Unlike most other social media sites, LinkedIn is geared specifically to building business relationships. According to the company, LinkedIn connects the world's professionals to make them more productive and successful. With a claim like that, it’s hard to imagine why you wouldn’t tap into this valuable resource to promote your commercial real estate business. Backing up that claim is the more than 500 million members worldwide, including executives from every Fortune 500 company. LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network on the Internet. If you aren’t active on Linkedin, you may be missing out on a lot of leads and the opportunity to promote yourself as a market leader.
Not just more social media
We’ve heard so much about social media that it’s easy to become anesthesized to the idea. However, social media when done right can be a huge contributor to generating interest with prospective investors, buyers and leasers. Not every social media channel is equally as effective in generating leads and this is where LinkedIn really has set itself apart. Recently, Hubspot, a software company that helps business attract, engage, and delight customers, conducted a study of over 5,000 businesses about social media usage. What the company found was that traffic from LinkedIn generated a lead conversion rate that was almost 3 times higher than Facebook and Twitter.
High clickthrough rates and high-quality leads compared to other social networks is what LinkedIn does best. The platform lends itself to this by providing the ability to precisely target campaigns and reach the right audience. Since anyone that’s active on the platform has built a fairly robust profile, that’s a lot of information for a marketer to use for zeroing in on those LinkedIn members that would be most likely to be interested in commercial real estate. In general, professional members will be very receptive to business messages, particularly if the content you’re offering can help them solve a business problem.
Three Great Opportunities to Promote Your Business
As with any marketing initiative, before you jump head first into a LinkedIn marketing program, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got a well baked commercial real estate marketing plan. A marketing plan will help to ensure that your LinkedIn marketing efforts are working with other social media efforts (LinkedIn and Twitter have a great synergy) as well as with all of your other marketing efforts. LinkedIn should be just one part of your overall lead generation program and it should complement your on-going email, postcards and newsletters programs. Don’t be afraid to build out your plan for 6 months or more, you’ll want time to monitor and analyze your results and then adjust, test and refine your strategy
1. Company Page
Begin your LinkedIn presence building your LinkedIn company page. You can think of this page as part of your business website that resides within LinkedIn. This will be the jumping off spot for your marketing efforts, so it should include interesting graphics, details of your offerings and maybe even job opportunities (attracing great employees from LinkedIn can improve your word of mouth reach).
Invite your contacts to visit your page. Employees, customers, vendors and partners should be encouraged to go to your page and then you should encourage them to follow it by using LinkedIn’s paid targeted advertising. As appropriate, ask key clients that have had a good experience with your business to recommend your services on your LinkedIn company page. These recommendations serve as powerful testimonials for your business.
Don’t just build your page and walk away. Keep your page compelling and interesting with status updates about your industry or business. This takes some effort and requires ongoing management, but it is the most effective way to grow followers for your page and increase your company’s visibility. One thing to keep in mind is the effectiveness of video on LinkedIn. Don’t be afraid to post videos that will hold interest for your commercial real estate audience.
2. Get Active in Groups
LinkedIn groups should be another part of LinkedIn strategy. Groups are like business societies within the platform that help position your company as an industry thought leader. You can leverage Groups in two ways.
As an active participant in groups that are already established and relevant to your business, you get the opportunity to weigh-in on topics that others have started. Or, if you prove to be a thought leader, group owners may ask you to start a conversation.
Another alternative is to start your own group. Here again, you’ll want to get the word out to employees, clients, vendors, partners and others with influence in the commercial real estate industry. Influencers can serve as ambassadors to help recruit members and to lead discussions that will make your group active and relevant.
As an added benefit as a LinkedIn group owner, you have the ability to message your members each week. These messages go to their email inboxes and are a great way to deliver news about a hot property or tie-in the other pieces of your marketing efforts.
3. Paid Advertising
Linkedin offers seven different ways to to help raise brand awareness, build relationships, drive traffic and build qualified leads through paid advertising. Delving into each of these would warrant its own post, but for ease of discussion, these can be divided into two major types, Self-Service Advertising or Managed Campaigns.
LinkedIn’s self-service solutions lets you launch a targeted campaign by setting your own budget, and selecting your goals for either clicks or impressions. You also have the ability to stop or start your ads at any time using the platform’s campaign manager. Ad formats supported under this model are sponsored content, sponsored InMail and text ads.
Managed Campaigns on LinkedIn enable you to partner with a dedicated LinkedIn team to create exclusively placed, highly visible ads for premium audiences. The company’s team will work with you to fine tune your targeting and create personalized content, though it may be best to work with a commercial real estate marketing company that really knows your industry. Managed campaign formats include sponsored content, sponsored InMail, dynamic ads, and display ads.
Regardless of how much you choose to engage your marketplace through Linkedin, one thing is certain, there’s plenty of options. Starting with a company page and some professionally written regular posts, that can be re-purposed to Twitter, might be an easy first step. Or, maybe you want to go all in and use LinkedIn's paid advertising solutions. Regardless of your preferred method, don’t wait. The opportunities that await shouldn’t be ignored.