If you don’t have an account on LinkedIn or you’re wondering what the value is in being there, consider this: Your LinkedIn profile is one of the first things people see when they look you up online. It’s your opportunity to make a great first impression and control the conversation, as long as you’re using it correctly.

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So how do you make LinkedIn work for you?

First, use a professional headshot that is up-to-date. If it’s been more than two to three years since you had it taken, it’s time for a new one. When people see you in the real world, you want them to recognize you. LinkedIn is not the place for a vacation selfie, a cute photo of you as a baby or that glamour shot you had taken in the ’90s. I’m sure you rocked those shoulder pads but save that for a Throwback Thursday. Bonus tip – you should be using that same headshot across all platforms.

Your profile photo should measure 400px by 400px.

A LinkedIn profile looks empty without a banner. Make sure yours complies with the advertising rules of your local real estate board. Don’t put anything important in the bottom left-hand corner – your headshot will obscure it. If you aren’t sure what kind of banner you want, check out some of your competition for inspiration.

If your office doesn’t have someone to assist with graphics, one easy way is to use Canva. The banner should measure 1584 x 396.

It’s critical that your contact information is accurate. If you’ve recently changed brokerages or if real estate is a second career for you, make sure that change is reflected on LinkedIn. If a potential client looks you up only to find that according to your LinkedIn profile, you’re in college or managing a shoe store, this does not do wonders for your credibility.

Start posting something of interest two to three times per week. A great new listing is one thing, but people will tune you out if all your posts are sales related. Talk about what you’re seeing in the market, changes in the industry and third-party articles you think are worth reading, such as renovations that affect the value of your home.

If you’re not sure about what to post, check out some of your competition (yes, it’s a running theme) and see what they’re posting. Look at the level of interaction their posts are getting, which is a good gauge for how interesting their content is.

Connect with past clients. They are on LinkedIn and it’s your opportunity to remind them of your expertise.

Next, it’s time to put the social in social media. Interact with people. Like and comment on articles you find interesting. People you’re connected to will not only be seeing what you’re posting, but also what and who you’re interacting with.

Remember, activity on LinkedIn will pay off over time. It doesn’t have to require a large investment of time, but set it up correctly, take part in the conversation and you should find it leads to results.

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