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Homes.comIf you’re interested in expanding your client base, start getting active on LinkedIn. As the foremost professional social networking site, it is popular among job seekers but underutilized by professionals, for whom the network offers great resources for making connections both with other professionals and potential new clients.

Why should you start getting active on LinkedIn? The over 100 million professionals active on the network, including around 12 million active users every day, represents a wealth of potential to form industry contacts, meet new clients and get referrals and recommendations. LinkedIn profiles also rank high in Google search results, so when new leads are scoping you out, they will see a professional profile that you can fill with your awards, recognition and recommendations from past clients and fellow real estate professionals. LinkedIn also offers resources designed specifically for the real estate professional, most notably the Real Estate Pro app (or Rofo) which allows you to share your work and completed deals, track your market, promote your expertise and develop new business, as well as keep up with the transactions of other real estate professionals in your area.

The potential benefits of using LinkedIn are clear, but you want to make sure you are utilizing this fast-growing social network to the greatest possible extent. Here is a quick step by step guide to maximizing your effectiveness on LinkedIn:

  • Fill out your profile completely. The more information you can include, the better. Remember, this will appear as a top result when people search for your name, so make this space count by including not only information about your professional history, like your experience and certifications, but also all the awards and recognition you have garnered. Think of LinkedIn as presenting your resume to potential clients, and putting your competition on notice that you are a major contender in the field.

  • Find people you know. LinkedIn supports the upload of many different contact file formats, so upload your contact lists and see which of your connections are already on LinkedIn. If you have clients, prospects or other contacts who don’t already have a LinkedIn profile, you can email them through LinkedIn inviting them to sign up. Remember, each contact you have on LinkedIn opens you up to dozens more contacts, as it puts you within the network of your connections’ connections!
  • Get recommendations. One of the best sources LinkedIn offers is the ability to ask for recommendations from your contacts, which are then displayed on your profile. Another benefit to recommendations on LinkedIn is that they improve your standing in the LinkedIn services feature, a directory of service providers that have been recommended by other users in your network!
  • Use LinkedIn Answers. Like the Questions and Answers Community, LinkedIn Answers is a great resource to connect with prospects and demonstrate your knowledge and expertise.

LinkedIn is a free resource for real estate professionals to connect with consumers and others in the industry. It may not get the high traffic volume of social networks like Twitter or Facebook, but LinkedIn is growing fast and is becoming a more valuable resource all the time—for you and your competitors. Get the upper hand by creating a LinkedIn profile today.