How Effective Is Your Online Presence? With Italina Kirknis
Episode 520: How Effective Is Your Online Presence? With Italina Kirknis
Have you tried searching yourself online? Are you satisfied with the results that you see under your name? In today’s digital age, your online presence serves as your resume or curriculum vitae. It helps you market yourself. In this episode, Italina Kirknis, an online presence expert, provides us with valuable insights on social media marketing and how it can help your business grow and succeed. She also explains the difference between introducing yourself and building your brand. Make a difference in the world and be the best version of yourself. Tune in and learn how to create a strong online presence for marketing success!
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I’m here with Italina Kirknis and she’s coming to us from California. What part?
I’m in the East Bay, Northern California.
We’re going to be talking about LinkedIn, how to network with LinkedIn, why it’s important and how you might proliferate there. Please let’s take one moment to thank our sponsor, LiveComm.com. If you are not using a texting lead generation smartphone number, cellphone number capture system then check out LiveComm. That has put me four days on the market in the average of 200 houses that I bought and sold. Thanks to LiveComm and a couple of neat little ideas that they have. With no further ado, Italina, tell us a little bit about how you got into social media marketing.
I worked in the legal field, which is why if you connect with me on LinkedIn, you’ll see JD behind my name, Juris Doctorate. I had a “successful career” but I was miserable, which is not success at all. I knew I was going to shift careers. I knew that I was going to be Googled and people were going to be looking me up. One of the things that come up in your Google is your LinkedIn profile. I thought, “I better get that in order.” I completely revamped, rewrote my LinkedIn profile so I looked marketable and credible so that my personality will also shine through so I could stand out from others. Once I got my profile in order, I also thought, “I also need to be putting myself out there.”
I started thinking about what we call posting. This was many years ago so at that time, we weren’t talking about personal branding, marketing and social media the way we are now. The next thing you know, I’m being messaged on LinkedIn by companies saying, “Italina, we see what you’re doing. We love it. You’re everywhere. We want to do that for us.” I scratched my head because I was looking for a job and they didn’t even know what to call it. They didn’t have a job title for me. I thought, “Sure, I can do this on the side while I look for a job.”
Another company messaged me wanting the same thing. A small business asked me the same thing. Small business owners and individual business owners asked the same thing. The next thing you know, Mitch, I’m having trouble finding time to go on job interviews and look for a job. I realized this seems to be a huge need. It took me a couple of years to make the leap but I went ahead and started my social media agency two years later.
What is the thought process to leave something known to go into the unknown?Social media marketing is your online presence today. Click To Tweet
It took me two years. It wasn’t something I jumped into. I thought it was crazy. Social media was not an industry at that time. If you looked up social media manager, nothing came up. It took me two years to finally get it that this is the evolution. This is where we’re headed.
One thing about whatever strategy you’re using to bring in an income if you’re not into the market, if there are no customers, there’s no anything. It’s a huge problem because a lot of people go into business and want to ignore marketing like people are going to flock to their door. You can have the greatest idea in the world but if people don’t know, you’re going to go broke before you get started. There are many free venues. Why LinkedIn? Why not some of these other venues? There are a lot of different venues.
The three biggies are LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. Somebody is on at least one of the three. I like to say, even because if I don’t love using a site or I’m not on there, there are millions of other people who are and who are looking up my credibility, my value and my market. All these things that set me apart, they’re looking for that online. Back when websites became a big thing, everybody cared that you had a website and that you were there. That was your online presence now in social media. Are you there? If we’re not, it’s like driving by a brick and mortar and seeing, “The paint is chipped. The sign is hanging. The lights are off.” It’s like that.
You think twice, “Is this a legitimate business and company?” Having an online process is that I talk about LinkedIn because most of us have a LinkedIn account whether we use it is another story. It’s like having a gym membership and not going. Whether we use it is another story. Let’s say we stepped back and looked at the big picture, it’s not even about LinkedIn. It’s about the fact that people are googling you and when you’re googled, one of the first things that pop up is LinkedIn. That’s why LinkedIn.
There’s putting your name out there but some people don’t understand what branding is. What’s your story? Can you explain to us the difference between introducing yourself and building a brand? What’s the difference between a brand and like, “I’m in business and I sell eggs.”
Introducing yourself, marketing, that’s sharing facts. “This is my name. This is what I sell. This is how long I’ve been it for.” Those are facts. If we remember school days, remembering facts is difficult. However, the brand is a story. We remember stories. We remember they invoke a feeling. That is a difference between building a brand and if anyone were to connect with me on LinkedIn or on Instagram, I don’t know how your presence is there on Instagram, Mitch, but if you connect with me on LinkedIn or on Instagram, people will say, “She’s a tennis player. She is a public speaker. Look at all these bright colors.” Those all invoked feelings.
