Archive for the ‘Linkedin’ Category

8 Types of People to Connect With on LinkedIn

Chances are that when you first joined, only a few people in your “circle” were on LinkedIn- but it’s popularity has steadily increased creeping towards the popularity of Facebook. It’s become a pretty user-friendly interface with options to import your contacts and integrate your social media profiles as much (or as little) as you want. So if you haven’t done so already, take a morning off the Social Network to sync your circle with LinkedIn.

Two things to keep in mind before taking the plunge…

BE SELECTIVE with your professional network. Take the time to go through all your contacts before inviting them to connect. Don’t import people from your various accounts that may be detrimental to your image; like business ventures that didn’t go well, or that ex of yours you don’t talk to anymore, or that person from high school that posts inappropriate anecdotes to his Twitter Feed (which he has syndicated with LinkedIn). Your connections reflect upon who you are. While LinkedIn is becoming more ‘socialized’- leave the merely social to Facebook and be selective of your ‘professional network’.

BE CREATIVE with your network, too. Think outside the box! Your LinkedIn NetworReading List on LinkedIn Profilek should be a lot more than just the people you worked with at the last few jobs. Fill out your Reading List (by Amazon), join interesting Groups, write a unique Summary (with some of your resume keywords of course), and add impactful Experiences outside of your career track.

Here’s some suggestions to start widening your circle:

1. Teachers. Find and connect with teachers you had good relationships with in  school. Or, if you’re still in school- get it while it’s hot! It’s a great place to start with asking for Recommendations if you haven’t yet entered the workforce full time.

2. Fellow Students. If you had group projects, or were in a cooperative setting, having a classmate or two vouch that you’re a team player who can meet or beat expectations is something prospective employers will notice.

3. Successful Friends and Relatives (i.e. your “mentors”)- there’s a ‘friends’ option to request a connection on LinkedIn for a reason. It doesn’t matter what industry they’re in or what kind of job of they have- it’s always good to be connected to people with lots of connections! The six degrees of LinkedIn separation never cease to impress me. Oh, and the, “I saw on LinkedIn that you know so-and-so” makes for great office chit-chat or an ice-breaker on an interview!

4. Clients. Request a recommendation for your work on their accounts now, while it’s fresh in their mind and you’re fresh in theirs! Your company might even use it as a testimonial & it certainly reflects well on them too. It will also be a nice accumulation of recommendations over time naturally, instead of a mad-rush if you’re unemployed later.

5. Your ‘Freebies’. This is especially important for consultants, and often overlooked! Make sure to connect with the people you give your advice, support and/or guidance to (i.e. your “mentees”). Maybe it’s a local diner you love, or a charity group you volunteer for- whomever benefits from your knowledge (or simple ambition to be a good person) can repay the favor ten-fold with a recommendation on LinkedIn!

6. Co-workers. It doesn’t need to be an obvious swap- but pay attention to who you enjoy working with and why, and start giving recommendations. Link Karma will surely come your way.

7. Subcontractors, Vendors, Partnerships. If your company hired another company to do work, and you coordinated frequently with someone on their team, send them a ‘connect’ request! Provide or request a referral from them, depending what the relationship was. You never know when your NEW boss will ask you if you know someone that does ______; and it would be nice to say ‘Yes, I’ll email them now’.

8. People You Don’t Know…Yet. Under your profile Settings, set your privacy controls to be open. It’s beneficial to let anyone and everyone  browse and find you- you never know who might be looking. Also, be sure to carefully indicate who can contact you for what (i.e. reconnecting, business opportunities, consulting, job offers, etc.)- there is an unspoken rule of the acceptance of these intentions.

** Helpful Tip **

A lot of people aren’t sure what to write in their recommendation, even though they enjoyed working with you and are happy to give you one.  Maybe writing is just not their thing, so help them out. Instead of just sending the auto request, give them tips on what to write by saying things like:

“I was hoping you could write a recommendation for me based on the work I did for you on xyz project, particularly about ________ and how we handled ____________.”

OR, if your relationship is more casual, feel free to provide them with a list of bullet points to touch on (i.e. punctuality, organization, creativity, plays well with others, etc.)

Take a little time to get creative and connect. Continuously building your online reputation will establish you as a leader in your space, and as someone who is passionate about who you are and what you do. Chances are you will strengthen your current relationships and job prospects for the future, too.

Is there a group of people to connect with that I’m forgetting? Add them to the comments below!

