a first-degree connection.

Change the Group Dynamics

LinkedIn groups can be a hit or miss. They are free to join and easy to leave, so kicking the tires is the best way to determine which ones are useful. Group members can increase the quality of conversation by contributing useful content and commenting on other group members’ posts.

“It’s a give and take,” says Daniel G. Zelonker, CCIM, broker associate at Mizrach Realty Associates in Miami. “Write back when you read a positive article from someone else and be informative. Make sure readers learn something they did not know before.”

View Profiles Anonymously

By default, LinkedIn users can see the names of other users who have viewed their profile. This feature is useful when networking but less so when researching prospective clients or the competition. To browse anonymously while logged in, go to the account settings page and click “Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile,” then select “be totally anonymous.”

Use Social Dashboards

Social media dashboards consolidate different social media platforms, giving users one place to view and update multiple accounts. HootSuite, a popular dashboard used for Twitter and Facebook, also integrates with LinkedIn. The dashboard allows users to update their LinkedIn company pages and personal profiles, follow activity from their network, and participate in LinkedIn group discussions.

Customize the News

LinkedIn Today, the site’s socially aggregated news section, delivers industry-specific content that can be accessed by clicking “News” on the main menu. Stories shared by the users’ connections and uploaded by subscribed sources such as the Wall Street Journal and CNBC appear at the top of the news feed.

Find Your Next Hire

CCIM members can use the CCIM network and CCIM Career Center to find qualified candidates for open positions. LinkedIn offers a way to broaden the search. Users can post job openings directly from their company page. Postings are geographically targeted, and rates start at $295 for a 30-day posting.

Dennis LaMantia is interactive marketing manager at the CCIM Institute.


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