Home Stager’s Guide to LinkedIn

Is your LinkedIn profile Optimized for lead generation? 7 out of 10 Real Estate Professionals don’t know these simple LinkedIn hacks…

LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for online marketing of your staging business. Back in 2006 and 2007 many Real Estate professionals ONLY used LinkedIn because it was a gold mine for making connections to other people in the business. LinkedIn can still be a very valuable tool for turbo charging your business, if you know how to use it correctly. I hired a social media professional to take a look at my business and tell me where I could improve. One of the things he focused on was my LinkedIn profile, which I wasn’t using to its full potential.

I asked him to guest post on this blog to share some of the LinkedIn optimization tricks he taught me with other Home Stagers. Some of this stuff is just OBVIOUS, some of it will blow your mind. Here’s Aaron…

Hi, my name is Aaron Houston and I met Rhonda after helping her brother with his online marketing efforts. Rhonda asked me to teach her readers a few of the basics of LinkedIn profile optimization so I’ll just use her brother’s profile as an example, since I’ve already optimized his profile (although he ended up changing a few of the things I did because he has more than one…career). You’ll see what I mean.

LinkedIn is a Search Engine

Many people fail to realize that LinkedIn is actually a search engine.

houston stager

People search for real estate professionals on LinkedIn and you want to make it easy for them to find you.

Someone could easily log on to LinkedIn and type into this search box, “Home Stager in Dallas,” or “Pasadena Interior Decorator,” or something applicable to your business. When you start optimizing your profile, you need to keep this “search engine” aspect in mind and determine what you want to be “found” for, i.e., what are your search keywords.

Rhonda’s brother works with veterans of the U.S. Navy Nuclear Program. One of the keywords he wanted me to optimize his profile for was the term “Navy Nuke.” If you go to LinkedIn and search on that term, his profile should be one of the top profiles that show up (although he has now started optimizing for his Law Firm and I’m not sure that the Navy Nuke optimization is still there…clients…). That’s what you want to do for your business.

So, step number one is to decide what keywords you want to optimize for.

Optimize The Headline

Click on profile, click on edit profile to begin the process of editing your LinkedIn headline. Here is Rhonda’s brother’s headline.

headline for stagers

  1. Use a professional looking picture wherein you look…employable.
  2. Use your first & last name.

The red arrow is pointing to your headline. You should naturally include keywords in your headline. There is a difference between “naturally” including keywords (as shown above), and keyword stuffing (which is usually not good for search optimization). You can see that I managed to naturally include the word “navy nuke” in Mr. Sanchez’ profile.

Of course, Mr. Sanchez is a man of many talents (scatter brained) and I had to optimize for his other businesses as well. You can include multiple keywords relating to the same niche or you can include multiple keywords relating to different niches, as we did with Mr. Sanchez.

Above your “enter” button on the keyboard is the “back slash” button. If you press shift and hit the back slash button, you will get this character “|”. I love to use the “|” character to separate keywords b/c it makes things look professional (unlike using b/c instead of “because”).

Who Are You? Who Do You Help? How Do You Help Them?

Your profile has a “background” section that you need to make full use of. This is the formula I employ to optimize profiles for clients.

backgroundIn each of the paragraphs above, you can see that Mr. Sanchez tells the reader, who he is, who he helps, and how he helps them. This is a very natural way to fill out this section of your profile and it helps you to easily & naturally incude keywords.

Let’s go back to Mr. Sanchez’ headline for a moment. I want to let you know that you can and should use the “who are you, who do you help, and how do you help them” formula for your headline. I was unable to utilize it for Mr. Sanchez b/c he is into so many different businesses.

If all he did was practice law, instead of using this as the headline: “Oil & Gas Attorney | Title Opinions | Founder – Navy Nuke Job Finder…,” I would have just put something like this in his timeline:

“As a Houston Oil and Gas Attorney I help production companies find oil by writing title opinions for them.”

My point is that the 3 part formula isn’t just for your background info. You should make use of it wherever possible.

A Quick Word About Localization

Notice above I said, “As a Houston Oil and Gas Attorney,” and not just “As an Oil and Gas Attorney.”

With regards to search engine optimization, it is going to be a lot easier to rank for the search term “houston oil and gas attorney,” as opposed to “oil and gas attorney.”

Local search is always easier simply b/c there is less competition. Keep this in mind when you make your keywords.

Which keyword would be more valuable to you, “Clearlake Interior Decorator,” or “Interior Decorator?”

Obviously, the person searching for “clearlake interior decorator” needs and is looking for your specific service. Whereas the person searching for “interior decorator” is less likely to be a buyer.

This is the value of localizing…on one hand, it’s just easier to rank for a longer tail keyword, and on the other hand the monetary value of that keyword is greater to your business.

Optimize The Profile Link

Some people have profile links that look like this:

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/livier-mora/a3/81b/852

…and some people have a vanity url that looks like this:

http://www.linkedin.com/in/dustinsanchez

I always help my clients get the prettier link; I believe it looks more professional. Imagine putting the first link on a business card, vs. putting the 2nd link on biz card.

To optimize your link:

  1. Hover over “Profile” at the top of your page until a drop down menu appears.
  2. Click “edit profile”
  3. Click “edit” located to the right of your profile link, and a page will appear similar to the one below.