Ten Things You Need to Know About SEO

  1. Over 70% of online consumers start their search for products, services, and information by typing in what they need on a search engine. You probably can’t afford not introducing your company and yourself to this process (AND an enormous new audience!)
  2. Most internet users don’t bother clicking past the first couple search results pages (many don’t even bother reading past the first one!) so it’s clear why a good position on the first page is paramount to your success.
  3. Unlike paying for a banner advertisement or a sponsored listing on a search page, you can’t buy a good position in the search engines. What you can do is invest in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to target visitors, provide publicity, exposure and revenue.
  4. While you cannot actually buy the keywords that will optimize your website, it helps to imagine that you are in fact paying for them. This will help you narrow down your list until you have the ones that will most effectively drive traffic to your site and provide the most return on investment.–  For example, “BC apartments” might have a TON of global searches that aren’t relevant to a Boston
    broker because they could be searches for apartments in British Colombia rather that Boston College.
  5. When choosing a keyword, you must understand that the more popular the keyword is, the more competitive it will be to achieve a high ranking for it. Typically, very general keywords tend to be more competitive.  For instance, “Apartments” is extremely hard to rank for, but “South End Apartments” is much easier to achieve a high ranking for.  Take advantage of the free Google Keywords Tool to determine a keyword’s difficulty rating in Local and Global Search Volumes.  If you are a local company, place your focus on ranking high in your Local Search Volume and don’t worry about how you rank globally.
  6. Don’t be afraid to use specific keywords. With the advent of Google Instant, online consumers are naturally becoming more intelligent searchers.  The search results morph in real time for each letter typed into the Google search box, so often consumers end up typing in very specific search terms.  Search results now will appear and change almost instantly as the keyword phrase in the search box is edited.  This will start getting rid of the need to scroll through pages of results; rather consumers will just refine their search and focus on Long Tail Keywords.
  7. After you determine how competitive a keyword is, you have to figure out how much traffic it will drive to your site. Luckily, there is no need to hire a psychic to predict the success of each keyword.There are two ways to predict the traffic from a keyword:
    1. Use industry standard keyword research tools such as Overture or WordTracker. These won’t be 100% accurate, but they offer a basic estimation of traffic flow.
    2. Set up a Google Adwords (pay-per-click) campaign that ties into web analytics. While Pay-Per-Click advertising is not the same as SEO because it is paid for, you can use Adwords to see the exact keywords that were typed in the search engine by a visitor.  To start out, make sure to check the setting “broad match” so that you allow a variety of keywords to prompt your advertisement.  While you have to pay for this service (you can rank for the first paid advertisement slot within 24 hours) it will help you learn about the keywords that will benefit your website.
  8. After you pick your keywords, it is important to make sure you aren’t just shoving keywords into your site without good content. Even if your site is easily found by search engine robots, you must have unique, correct, specific, and appealing content in order to entice online consumers to actually stay on your site.  Updating your content often is also important; if you regularly update your website, you are giving consumers more reason to return. One of the best ways to ensure new content is to blog.  We recommend blogging at least twice a week to keep a constant stream of content flowing.  Search engine robots will also visit your site more often as it is updated, leading to a quicker index in the future.

  9. One of the hardest parts of SEO is acquiring incoming links. The only way you can make sure that other people link your website is to have good content. This is something that is sort of out of your hands, but by networking and blogging, you can often acquire incoming links.  It is important to create social media accounts on popular websites and add links to your website on your profiles.  Good websites to make accounts on are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. It is also helpful to add your website to directories like Yelp, Google Places, Yp.com and industry-specific directories like Angieslist.com. You should also register your website’s blog on blog directories like Blogcatalogue.com.
  10. Do not try to fool the search engines. While it may seem appealing and easy just to stuff your website full of keywords to up your traffic, it is the easiest way to get your website penalized or even banned from search engines completely. Search engines need their results to reflect accurately on content, not on link farms, alt text spamming, cloaking or keyword stuffing.

Helpful Links

http://www.roi-seo.com/seo-choose-keywords.html

http://ezinearticles.com/?How-to-Choose-the-Right-Keywords-For-SEO&id=4254547

http://www.content4reprint.com/internet/webmasters/why-use-seo-search-engine-optimization.htm

Where can this really go?

I saw this post on a Yahoo Group that I’m a part of. It’s amazing to me that anyone would even consider this business in 2009.