If people go to my Instagram, for example, the first thing they say is, “Your Instagram is beautiful,” which means it’s memorable. That’s what we need. We want to be top of mind and remembered when a need arises. They can connect with me if they type my name, Italina Kirknis on LinkedIn or @ItalinaK on Instagram. Brands, we remember. Marketing facts, we forget.
Also, did you mention Facebook because I didn’t hear you mention anything about that?
I did. I said the three biggies are LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.
I think some people get off on the wrong foot and all they want to do is sell. You said in your Instagram, they would learn that you played tennis and probably a lot of other personal issues that don’t have anything to do with what you do. Talk about the balance between selling and being a real person and again, being part of yourself instead of something that’s not business.
My philosophy is selling should be more stealthy and more undercover selling. I will say, me playing tennis does have something to do with my business because tennis makes up who I am. I wouldn’t be who I am now unless I was a tennis player first. I was a championship tennis player. I traveled all over the world competing. I represented the US in tournaments in Europe. I played with Serena Williams.
I was always interviewed. I was in the papers. All of those things developed me as a human, as a professional, as an individual and as how I carry myself in my business. All of that helped shape me and gave me a competitive edge in business. It is relevant and it relates. It resonates with other people who are either tennis fans, tennis lovers tennis players, people who played in high school or a little bit in college. All of it definitely contributes to and relates to your business. It helps people with connecting with you so it’s all relevant.
People do business with people that they like, admire, they wish they could be more like, had a life like that or whatever. I always looked at it like what you said, it’s a real soft sell. Every now and then, you come out with a book. This is where you can get it. I get it because you came up with your book. You’re sharing a victory but that’s how you post it. “I’m sharing a victory. I released my book.” Not like, “On special, there are only five copies left. If you don’t order now, you’re going to miss out on the whole thing.”
That’s a great example.Selling should be more stealthy. Click To Tweet
I do the same thing. I’m not big on Instagram. Am I missing the boat?
I do get business on Instagram and my clients do get business on Instagram. Again, it’s a matter of, are people using the site? For example, when Instagram first came out, I didn’t jump on it. I wanted to see how it was going to do. I wanted to see if people were going to take to it. After a couple of years, it took us a little while to get on it then I decided to pay attention to my Instagram account. Now, I have over 7,000 followers and audiences that I’ve curated because they liked what I shared, liked me, liked my social media services and we’ve definitely gotten clients as a result of people seeing the good stuff. I need to do this thing about doing this for myself.
Sometimes people don’t know what they don’t know. You’re going to be giving away a free consult. I want everyone to go to 1000Houses.com/LinkedInNow. There’s probably more stuff coming ahead. If you want a free consultation with Italina then go over there. There’ll be all the contact information, everything you need. You don’t know what you don’t know so let her review what you’ve got going on and see if there are any holes or any improvements to be made in your online presence. That’s the idea.
The thing is, these days, I think credibility has always been important. These days the difference is people are looking online first or conducting an online search first to look for that credibility. I don’t want to give anyone any reason not to want to work with me so I put everything. I make sure my online presence tells and all my information is there. People who have a consultation with me, often, they know like, “I know I don’t look as credible as I could be. I know I haven’t touched it in years. I know I threw something up there because someone me to one day.” I’m happy to take a look. Our most popular way of helping people is getting to know them and rewriting their bios for them. Rewriting their LinkedIn profiles for them, Instagram bio page with business page and even LinkedIn weekly posts.
What budget does someone need to prepare for something like that? By the way, she’s stating some numbers now if she cares to. She has the right to change her numbers, increase them, decrease them, whatever but it is November 11, 2021. That’s what it is now. These things get archived sometimes for quite a while so I want to make that disclaimer.
I’m so glad you did. The one thing I have been doing, Mitch is being flexible with people. I had somebody say, “I need to break it up into payments.” I let them decide how many payments they needed. I always tell people, “Even though this is what it is, I’m willing to work with you. We can break it up into comfortable payments. Let’s have that chat in the consultation, we’ll talk about the vision and then we’ll get to the numbers.”
Do you have a case study that you could share with us that made a difference in one of your clients?
Like many of our clients, they’re in business for 30 years or 20 years. Now, they need their online presence to catch up with that experience and expertise. I had a woman and she’s great at what she does. She’s in real estate but you’d never know her online presence. You’d never know all of her success and accomplishments results. After she became a client, again, my team and I, we get to know each person individually. From there, we’re able to bring into a brainstorm and do our own research. We crafted and completely rewrote her entire profile. Her LinkedIn profile, Instagram bio and Facebook business page, we completely redo it.
The next thing you know, she’s getting messages on LinkedIn and people are messaging her on Facebook. What happens is as soon as you make some updates like that, we send a notification to all of your connections and your followers. All of a sudden, she’s getting all this traffic like, “I’ve been meaning to call you. I was looking for your information.” She’s back top of mind again with her audiences. I’ve experienced people getting messages right away. “I’ve been meaning to call you. I need help with this.” Again, it’s not magic. It’s only people being out in front of people. If people don’t remember you or know you, they can’t use your amazing service or expertise.
