February 8, 2019

JF1620: How Important Is A Social Media Presence For Real Estate Investors #FollowAlongFriday with Joe and Theo

Social media. It consumes a lot of people at all times of the day. Today, Joe and Theo are answering a question sent in from a listener asking about social media and it’s importance for real estate investors, especially just starting out in apartment syndications. If you enjoyed today’s episode remember to subscribe in iTunes and leave us a review!


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Joe Fairless: Best Ever listeners, how are you doing? Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Joe Fairless, and this is the world’s longest-running daily real estate investing podcast. We only talk about the best advice ever, we don’t get into any of that fluffy stuff. We don’t like that fluffy stuff; we only like the best advice that helps you out.

Today we’ve got Follow Along Friday. The purpose of Follow Along Friday is to talk about what we’ve learned, or answer questions from you, Best Ever listeners, to help you along with your real estate endeavors… And today we’re gonna do the latter – we’re gonna be answering some questions from a Best Ever listener.

Theo Hicks is with us, as always, on Follow Along Fridays. Theo, what have we got?

Theo Hicks: We had a question submitted from Rebecca, and it’s actually really cool. She’s doing a research project for schooling, and it’s related to real estate, so she kind of asked us if we have any data that we can provide her to help her with her research… And the main research question was “How important is a social media presence in establishing credibility as a real estate investor, in the real estate industry?”

Joe Fairless: Well, I don’t have any data for it, so if she’s looking for data points, then sorry… But I can answer the question. Was she looking for data points?

Theo Hicks: In a sense. Some of her questions were asking for specific data, but some of them were more general. For example, “The two things you really wanna know about how social media marketing in general helps you out, as well as how did writing on Bigger Pockets help you out with your syndication business, particularly when you were first starting out?”

Joe Fairless: Okay. This question will be helpful for anyone who is bringing capital to their deals, or anyone who is entering into real estate investing from some other career path, and they need to get customers or clients or investors and attract them to their business. This could be relevant for real estate agents, this could be relevant for apartment syndicators, this could be relevant for fix and flip people, and it could even be relevant for wholesalers who are looking to attract people on their buyers list and people on their sellers list.

So the question is “How important is social media when you’re starting out?” Well, I imagine most of us – and even Rebecca, I’m sure you’re are, or else you probably wouldn’t be asking the question – realize that it is important to have a presence on social media. The choice that we should make though is what platform should we focus on, and what is our role, and what’s the purpose of us being on the platform? Because some of us – I’ll raise my hand – don’t enjoy being on social media sites as much as others.

So first off, one mandatory in my opinion – but it’s a fact – is if you’re in real estate investing and you are attracting some sort of client or customer, then you’ve got to be on social media. And specifically within social media, you have to pick which platform or platforms that you want to be on. Then, once you pick that – let’s say you pick Facebook, for example – then you’ve got to find out “Okay, within Facebook as the platform that I’ve chosen, now what is my role and what will I be doing within that platform?”

I can tell you that when I was starting out with Facebook, my focus was simply promoting the episodes that I was doing from the podcast. In the early days I was doing everything for the podcast: finding the guests, interviewing the guests, doing the show notes, promoting the episode, letting the guests know that the episode went live, all of that stuff. And the important part of this is you’ve got to identify what you want to accomplish as a result of being on the platform. At a bare minimum, what you need to accomplish is when someone searches for you on a major platform like Facebook, for example, they’re going to see that you have a presence, because they’re going to be skeptical if you do not.

And in fact, I had one investor about a year and a half ago say “I looked you up on Facebook, Joe, and I couldn’t find that you posted anything for the last three years.” I was like, “What? What are you talking about?” What he was looking at – back in my advertising days when we were testing… So I was working on the social media account for Fortune 500 companies like Microsoft, and we were specifically on the Bing search engine, the Bing account – I had to create a test account for my profile to test out certain apps that we were launching; so I had like a dummy test account for Joe Fairless, and this investor was looking up my name and he found that one, and he saw I hadn’t posted in many years… And I said “I think you’re looking at the wrong one.” Then I told him the right one and he was like, “Okay, cool.” But that was a red flag for him, that he thought that I hadn’t been posting. I was kind of secretive about it.

At this point in time in our culture, you’re not allowed to be closed off. It’s just not acceptable… And for better or worse, because the downside to that, I believe, is when something catches fire on social media, whether it’s true or not true, it just takes off, because we’re all so super-connected. So that’s a downside, in my opinion, if it’s not true… But on the plus side, since we are so connected, it allows us to go in with eyes wide open into partnerships, because we have more of a sense of who that individual is and what they’re like; you get a more personal glimpse into their life. And that’s not something that should be surprising to anyone, but what we should focus on as business professionals, and especially in real estate investing, is we have to have a presence and we have to know what the outcome of that presence is.

