“Greetings. As I want to stay connected to local Stagers and REALTORS® and industry professionals I also hear that some may feel that Facebook could be too personal.” During a recent conversation I had with an Accredited Staging Professional® about social media marketing, she told me about her hesitation to connect with other professionals at Facebook. ‘She said, “I want to continue to build my sphere of influence and I know the use of social media platforms will help me do that. I’m just not sure most of them want me to see the often personal things they share on Facebook. As a result they may turn down my friend requests or worse, I may even alienate them.” ‘I’ve hear similar comments before. One Accredited Staging Professional® shared that while she has invited most of the REALTORS® to become Facebook friends she has ever come in contact with during her career; few have chosen to accept her invitations. She asked what I thought the reason could be. Here’s one possible explanation: Once you have become friends at Facebook you gain access to all the information your connections have chosen to share at the network. Often that information is very personal, with pictures of family members and other information they normally would only share with close friends. There’s clearly a great benefit for you to gain knowledge about those you want to work with, but there is a possibility they may not be comfortable with you having that access. Don’t get me wrong; Facebook is a great networking tool. However; others may not feel that your connection is close enough to warrant a connection on that particular platform. While the main social media “buzz” seems to center on Facebook these days, with over 600 million now using the network worldwide, consider joining the also-growing online network at LinkedIn.com. Once you have both platforms available you can give your business contacts the option of which one they’d like to use to connect with you. (You can also choose to build a Facebook page to which you invite your contacts to make the connection less private. But, I will outline suggestions for the use of a Facebook page in a later blog post. Click here to subscribe to new blog posts so that you don’t miss it). Here are five features that will make LinkedIn an excellent component of your online networking efforts. 1. Get Online Exposure I’m not sure why, but it seems LinkedIn is favored by search engines, and having a profile will virtually ensure that you’ll be found when someone searches for you. Search for my name at Google and you’ll find that my LinkedIn profile is listed among the first few listings. Similarly, your name will most likely show up at the top of the search results once you’ve signed up. 2. Share Presentations and Blog Posts Did you know that you can add a Power Point presentation inside your LinkedIn profile? Through the website slideshare.net you can display presentations by adding an application. Consider posting a value proposition slide show or maybe a description of your process. Similarly, you can have articles you’ve posted at your blog featured at the center of your LinkedIn profile by adding an application. 3. Showcase Value through Recommendations LinkedIn provides an easy to use tool by which you can ask your connections to write a recommendation on your behalf. Let others showcase your expertise – ask them to describe what it’s like to work with you. 4. Provide Links to Your Website, Blog and other Platforms LinkedIn allows you to add three links, and I suggest you use them to give visitors to your profile additional resources. Consider adding links to your website, blog, and maybe your Facebook profile. 5. Show Your Professional Background, Affiliations and Awards Essentially serving as your virtual resume, you can list your current and past brokerage affiliations and prior employments inside your LinkedIn profile. Additionally, you can list any awards you’ve received and designations you’ve earned. Affiliations with professional groups such as the National Association of Realtors® as well as groups available to ABR, GRI, and CIPS graduates only can also be displayed. Please click here to visit my profile at LinkedIn where I hope you will add me to your connections. Live in Joy, ASP® Stage® with Joy and Enjoy the Wonder and Magic of it all! Barb Barb Schwarz The Creator of Home Staging® CEO StagedHomes.com Founder/Chairwoman, The International Association of Home Staging Professionals Share at Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter Share this blog post with your Friends at Facebook, Connections at LinkedIn and Followers at Twitter. Click on the button below and click on the logo of the social network you want to share this article with.