I think people underestimated, especially the old-timers because they’ve been doing all this time without it. They’ve never needed it before and all the heck with that online stuff. No because you’ll be like a dinosaur. You’re going to die out there because everybody else has taken advantage of it. It’s also very cost-effective. Sometimes you pay this stuff up front and you get it going but it goes on forever. It is accurate, correct, beautiful and delivers the right message on and on, day after day. You can say, “That costs me $2,000 last month.” I said, “$2,000 is going to be good for the next three years.” It’s not a lot of money.
It’s going to be good for the next five years but I’m just saying. I was telling people about a company I had and it’s a little sidestep but I’m going to plug my sponsor here. LiveComm collects cellphone numbers from people that call a LiveComm number. It’s a smartphone number. It has a text distribution list attached to it. Whenever someone calls a LiveComm phone number, it grabs the cellphone number and puts it in a text distribution. The guy was saying, “I only have four houses to sell it and I’m going to have to do that.” I said, “You’re going to be collecting phone numbers from people that buy houses in that region and you’ll be able to use those phone numbers for every house you have.” All of a sudden, it shrinks. This is how I got into four days on market.
I have 10,000 people that have called my phone numbers for my seller-financed homes and they didn’t buy that home but they’re still interested in maybe the next home I have so I can send out a text to 10,000 people, hit them right between the eyes and maybe there’s a good connection between LinkedIn and Instagram and free recorded message, “Learn the ten ways to up your LinkedIn account,” and they call and all of a sudden, you have a phone number to call because someone wanted to download the ten reasons that they needed to know how to make the perfect LinkedIn account.
There are a lot of ways to use smartphone numbers and you can tie them in anywhere. I was trying to make the point that when you spend money in the right places, even if it’s a little expensive now, it can be spread out over many different avenues and for many years. If you look at it like that, I think you will become a bigger winner. How many people do you have helping float your boat? Do you have an organization?
We have an agency. I have four other people who work with me. We have clients across sixteen different states and we’re working on going international.
How do you get your business?All the things you did in your life will shape you and give you a competitive edge in your business. It makes up who you are. Click To Tweet
I would say I practice what I preach. I get business from my online presence. I wake up to DMs on my Instagram, messages from my LinkedIn, Facebook messages as well as emails because when I post something, for example. I’ll even give them the option of, “Email me if you want to find out more?” I’ll get emails saying, “I want to find out more.” Also, I’m a speaker. I’m here as a guest on your show. I give over 40 talks a year on various real estate stages. I spoke for NAR. I’ve spoken for Inman. I speak at huge offices and huge conferences so obviously, people get to know me that way.
Is there a special clientele that seems to gravitate towards you or is it all across the board?
All of our marketing speaks to the real estate world. We have developers, realtors, contractors and insurance. It takes a village. We have those types of clients. They’re in real estate in some form or fashion. Do they have to be? No. What our clients have in common is they want to look credible online. They want to get their online presence together because they have something to offer whether it be a nonprofit. We’ve had police departments, entire cities, huge construction companies and restaurants. You name it. What they have in common is they have something to offer and they have a message they want to share via their online presence.
There you have it. Anything else we ought to address with the audience before we go? The free consult offer, it’s 1000Houses.com/LinkedInnow. What can it hurt? Go there and see how you stack up in Italina’s eyes. You might find out that you could do some very simple improvements or you might need a whole revamp. Who knows?
If people want to see, check me out for that, connect with me on LinkedIn or even Instagram, if you want to see what I’m talking about, how beautiful it is, my Instagram is @ItalinaK. To wrap it up, I will leave you with this. You have these free social media sites. You might as well use them.
I’m a proponent of that. I moved my inventory over to a Facebook Business page and I used every source I could to drive people to that page. I used to spend a lot of money marketing my houses for sale. I don’t spend hardly any money now. I don’t even put signs in my yards anymore. I don’t have to. I drove enough people to the Facebook Business page that are following. I don’t even have to put signs in my yards and I have four days on the market. It took me a little while to figure it all out because I’m a slow learner. I have to get hit in the head with a baseball bat of a concept before I get it but once I get it, I can turn up the fire on it.
I’d like to thank everybody for stopping by to get you some Italina Kirkness. Please take advantage of your free consult and get a review, see where you might be lacking, see where you might be able to improve. Go to 1000Houses.com/ LinkedInnow. I appreciate each and every one of you. I’d like to think LiveComm for sponsoring this episode. We love you very much. Without you, I don’t know how this episode would be possible so thank you. We’re out of here. Bye now.
About Italina Kirknis
Online Presence Expert & Speaker, Specializing in LinkedIn at Italina, Online Branding and Marketing, Social Media Management, Speaker
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