In my first post, Online Profiles: Pain or Gain, we talked about the content of your online profile and we provided you with a handy dandy checklist to remind you of the important aspects. Today, we will discuss where to post your profile and why!
1. Your own blog – Do you appear on it? This is a given, but I am amazed at how many CRE professionals have created blogs, but nowhere on the blog can you find one iota of information about them. It is truly a mistake. Do not hide behind properties and companies, come forward and tell the reader who you are and be transparent. I know this because we manually verify every single member of theBrokerList and when we are given a domain name to a member site, it is quite puzzling when we cannot find any reference to their name or their bio. Please tell folks who you are, provide a professional image and showcase why the person reading your blog should hire you or send you a referral! Our business is about people!
2. Your corporate website – Present and accounted for? If you work for a company, be sure your bio is up to date and actually exists on the corporate site. I have actually had instances time and time again, where an employee states they work at a particular company, but when you look on the corporate site they cannot be found. That is a red flag when we are doing our manual verification. That would be a red flag to a potential client too! Oftentimes it is a typo, or misspelled name, or the webmaster has not gotten around to it. No matter what the reason, be sure you are present and accounted for on your own corporate website and that the links work and the information is accurate. Please be sure THE LINKS WORK! So many times I find broken links or inaccurate links on corporate sites. It is your bio, so take responsibility for it. If you are recently promoted or obtain a new credential like a CCIM, be sure you share that with your corporate office so that can be updated too!
3. Linkedin – Today’s White Pages. I believe Linkedin is today’s white pages for everyone in business. Now, many people consider Linkedin social media, but to me it is a virtual white pages where everybody checks everybody out! If I meet anybody at all, across any industry, I go to Linkedin immediately to see if they have a good profile or lame profile! I look up to see where they work, what they do, what groups they belong to and past company affiliations. I also look at their credentials and certifications. When verifying new members of theBrokerList, Linkedin offers much insight. Now, if the person is a fake profile, it is super easy to spot as well. This is also a good place to store and manage all of your Testimonials. After you receive the recommendation, I suggest copying and pasting it to your blog or website too! Why not? They are your recommendations to keep forever. You can also start a document in your Masterpiece of You folder called testimonials and each time you receive one, copy and paste it into that file.
4. Facebook – Get to know ME. I am not a huge fan of Facebook for business, BUT, I am a fan of having a human side to who I am on Facebook. If someone wants to find me and see what I about on the personal side, they can check me out. If they have a deeper interest in me, say an employer, they may want to see what kind of judgment I have. I am posting things that are offensive or am I thoughtful and careful. If you have strong opinions or voice political or religious comments, I STRONGLY suggest you keep your Facebook page set to private or whatever setting is for immediate family and friends ONLY. If you just post light-hearted, fun content or say the baby is cute, etc. you are okay to leave it public. I do not believe it helps anyone to say negative things on Facebook when it comes to business or being hired. More and more people turn to Facebook to check you out to learn what you are like socially and learn more about your judgment and opinions.
5. Twitter – Short and Very Sweet. Again, I look for people on Twitter all day long. Why? Because I want to see how really active they are with marketing themselves. To me, Twitter is a real litmus test of active social media users and virtual networkers. Twitter is a direct conversation to a person or company, but only if they follow you back. The point of Twitter is that it is a social media directory of almost every major corporation and product and well-known leaders, CEOs and the media. As a business or a brand, you should have your share of this free and powerful part of the stream of content. Twitter is the town crier or the way you can get those who know you to help you promote your message. If you are too busy to have a website of your own or a blog, I suggest getting your Twitter name. Names on social media are hard to obtain, depending on your name so I strongly recommend you stake your name claim and get your Twitter name, craft a thoughtful and accurate bio and add a great image that mimics your brand. For socially active online marketers and business people, Twitter is the bomb and as marketing professionals, marketing for our clients, you should have a Twitter site to do so.
6. Industry Specific Sites – People Do What They Do. Rule of thumb is that if you are from a particular industry, for example, commercial real estate, make sure you appear where people will look for people and firms that are in commercial real estate. It is not rocket science here. That is a pretty simple rule. For instance, if you are in commercial real estate, theBrokerList and/or Loopnet or Showcase or other sites where people view your profile or listings, you should be there. I do not mean just show up and I do not mean leave images blank, logos blank, website URL fields blank. It really does not reflect well on your ability to market for others, and that is what we all do for our clients. If you are not able to articulate what you do, or you are a poor writer, that is a breeze today. There are services that can do the writing for you. In fact, The News Funnel is now offering to help write for folks, so consider that option or ask a colleague to help you out, but do not leave your profile blank. And for heaven’s sake, do not leave the field marked URL blank. That is the worst thing you can do to put a brick wall up. Let people find out more about you. That is what URL links do!
7. Organization/Association Sites - Birds of A feather flock together. Now, I am referring to CCIM, SIOR, IREM, BOMI, etc. If you are a member of an organization and IF that organization has any online database, do not ignore the calls for updates. Take the 20 minutes out of your entire year (most ask for annual updates) and make sure your data is up to date. This is what you pay for with your membership and you need to keep your data current.
8. All Others. I can really go on into infinity here with social media sites like Instagram, Pinterest, Flicker, Yahoo, Google+, etc. There is absolutely no limit to how many sites you can join and add content to. The issue is how much is enough? It really depends on your time, staffing and desire. The above list is truly about the most mainstream today and the most commonly used for our industry in a concentrated area. My point is that most people will not go to Pinterest to find a property manager or a commercial real estate broker or shop for office space, at least not today, so Pinterest is optional. That is my way of looking at it. But, if you are a large brand, the brand should have a presence, subject to manpower and dollars. Remember, this is all marketing and outreach, so it is budget driven. There is no difference in comparing online exposure to mailing out brochures or post cards. It is all about money and resources.
I hope this list helps you to understand what is most essential today and there is no right or wrong as far as what you do, as it is your own personal style that is most important. However, in business today, you cannot be invisible and hard to find. Make yourself easy to find, approachable and open to new business and making those virtual online connections.
By: Linda Day Harrison