Many of us have routines that we repeat daily. Part of my routine, besides not checking a device for a period of time after getting up and a workout, includes reading the news and briefly scanning the social networks before I leave my apartment for the day (generally speaking, subterranean travel doesn’t lend itself — for now — to browsing anything).

On this particular morning, (yet again) a comment crossed my feed about LinkedIn. I always struggle with the resistance I encounter in any discussion about this platform with real estate agents — whether it be in a group where someone asserts that it’s a futile endeavor or a poolside chat in Maui.

People have different views of the real estate business, but I posit this: An underlying aspect of what we do on a daily basis as part of our business development is looking for links. I don’t mean in the literal URL sense, but we meet someone, and we look for commonalities to build rapport and build toward the conversation of asking for business.

So it seems counterintuitive to me that a group of individuals who often want to talk about their businesses (at times ad nauseum) intensely avoid a platform such as LinkedIn.

Here are some ways that I have found LinkedIn has been useful as an agent:

  1. Research: Meeting with someone new? Take a look at their profile along with the other Google-sleuthing one might do.
  2. Reconnecting: This works well with colleagues from a prior career or with alumni groups, as an example.
  3. Recommendations: Few things are more powerful than what others have to say about you. Good reviews make prove that you are someone that the writer recommends.
  4. Referrals and strategic alliances: Agents in other markets, other professionals that you might build relationships with and other alliances outside of real estate are all good examples of people you can find on LinkedIn.
  5. Notifications: They let you know that someone has changed jobs — what a great reason to reach out and congratulate someone.

Here’s the proof. These are some of my recent successful LinkedIn experiences from about the past six months:

  • A past client reached out because they wanted to buy in Manhattan.
  • Interview requests from individuals with real estate related podcasts (one based in the U.S., another based overseas).
  • “Can you help us buy a condo or brownstone?”
  • An alumni connection reached out to ask for help to buy an apartment.
  • A preliminary informational interview about joining the board of a local nonprofit (outside of real estate, believe it or not; there are other organizations in which I am an active volunteer or board member).

No matter the platform, providing value is key. LinkedIn is a great place where I can engage with people and speak about business, whether it’s knowledge of the upcoming pipeline of new developments or briefly sharing trends about business.

It’s not a place I would go to to discuss my dog not wanting to take a walk. It provides a potential wealth of context so communications could be customized and targeted.

For me, many of my clients are friends or become friends, and more often than not come via a referral. But many might not, and almost all will connect on LinkedIn. It is a logical step to connect on a professional basis. Most are just not into being my Facebook friend. I would not want to miss an opportunity outside of my other communications (newsletters, notes, etc.) to remain top of mind.

Understanding the platforms you choose to use and the audiences involved on each is key in learning how to maximize your return on using them.

I’m curious: What have your experiences (good or bad) been with LinkedIn if you use it? If you don’t, why not?

When not walking her dog, enjoying a cocktail or wearing fun patterns, Nicole Beauchamp — a born-and-bred Manhattanite — is a resource for friends, colleagues and clients who have decided to make New York their home.

Email Nicole Beauchamp.

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