Hello to all
I am looking for some help. I’m looking for an investor or angel investor. I am looking to start a hobby store in my area. What I would be selling is. All kinds of sports cards. Video games and acssereis, (I think he meant Accessories) and lastly all kinds of coins. If there is any one that could help me. I would be very thankful for the help. If you would like to contact me, my email address is xxx@yyy.com or my phone # is 555.222.4444. if I don’t answer my phone please leave me a message. thank you for the help.

Sincerely.

Wow, this brings back memories. I was a hobbyist when I was a kid. Baseball cards were all the rage. There were coin collectors and memorabilia shops, but those are tough businesses these days. Let’s look at why.

Well, it’s obvious that the internet has changed things in big ways. eBay really killed the collectibles market. Think about it. If you wanted a rare coin and you live in the countryside, well, you’re really pretty limited in your options. So, there’s the local hobby shop or memorabilia shop. Maybe you have a book that tell the prices for things. Remember those books? They were published annually and gave you the going rate for a 1989 Gary Carter baseball card in Mint Condition. PUBLISHED YEARLY.

These days, you can go online and see the last 100 transaction where a Gary Carter baseball card changed hands. The market and the buyers in that market have MUCH more information. The result is that people know what they should pay and the margins are razor thin.ebay-logo

Now you’re thinking, ‘I’m a realtor. What’s this got to do with me?’ Remember, the buyers you’re working with have access to information. They have more than they ever did before and they can get their hands on more every day. The thing about real estate is that you work on a percentage. The guy at the office around the corner is likely charging the same rate for his services. Probably 5 or 6 percent. So, you don’t have to worry too much about eBay coming along and taking your business. In fact, you’ve been able to sell a house on eBay real estate for years and the impact on the industry has been small.

This means that to get ahead of the other real estate agents in your town, you need to capture the market. You need to get your marketing in front of more people. Then you need to provide great service. Now, we’re here to help you with the first part, Real Estate SEO is how you capture more of the market. Providing great service is your job.

You should also realize that the buyer can find out a lot about homes and they can find out a lot about you! They can look you up on LinkedIn and Facebook. They can Google your name and your real estate firm’s name. You need to have your Social Media profile in order, just in case someone goes out looking for you. Luckily we wrote a post about this a while back. Check out how to do social media right.

Lastly, realize that we’re not going into hobby shops any more. We’re shopping on the internet. We’re searching on Google and letting our fingers do the walking. The Real Estate search starts on the web. Realtors come second. Yes, it’s true. The first thing they’re going to know about you is that they found your site and it was helpful! If your site isn’t findable then you need to do some real estate SEO work NOW. If, when they find your site, they’re leaving or not signing up, that’s an issue of design. We can help there too.

Thanks for reading.

The right and wrong way to do social media

Today, I got an email, generated by Facebook (or really by someone I’m friends with on Facebook) suggesting that I become a Facebook fan of a deli meat. Nope. I only wish I was kidding. I did not choose to become a fan. I’d never even tasted the stuff.

In stark contrast, my real estate agent (the one who I worked with when I bought my home) recently sent me a request to write a recommendation for him on Linked In. So, I did. I wrote him a glowing recommendation saying that I’d bought and sold and bought real estate again with his services helping me along the way and that I’d be happy to provide a direct reference if anyone wanted to call or email me.social media for real estate

Well, let’s examine these two instances. In the first case, someone asked me to become a fan (doing so requires 2 mouse clicks on Facebook, so long as you’re already logged in). The second required about 15 minutes of my time. I had to think and write a paragraph about the realtor. I wanted it to really be something that helped him.

You see, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do Social Media. This is true for real estate and for other industries as well. When you’re in professional services, you’re better off having some strong and heart felt recommendations, from people who really mean it, than just having followers, fans, or friends. On both Linked In and Facebook, it’s easy to have people write positive reviews about your company. If you need help setting up a Facebook fan page, give us a call.

The idea that you need 1,000,000 friends and/or followers is fine, but what you really need to start with is some good friends and some great testimonials. Ask some past clients to write recommendations, not just on Linked In, but use the space on Facebook and other sites to do the same.

The fact is that lots of people use Facebook and Linked In nowadays to ‘check you out.’ If someone recommended a real estate agent to me, the first thing I would do is look for a website, then I’d check them out on Linked In, then maybe Facebook if I hadn’t found anything yet. I’d also probably Google their name, just to be safe.

