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win_lead_gen_BH&GIf you think LinkedIn is just a resume board, it’s time to change that misconception. Successful real estate agents are adding LinkedIn to their tool kits for expanding networks and zeroing in on new prospects. With the right tactics, the professional networking site can double as a powerful lead generation machine.

Far better than cold calls and open houses, LinkedIn can help you prequalify leads to find those who are ready and motivated to buy or sell properties. When you are ready to turn on a steady stream of new leads, here are five steps to open up access to millions of potential clients.

Step 1: Create a Compelling Profile

Building a great profile is the key to establishing trust and credibility. Highlight successes in the “experience” section and use a recent, professional photograph as your profile picture. Don’t use an old photo or a glamour shot, as prospects may not recognize you when they come for a meeting in person. Create a tag line that sums up individual strengths in a few words, like a logo for a personal brand.

Step 2: Expand Your Network

Search your email contacts to find out if past clients and other business partners are already on LinkedIn. Connect with them for referrals, recommendations and access to their extended networks. It’s very likely they know others with similar characteristics who will be in the market for property in the very near future.

Step 3: Be Active in Professional Forums

LinkedIn Groups have many forums for answering questions, establishing credentials, picking up new lead information and identifying top contractors or other service providers. Think long term. This is not a place to advertise or ask for phone numbers. Listen, help people find the information they need and become a resource that they will turn to when the time is right.

Step 4: Post Content on Pulse

After a new blog hits the company website, publish that content on LinkedIn Pulse. Your content will reach a much wider audience looking for real estate information. An email newsletter is a good place to include links to LinkedIn articles, which doubles exposure, brings more profile views and encourages email forwards. Subtly ask readers to share the information with their friends.

For those looking for serious leads and in-depth data, look no further than LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator. Learn more about this powerful tool in our latest Clean Slate post!

For more on Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate, take a moment to like All Things Real Estate on Facebook, follow @AllThingsBHGRE on Twitter, and follow our company page on LinkedIn. And, if you haven’t already, don’t forget to check out the Friendliest Search in Real EstateSM!