So if you are not interested in social media, but you know from this conversation you need to have a presence, then simply have a Facebook page, and you can have things auto-populate on your page from your website, or from your blog post, where you’re simply auto-populating your Facebook page with content. And at least every now and then check in on it and make sure that your account is staying active. So it’s really a check-the-box thing.

In terms of how important it was whenever I got started – well, I don’t know how much growth being on social media, and specifically Facebook, because I’m not on Instagram; I think I have an account, but I don’t even have that on my phone… Basically, Facebook. I deleted Twitter, because that’s just a lot of noise; I know it’s very helpful for emergency situations, because you can see exactly what’s happening at every second, but… I only have Facebook on my phone, and I recently took off the notifications from Facebook on my phone, so I don’t get notified whenever I get an alert, because I personally don’t enjoy social media. But I do have a team who posts on the page as the brand page. And I jump in there every now and then, but it’s just not something that I personally enjoy.

So the takeaway is you must be on social media, but pick a platform and have a consistent presence at minimum, and at maximum, you can really grow your business.

I know that we have ads on Facebook that promote our local meetup every month, and we’re getting people from Indianapolis, Tennessee, Cleveland, Detroit, Dayton (it’s pretty close, but…) all over come to the meetup that we have in Cincinnati, and same goes for the annual conference that we have in Denver.

Theo Hicks: That’s some really solid advice. Just to add a few things, going back to what you said in the beginning about picking a platform – again, I don’t have any evidence for this, but it feels like each platform fits better based on what you do as a real estate professional. I know a lot of syndicators on Facebook because of the ability to do Facebook live; you can do Facebook live whenever, more informally, or you can do a formal webinar. That’s a good way to put information across.

It sounds like Snapchat and then Instagram are really good for agents, and fix and flippers, too. Anyone that’s doing these faster projects, that they’re trying to turn around quickly, they can quickly do before and after types of pictures. I know we’ve got a few blog posts under the “Branding and thought leadership” category on our blog that has different agents, wholesalers and fix and flippers talking about their Instagram and Snapchat strategies… But it sounds like Facebook is kind of the go-to one for what we do, just because it kind of has everything on there. You can do image-based stuff, you can do text-based stuff…

Twitter – just like you, I don’t know any investors that use Twitter, so I’m not exactly sure what that strategy would be, but I do know that the hashtag tool is very powerful if you’re trying to grow your brand and grow your thought leadership platform, and you want to find out who is creating or sharing similar content… You can type in #apartmentsynidcation and find the biggest accounts, and then share content that way.

And of course, Bigger Pockets… Do you consider Bigger Pockets social media, or something different?

Joe Fairless: No, I don’t consider it a social media platform. I don’t think it is. It’s a forum. It’s the most valuable forum you can be on as real estate investors, but yeah, it’s a forum.

Theo Hicks: I do remember you saying a while ago that you weren’t a fan of Facebook ads. Is that true, and what changed your mind about that? Because I remember you didn’t like them before.

Joe Fairless: Well, you’re bringing up something that I don’t remember saying, but I trust you, because you’re a lot smarter than I am, and probably have a better memory. I don’t remember saying I don’t like Facebook ads, so I’m not sure why I said it, but if I did, then I’ve changed my mind. I am a fan of Facebook ads because you can determine how much you’re paying, and if you’re not getting a good cost per click, then you maneuver or you reconfigure some things, or you discontinue. So I’m fine with Facebook ads.

Perhaps what I said, if what you’re remembering isn’t entirely accurate – which I’m not sure it is or isn’t – is I’m not a fan of doing Facebook ads when you’re paying cost-per-impression; I’d wanna pay cost-per-click, because cost-per-impression – no real ROI there, but with cost-per-click you’re sending people somewhere. But thank you for mentioning the different platform value propositions. It’s such a very important point, that’s very helpful, because Instagram visual stuff, which — I could have more visual stuff, and perhaps I will, like on the unit renovations we’re doing, and other things like that… Right now I don’t have a team capturing all that on-site, but I just I hired a director of marketing and he lives in Dallas, and most of our properties are in Dallas, so maybe we do some of that stuff in the future… But for me and our company Facebook is the way to go, because not only does it have it all, but I enjoy the conversation and I feel like it’s a deeper level of connection with people, because you’ve got that back and forth; we’re not confined with a certain amount of characters that you can write, and it’s really a platform that is conducive to conversations, versus checking in and checking out and doing a fly-by-night thing.

Twitter is good for content sharing. I’m not a fan of it, but that’s how that is. Snapchat – I have no idea, I’ve never even been on Snapchat, and I don’t ever wanna be on Snapchat.

Theo Hicks: I was gonna say it’s probably generationally — like, people that are a lot younger than us, they’re definitely using Snapchat, because it came out in 2011, I think… It’s just one of those newer social media platforms.