I once heard a story about a person Googling a realtor’s name and finding an article about them tampering with a gas meter. I doubt they got hired.

So, it comes down to this: As much as you can, shape what people will find about you when they search for you on the web. This includes Social Media, of course. BTW, if you look for Rich Haen, my real estate agent on Google, you find his website, then his Facebook page. He’s learned well!

Social Media for Real Estate

If you are in the real estate business and you are involved or are thinking of being involved in social media, you’ve come to the right place. You may have found yourself thinking that with so much new stuff out there, which sites are the right ones for you?  Should you join Facebook? How about LinkedIn? How much good does a Trulia profile do? And what the heck is Twitter?

Social media is a great way to optimize an online marketing campaign, for sure. Though I advise you to tread with caution. It’s not for everyone. Meaning that if you are involved in real estate seo, have a well functioning website and blog, then yes, social media is a great next step and something that you should take advantage of. However, if you either (a) do not have a website with good usabilitly, and (b) are not committed to being involved online, then social media is not for you. Here’s why: Social media is not just some profile you create so people can stumble across your name. No. Social media should involve you actively engaging with your readers, fans, friends and followers.

One of the most important aspects, besides engagement, is listening. You need to pay attention to what people are saying online. Whether it’s through direct communication or setting up something like Google alerts and responding in turn, you need to listen and respond appropriately.

Social media groups for real estate:

  • Facebook: You can create a facebook profile for every agent. Each should manage their own because it would be too much for one person to manage. Create one Facebook “Fan Page” for your business, to which you can upload blog posts (your own and those worth sharing), you can share links, invite friends etc. Facebook provides a very detailed and useful help section if you need guidance on setting up accounts. Take a look at existing real estate pages for an example and take the best practices from each.
  • Twitter: You may have heard it referred to as a “microblog”, and what you write is referred to as “Tweet”. Oprah even joined Twitter…but that doesn’t mean that you have to be on there too, nor that your readers are part of her followers. However, Twitter offers a great opportunity for realtors to listen to what home buyers, sellers and renters may be looking for or need. If you search the term real estate, house, or apartment via www.search.twitter.com you can see all the things that people have to say. Follow those people in your market and respond by offering advice, resources, tips etc. It will go a long way.Tip: please be sure to post a photo and write a brief, professional bio. Most won’t follow you if you don’t have one.
  • YouTube: You don’t have to be Susan Boyle to become an internet sensation, but as a realtor it’s really easy to pick up a camera and shoot a video of your open house, a neighborhood, or a walk-through and then post that video on your site, youtube, and/or vimeo, and others of the sorts.
  • Flickr or Picasa: Very similar to posting online videos, I encourage you to create an account for your agency and post photos of homes or at least your featured homes.
  • LinkedIn: Another online networking community. How’s it different? LinkedIn is much more professional than, say, Facebook. You can only post your employment background and up to 3 links. What’s great about this group is that you can make a direct connect with your blog through their applications, and you can join additional real estate related groups. This way, each time you write a blog post worth sharing or you have other exciting news, you can share that information with those groups that you joined.
  • Trulia: Like Zillow and Zip Realty, Trulia is already one of the most widely used real estate resources online. So why not go where you know your audience is? You should sign up for a free account. Create your profile and all that jazz, and recycle your old blog posts here (liven them up with some new content etc) and re-post those article through your Trulia blog.
  • Other real estate sites include hubpages.com, squidoo.com, and activerain.com. Whenever possible also join local groups through either your local paper, community centers, chamber of commerce etc.

Within these social groups it’s important to remember that you should create and complete your profiles to show that you are there for the long run. No one will care what you have to say if you only show up and leave a message once a month. Instead you should engage your readers, follow your fans, and listen to what people have to say.

Social media like all relationships requires time to build, consistency and an ongoing effort. You don’t have to tackle all of these sites at once, take a stab at what you can handle, distribute some work throughout your team, and build up from there when ready.

Like its sibling, real estate SEO, social media will (in due time) help drive quality traffic and ultimately increase quality leads to your site. The great thing about social media is that people will only follow you or engage with you if they are truly interested, so that means that those who engage are already a good lead. You’ll be amazed by what you learn, and you’ll be even more amazed when you see how much traffic these sites will bring over time.

Are there any groups that I missed that you would suggest? What groups are you currently involved in? What have been some suprising things you’ve learned?

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