Curious about generating real estate leads on LinkedIn? Here’s a quick story that will immediately sell you on why it should be one of your main lead generation strategies:
As the managing editor for The Close, I get at least a dozen pitches per day in my inbox. If I don’t get to them immediately (which I never do), they quickly get buried under an avalanche that I rarely have time to dig through. It’s just not worth my time.
LinkedIn, on the other hand, is an entirely different story. Real estate agents who take the extra effort to find me on LinkedIn and send me a message are generally rewarded with some kind of response. After all, if you take the time to add me to your network, or spend a dollar or two to send me a message, I can be fairly sure you’re at least not a spammer. Even better, when I finally have a few minutes to check LinkedIn, your message will be one of four or five, instead of one of four or five hundred.
A no-brainer for lead gen, right? If you want to learn more, check out some of the strategies top-producing real estate agents are using to 10x their response rate on LinkedIn below.
1. Unlike Other Social Media, LinkedIn Is Designed for Business
While there are more active users on these platforms, people use them to unwind and socialize, not to think about stressful and complicated problems like buying or selling a home.
In fact, since so many people use LinkedIn when they’re in business mode, you might be surprised to learn that some people might even use it to help find an agent to sell their home. Even if they find you on another site, there is a good chance they’ll check out your LinkedIn before calling you back!
Here’s Claire Groome, a broker at Sotheby’s International Realty in Manhattan, to explain:
“LinkedIn is a terrific platform that’s actually just about business relationships. It’s become very popular for making connections and searching for a broker. I have so many people comment on my LinkedIn page and articles I’m quoted in or listings that get posted. It’s the one platform I can post away about real estate and I don’t feel like I have to be careful about posting about my business! Many clients who have been referred to me always visit my LinkedIn page before they call, which tells me they do their homework before picking up the phone.”
2. Agents Can Use LinkedIn to Easily Contact High Net Worth People
One of the most frustrating things about trying to break into luxury real estate is not having the Rolodex that some agents start with. After all, no matter how talented you are, the agent down the hall who has a dozen millionaires in their sphere has a natural advantage. They already have a foot in the door to get that all-important, first high net worth client.
All you need to do is start connecting with people in their sphere, then add the high net worth person you want to pitch. Or, even better, sign up for a LinkedIn Premium or Business account, which gets you five or 10 InMails (LinkedIn’s paid messaging feature) per month, respectively, along with unlimited people searches, competitor data, industry news, analytics, and more.
Sure, it’s not free, but just remember your message will be one among four or five, instead of one among four or five hundred if you had sent an email instead.
Warburg Manhattan’s Gill Chowdhury built up his network with cold outreach on LinkedIn and even scored a $3 million dollar deal from his efforts:
“I started real estate with no network in place and I started doing rentals on Craigslist. I have successfully made the transition from a rental agent to a sales agent, which started in sales. LinkedIn has been a factor in my transitioning to working heavily on the sell side. It’s a wonderful time we live in. The opportunity to DM a CEO or high-level executive exists. In cold sales, you need to get someone’s attention and LinkedIn provides a platform to make that happen.
“I recently noticed that a prominent businessman whose attention I was seeking looked at my LinkedIn profile. This was a great sign. From there, I was able to focus more on this individual to the point where I was hired to sell his $3 million-plus property without ever meeting him, and with no phone interview. My messages were powerful enough to convince him, and LinkedIn was a key part in that opportunity coming to fruition. This is the property I closed.”
3. LinkedIn Lets Agents Target Leads by Professional, Instead of Personal, Relationships
While it’s true that some buyers or sellers like working with people who share the same interests, many don’t care who your favorite baseball team is. Instead, they want to relate with you on a professional level.
For example, successful people tend to donate to their alma maters, and also value working with alumni. This is why joining alumni associations can be a great networking tool. Of course, you can also join alumni associations on LinkedIn.
So now instead of seeing that you both prefer rose over white wine, they will see that you went to the same university. For many people, this is a more powerful connection.
Here’s Warburg’s Gannon Forrester on how he leverages these kinds of professional associations to get leads on LinkedIn:
“LinkedIn is the 21st century version of cold calling, but it’s more targeted and can be more personal. I look for people who are in my network or connected to my network and send them direct messages. I will try to find some common ground. Either we went to the same school, NYU, or they work in the real estate field, or they are doing something I am really interested in and can talk about with them. Of course, I will make sure to mention that if they ever are looking to invest in the Manhattan real estate market or just have any questions, I am always available to talk.”
4. LinkedIn’s Lower Signal-to-Noise Ratio Means Your Content Stands Out More
One of the biggest problems with using social media to generate leads is that it’s too damn popular to get eyeballs on your content. Blog posts, Instagram Stories, and videos all take time, effort, and sometimes money to make. Getting zero engagement on big social media platforms makes them almost worthless.
That might seem like an oxymoron, but spend even a few days trying to get engagement on your Facebook page for content you worked hard on and you’ll see what we mean.
There’s just too many people vying for attention for anything but a fire hose of content to get any engagement at all. Of course, that backfires too because your friends and sphere will very quickly grow tired of your constant posting. The algorithm will learn that people dislike your content, and you’re back to square one.
Since there are fewer people trying to impress the same audience and you don’t have to compete with cute puppies and kittens, LinkedIn can get you a much higher engagement rate than other social media platforms.
