In the global real estate arena, it’s impossible to ignore your online footprint. The Internet gets credit for making the world a smaller place, facilitating instant communications and online research.
As a result, the very first step in laying the foundation for global business success is a robust online presence. Here’s how to make sure people will find you—and will form a favorable impression.
Step 1. Your CIPS Profile
For global agents, a strong profile in the CIPS directory is a must-have. This is the starting point for building your global network, as well as encouraging other CIPS designees to connect with you. Your profile should be complete, including a photo and bio, and showcasing all aspects of your expertise—the regions and countries you serve, any languages spoken, and other specialized knowledge.
Between Marjorie Moore (a fictional agent) and Brigitte Richter, which of these two CIPS Search results is more likely to grab your attention?
How to Create a Strong Profile
It’s best to use the same photo across all your online profiles, for the sake of consistency and “branding.” That said, two different photos are okay if your appearance remains very similar, and if both photos reflect the same image. (For example, don’t mix a crisp, professional look with a casual one, since this sends two very different messages.)
It’s also important that your name appears the same way on all your profiles. But what if you have a fairly common name, potentially causing confusion? Amanda Wernick, CIPS, suggests several options for dealing with “vanilla” names, such as: 1) always include a middle initial or name; 2) always add REALTOR® or CIPS to your name; or 3) create a unique social media handle for all your profiles.
Make sure each profile includes your CIPS designation and any other qualifications that will help attract clients and referrals.
Be mindful of the search terms people use, and how you can include them in your profile. For example, if your desired clientele is high-net-worth buyers seeking a second home along the coast, potential terms include: luxury, resort, vacation, waterfront, etc. as well as the names of local communities.
In today’s digital world, people rely heavily on others’ opinions and ratings. Make sure positive feedback from your clients and other referral/professional relationships appear across all your profiles.
After updating, reread your profile to make sure errors haven’t slipped in. It’s fairly common for web pages to misinterpret the formating code contained in word processing documents. For example, a simple apostrophe may be converted to something like ᙠ. To fix these problems, edit directly on the profile page.
Step 2. Your realtor.com® Profile
If you’re a CIPS designee based in the U.S., your CIPS profile includes a link to your profile on realtor.com®. Since these two profiles are so closely connected, it’s essential that both are fine-tuned for global business opportunities.
Step 3. Other Profiles
Make sure all your other profiles are current, complete, and supporting your business strategy, including your “About” page on your brokerage website and, if applicable, your personal site.
In terms of social media sites, Facebook and LinkedIn are usually top priorities for global agents, but don’t overlook other important platforms, like Twitter and Yelp.
Additionally, you may want to use the new CIPS cover photos for your social media profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. To download, look under CIPS Designee Resources at printingstorefront.com/narglobal. If this is your first time logging in you will need to login using your NRDS ID for both the user name and password. You will be prompted to change your password.
- Google Yourself – This is the first thing other people will do—both potential clients and your professional network—to check you out. See what they’ll see. Do you appear on page one of the search results? Does each profile/link generate the best possible impression? Make note of any problems and take steps to fix them.
- Take Inventory – A master list of all your profiles (including links to each) simplifies the process of keeping all your information up to date. As you continue to shape your global business strategy, it will also be easier to go back and refine your message, add keywords, new credentials, testimonials, etc. across all your online assets.
- Test All “Contact” Links – A profile can do more harm than good if people can’t use it to connect with you. People reach dead ends for one of two reasons: 1) the link doesn’t work, or 2) the agent isn’t checking and responding to messages. Pretend you’re a potential client and send yourself test messages.