Let’s discuss the red arrows from top to bottom…

profile link

  1. Ensure your profile is public so everyone can see it. This improves search optimization & improves your chances of meeting someone who you can help.
  2. Give yourself a vanity url using either your name, your business name, or the keywords you are optimizing for. I suggest your first and last name because businesses and careers change all the time (see Mr. Sanchez’ profile).
  3. You might also desire to create a LinkedIn profile badge to promote your LinkedIn page on your blog or website. I don’t really use this for my clients as I usually just code a simple badge for them. This blog has a LinkedIn “badge” (it’s really just an icon) at the top right corner. In any case, you want some kind of social media link buttons on all of your online properties b/c you want to foster relationship building for your brand. LinkedIn is not as popular as it used to be and I find that most of my Real Estate clients today are just killing it on Pinterest and Instagram, and of course…The Facebook. But depending on your profession, some social media avenues will be more useful than others.

Optimize Your Summary

I kind of glossed over this above so I want to take another look at the summary. Check out the 2 arrows.

summary optimize

You can see we made use of the 3 part formula to both optimize for search terms and build credibility in the respective industries. The bottom arrow points to a section I typed in to include more keywords for Mr. Sanchez. This still looks natural so you should make use of this method in accordance with your own keywords. Tailor this “specialites” section to your keywords, just don’t get carried away.

Adding A Call To Action

You should never post anything online without adding a call to action. I’m even going to include a call to action in this article.

Look at the Navy Nuke Job Finder paragraph in the summary above. I included a call to action by telling the reader how to go to Mr. Sanchez’ Facebook Group.

This can be done much better, but Mr. Sanchez was opposed to sounding too “advertise-y” in his profile and this was all I could talk him into…which is lame.

If you are a realtor or RE professional, then you should include some kind of call to action like: To set up a consultation call 555-777-8585.

Or, Visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/HomeStagingHouston, notice that also is a vanity url without all the extra numbers crammed into the web address (url).

You call to action doesn’t have to be extreme, you just need to give the reader an opportunity to learn more or easily contact you or just help them decide what to do next…why waste that opportunity?

Maybe you’ve been published some where, maybe you have a blog, maybe you’ve been given an award some where on line, and those would be great calls to action to give the reader….”To see one of my homes that sold after only one day on the market click here: http://www.houzz.com/viewReview/269424/Home-Staging-for-Houston-review,” it can be something as simple as that.

Adding Websites

When I started working with Mrs. Conchola, her profile contact info looked like this…

suboptimal

Which is sub-optimal.

LinkedIn allows you to add 3 websites. You do not want the anchor text of those links to be “company website” or “personal website”, therefore, when you select edit contact info, and you add or edit a website, you should always select “other” in the drop down menu and use relevant anchor text…see below…

now it's optimal
optimal

This helps with search engine optimization, looks more professional, and increases the chances that someone might atually click on those links. Would you rather visit “Personal Website” or “About Rhonda?”

I suggest you add everything that LinkedIn allows, including email, twitter, and phone  number (only add Twitter if you keep a professional tone on your twitter).

Optimize Your Work Experience

Enter all of your current and past work experience. This makes your profile more robust and helps you to connect with more people.

If you worked at Keller Williams 4 years ago and a visitor to your page also worked there at some point, they may be more inclined to connect with you. Keep in mind that LinkedIn is the professional version of the Kevin Bacon game, therefore, make as complete a profile as possible so as to increase your level of connectivity.

Just like we did in the headline & summary, you should naturally include keywords in your work experience.

Build LinkedIn Street Cred

Build credibility (social proof) by getting people to write you a recommendation. This sky rockets your search engine optimization and credibility.

The fastest and easiest way to obtain recommendations is by writing recommendations for other people. I find that if I write 10 recommendations, 3 of those people will reciprocate and write me a recommendation. Here are 3 recommendations that Mr. Sanchez wrote:

recommendations

Generally speaking, if you want someone to do something nice for you, you should do something nice for them. Also, I find it very relaxing and rewarding to just sit down once or twice a week and write a nice recommendation for someone I worked with. You should never pass up an opportunity to do something nice for someone…mainly because, that’s just an awesome way to live this short life we are given.

Just take an hour or two and find 20 people to write a recommendation for…AND DON’T EXPECT ANYTHING IN RETURN.

See if you can beat my 30% ratio.

When people visit your profile, these recommendations will show up and they will influence whether or not that person decides to work with you. Welcome to the Thank You Economy.

The Promised Call To Action

What I have told you above is really all you need to know to optimize your LinkedIn profile. You could learn more if you want to become a super advanced user, but I don’t think we need to go into that here. One thing I will say is that I don’t think any social media platform (including LinkedIn) is very powerful by itself as a stand alone property.

The true value of social media comes from integrating all of your online properties into one giant brand building beast.

fully integrated social media brand building beast

Get the picture? All of your properties linking to each other, all of your properties have active accounts with engaged audiences, people sharing and liking your content all over the internet, linking to one of your YouTube videos from your Facebook, having your twitter profile link on your LinkedIn, sharing your LinkedIn post on your G+ account…that’s how I help my clients build brand domination.

So here’s the call to action…are you ready…

If you enjoyed this post please comment below, press one of the share buttons below (somebody’s LinkedIn profile in your network needs this post).

Also, Rhonda has asked me to regularly post a few more guides like this one that are relevant to internet marketing for Real Estate professionals. So if that is something you are interested in, then you will want to like Rhonda’s awesome Facebook page, where she will be posting any updates to the marketing tutorial section.

Please remember to share and like this article…hey it’s really my only call to action (see example illustration below).

-Aaron

how about a share buddy

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s