Cathleen Callen, an agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Chicagoland, gets great engagement from posts on LinkedIn:
Cathleen primarily uses Facebook and LinkedIn to promote her real estate business and some of her bigger deals have come from her presence on LinkedIn. For a while, she was doing a Friday post called “Real Estate Thoughts for Friday” to stay more engaged with her audience, and recently closed on a deal over a million dollars with someone who reached out to her from it. Cathleen also tries to share mortgage information or any market trends to keep the content focused more on the business side of things, but will also occasionally post about upcoming open houses.
If you’ve been slaving away on Facebook or Instagram for the past few months, you know just how rare this kind of engagement is on those platforms.
5. LinkedIn Is a Great Place to Post Open Houses & Other Events
That low signal-to-noise ratio means that other kinds of posts besides articles tend to do very well on LinkedIn. For example, that open house announcement you posted on Facebook that got no likes might have a better chance of connecting on LinkedIn.
Coldwell Banker agent Jasmine Ransome gets most of her engagement on LinkedIn through posting open houses and other events:
She has a listing on the market and has an open house coming up. Using third-party apps like OpenHomePro, she can create a new property-specific open house page and then share it on LinkedIn instead of creating an original content post. For her, LinkedIn tends to drive more engagement.
6. LinkedIn WANTS You to Connect With People
Maybe the best reason LinkedIn is so great for real estate agents is that the app is designed for you to connect with relevant people. Think about it. LinkedIn can only thrive as a platform if people can connect to professionals who will help them advance their career. That means they are actively trying to set you up with buyers and sellers or others who can refer you to them.
Dating sites live or die based on the same strategy. If you get dates, the site does well. If you don’t, it will fail.
LinkedIn can see who you’re reaching out to via email or even who is visiting your website. It will then sometimes offer that person as a potential connection on the platform.
Mary E. Abrams, a Coldwell Banker agent from Winter Park, Florida, has noticed that LinkedIn even suggests people who visit a website and don’t leave enough contact information:
“I have a lead who visited my website. I tried to locate him, and had no success. He appeared on my LinkedIn ‘suggested contacts,’ and I was able to communicate with him and set an appointment to meet.”
7. You Can Cut Through the Noise Even Faster With Hashtags & Engagement
One of the most important things to understand about competing in large groups is that success almost always follows a mathematical model called the Pareto principle: the idea that in many large networks, the vast majority of the action is done by a very small number of people. For example, 15% of Twitter users are responsible for 95% of all tweets.
In most businesses, you’ll find that 20% of your outreach efforts produce 80% of your revenue. The more you look, the more you’ll find examples of the Pareto principle in the world.
As you might imagine, the same is true for LinkedIn. The vast majority of people on LinkedIn NEVER post anything and never reach out to anyone except to connect. I know I never have.
That means that if you do regularly post content and use hashtags and a mix of content, you will be much more likely to have your content seen by people on LinkedIn.
Here’s Rose Sklar, founder of The Sklar Team in Weston, Florida, on how using basic hashtags to target her audience works on LinkedIn:
“I try to tag my network appropriately when posting with appropriate hashtags to reach the desired audience. I also keep it personal by celebrating my contacts’ accomplishments by liking or even sharing on my social media.”
8. LinkedIn Premium Offers Key Advantages for Agents
One of the most frustrating things about LinkedIn is that they may tell you how many people viewed your profile, but not WHO visited your profile. Since they’re not exactly a charity, they only let you see who’s checking you out if you sign up for LinkedIn Premium.
Find Out Who Is Viewing Your Profile
Of course, knowing who is looking at your profile is pretty important when you’re looking for a job, but can be equally important when trying to drum up leads on the platform. For example, if you notice a homeowner you just gave a listing presentation to check out your profile, that could be a cue to send them a quick follow-up email.
While knowing who is looking at your profile is important information worth paying for, the only way you can message people who are not in your network is by signing up for Premium. It’s not cheap either. You only get 15 InMails per month when you sign up for their “Business” tier for a little under $50 per month. For a little under $60 per month, you only get 20 InMail messages.
9. Other Opportunities: Buying Ads & Sponsored Posts
Of course, if you’re pressed for time or don’t want to learn yet another social media platform, LinkedIn also offers a ton of paid promotion options that you can use to reach leads. Just be aware that since LinkedIn is a business-to-business (B2B) channel, advertising on LinkedIn is not cheap.
Nevertheless, even though there are still some underrated lead generation strategies out there, the price of good leads has been on the rise for years now. Gone are the days of generating dirt-cheap leads from Facebook ads. There’s just too much competition.
On LinkedIn, you can build audiences and create sponsored content, messaging ads, or text ads for lead generation, site visits, or what LinkedIn was designed for—recruiting agents.
If you want to try your hand at advertising on LinkedIn, here’s a quick rundown of what they offer:
Sponsored content on LinkedIn works pretty much the way it does on Facebook. You write an insightful and timely blog post, then pay LinkedIn to promote it for you. Like on Facebook, there are no set fees for sponsored content. Instead, you bid on placement with other advertisers.
LinkedIn Messaging Ads
Taking another page from Facebook’s Messenger advertising options, LinkedIn also offers advertising in private messages. You can create messaging ads for brand awareness, recruiting or lead generation, and can even spark engagement with conversation ads.
Of course, the bread and butter of LinkedIn’s advertising options are text ads. Unlike sponsored posts that only show up in someone’s feed, text ads appear on the right-hand side of the homepage, giving your ads much more reach.
Over to You
Are you a real estate agent who uses LinkedIn to generate leads? We would love to hear your social media tips or questions in the comments below.