By Melissa Swader

Phoenix, AZ – June 14, 2016 – I know, I know.  You are probably thinking here’s another blog about the LinkedIn network.  Let me first start out by saying that I am NOT a LinkedIn expert and I have not written 10 books about LinkedIn either. Does that help? In fact, many of the features and options available to me are like breaking into the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 80 feet below ground.  There is a lot to learn and mainly I just do not have time to study it all.  Here is what I do know. I have one important goal and there is one constant that enables me to feel powerful and capable – The Ability to Network by clicking one simple button that reads “Connect”!  If you are reading this, then you probably feel the same way.  In fact, what made you want to read this blog? It is because we are curious.

I am not going to repeat and bore you with the thousands of articles already out there by breaking down the LinkedIn Do’s & Don’ts or list the Top 5 or Top 10 of whatever subject topic may be.  I’m just going to tell you like it is.  After almost two decades in the marketing industry, you can never underestimate the power of networking to develop a strong business network of relationships. I have read article after article about whether it is quantity vs. quality. When are we really satisfied with how many connections we have? I think we can all agree that we are here to create opportunity; to connect with other professionals that could lead to more opportunity.  If I have 500+ connections, then great for me, but if 499 of them do not bring any value to my circle of connections, then what’s the point?  “I am fairly “picky” when it comes to the connections I accept as I truly value the quality relationships vs. just having a bunch of connections I don’t do anything with,” said Deena Zimmerman, Vice President at SVN, Chicago Commercial in Illinois. Zimmerman also stated, “Many of the connections I have are so important to me because I also reach out to them for guidance and advice as well.” In one specific example, Zimmerman turned a connection into someone she hired for social media and eventually, the founder ended up hiring her for commercial real estate representation. As a result, the founder is now one of Zimmerman’s closest friends and confidants who she relies on for business advice and just overall brainstorming together.

This is really like a blind date.  Hear me out!  If you do not post your picture to a dating site, who the heck is going to click on your profile? I do not believe anyone would be interested in reading a profile if they do not even know what you look like. So why would you do that on a professional platform like LinkedIn?  No photo means No connection! If someone can’t take one minute to post a professional photo to their profile that reads Executive Vice President of ……, then I am just not sure it’s worth my time or if the profile is even real. Social media is about transparency and authenticity.  This is the only visual we have to go on, so sell your image first. A professional image will verify your credibility and engage people to read your profile. Founder, Linda Day Harrison of theBrokerList was number 1,009,408 when she joined back in 2004 and now LinkedIn has over 433 million users. “When I started out, I would go out of my way to give recommendations and I was fortunate to get many recommendations too. To me those testimonials are super important to your credibility on LinkedIn,” Harrison said. Most of all Harrison builds her network by connecting with like-minded users in the commercial real estate industry by verifying profiles. “LinkedIn has changed over the years and is a worldwide platform now too. There are so many people with fake accounts or duplicate accounts and it’s hard to tell fact from fiction,” Harrison stated her process is clearly to build a stronger network by opening doors to people who she can help on a national level.

My friends and colleagues are always telling me that I am a social butterfly.  I take that as a compliment because I control my “social power” with and without a computer screen. You can too.  I just spent the last week sending out invitations to other professionals in effort to grow my LinkedIn network.  I followed my own rules. I posted a professional photo, I made sure my information is current and made sure my current position clearly states who I am and what my professional objectives are in Commercial Real Estate with SVN in Phoenix.

Your best approach is to always evaluate your connections. Me personally, I do not think of my connections as 1st, 2nd or 3rd.  We are connected because I asked myself the following questions.  Can I benefit from this connection or possibly do business with this person in my future?  Will this person be a contributor of information related to the commercial real estate industry locally or on a national level?  Do we have mutual connections that could serve as growing partnerships or influential people for me?  You may feel unless that connection has a higher ranking or connection, it’s not worth your time.  That would be a mistake!   You must think “Outside of the box” – being in the same business industry does not necessarily mean that every connection is going to be a client.  You never know who can lead you to a new client or customer.  Connect with influencers and add value to your network.  Always remember, it’s not always how many people you know, it’s who you know and who they know.  You must create your social power by creating a network of acquaintances that introduces you to other worlds and circles that you may not belong to……Yet!

Increase your social power.  Go Hobnobbing!  Some of you are probably asking yourself, what did she just say?  Yes, I did just say that.  Make hobnobbing a part of your monthly routine and if you do not know what it means, go look that up.  You will be happy you did. (smile)  It very well could change your professional career by simply prioritizing your social calendar.  Be resourceful and choose wisely.

In the meantime, take advantage of your online connections and reach out from time to time. Be proactive by reading their posts and sharing your insights. Don’t just be a name, be someone they will remember. While you may not be able to reach out to everyone in person, you may be able to meet some who are local.  I will always read as many posts as possible because there are always business deals to close! Desert Commercial Advisors in Phoenix is the largest SVN office in Arizona for a reason. Be sure to utilize every resource and take advantage of social networking and the power these tools have to offer.  Stay Connected!

SVN | Desert Commercial Advisors is a full-service commercial real estate services firm providing comprehensive expertise in investment brokerage, leasing, landlord/tenant representation, analysis/valuation and market research. We specialize in multifamily, retail, office, medical/dental, and restaurant property types. Visit our website at for more information.