There was one more question I wanted to ask you before we moved on about social media; it’s kind of related, but you were mentioning how in the beginning you had that test accounts that you were using for your previous job, and how it kind of went dormant, and someone looked that up and was like “Oh, you’re never really posting anything on here…” – would you recommend that people create a separate business page for themselves, or should they just post everything on their personal profile?

Joe Fairless: Good question. We could have a debate on this, and there would be excellent arguments for both sides. So the debate for the pro motion, where you have two separate accounts would be you don’t want to inundate people with a bunch of business stuff whenever they added you as a friend, because they were your friend before you had this business, and so now you’re blasting them with all this business stuff, so you’re really wearing out that friendship, which could in turn hurt your business in the long run, because you’re being so loud about it.

But the motion on the flipside would be, well, yeah, but if you’re posting valuable information, like you’re supposed to, and you’re adding value every time you post some content, it’s like “Oh, this is something interesting I learned today. When I do drywall, I’ve got to install it this way, or that way… Otherwise you could run into this problem”, and it’s just a helpful tip for homeowners” – well, okay, I feel you there. Then that just might mean you need a personal page. But I think if you only have a personal page, your individual page, you’re limiting your business growth to just local period, or at least you’re limiting your business, period, because Facebook only allows you to have a certain amount of friends, and you’re not able to scale it.

Think about if Coca-Cola just had a Mrs. Coca-Cola page and it was just one female who was talking about Coca-Cola and they didn’t have a product page. Well, they’d be missing out on a lot of engagement there. So to answer your question directly, my side of the fence, the side I choose to be on on that answer is you should have a business page plus a personal, and focus your business stuff on the business page, that way you can scale your business, and occasionally, if relevant, post business stuff on your personal page, but only when it adds a whole lot of value to the people who are connected to you in a non-real estate way; so homeowners would be a good thing, because while there are less and less homeowners – thankfully, since we’re multifamily investors – there are less and less homeowners, but there’s still a lot of homeowners out there that could find some helpful tips.

Theo Hicks: I was thinking the same thing, and you sold me when you mentioned the friend limit. I forgot about that. I think you can only have like five thousand friends, or a thousand friends, or something.

Joe Fairless: I never want to hit that mark. That sounds like insanity. I don’t accept friendships on Facebook unless I actually know the person off of Facebook, and that’s when I accept that friendship.

Theo Hicks: Yeah, I do the same thing. I got really excited because I got so many friend requests from being on this podcast, and then it kind of got too much, and my page had a bunch of random people on there.

Yeah, so if you’ve got a business page, you can post 10, 20, 30, however many times you want to per day, and then anything that’s relevant to people that are on your personal Facebook page, you could share maybe one thing per day on your personal Facebook page, just to kind of push people who are your personal friends that would be interested in learning more about your business to your page, but people who aren’t don’t have to see it every single day… So I agree with you.

Joe Fairless: Cool.

Theo Hicks: Alright, good stuff. I just had one quick update I wanted to mention before I moved on to the trivia question. Last week I was talking about that deal in Jacksonville, and how Jacksonville is too far away, and all these different reasons why I couldn’t look at that deal… And you challenged me, and I really appreciated that, so I reached out to that broker, I got the information on the deal, my underwriters are underwriting it now… And I talked to my business partner about what you said about investing outside of Tampa, so we’re gonna start targeting Orlando, Tallahassee and Jacksonville.

We’re very grateful — someone reached out to me on Bigger Pockets who’s a lender, who asked me if I needed any help, and I was like “Well, yeah. Do you wanna send me some market information?”, so he sent me these super-detailed market reports on Tampa. I’m gonna do the same thing for Tallahassee, Orlando and Jacksonville, and then we are going to – either my business partner and I, or my wife and I are gonna schedule trips to those locations just for a weekend, because I’ve never been to any of those places before, so I have no idea what they even look like.

Hopefully I’ve got a couple of deals that I can look at as well, and then I’m also gonna be getting lunch with a broker and another on Tuesday who cover all of Florida, just so I can get a better idea of what areas in Tallahassee, Jacksonville and Orlando are good and which I should avoid, as well as to ask them for property management contacts.

So thank you, Joe, for challenging me. I just wanna let everyone know that I’m acting on Joe’s advice. Now I’ll be able to look at four times more deals, because I’ve got ten underwriters now, so I’ve got plenty of people to underwrite deals.

Joe Fairless: Well, I’m glad to hear that, and… As long as these episodes are helpful for you and no one else, that’s what’s most important. We’ll just continue on that. I’m sure all the Best Ever listeners will be totally fine with that, where you and I just have like a little coaching session…

Theo Hicks: Seriously. They probably would…

Joe Fairless: Who cares about everyone else…? [laughter] But I’m glad to hear that, and I’m sure we’re all looking forward to hearing how it progresses.

Theo Hicks: Do you have anything to share?

Joe Fairless: Oh, yeah, well, today we’re closing on a deal. It’s a deal in Richardson, Texas, and that’s gonna put us over the 500 million dollar mark on properties that we have under management, and we’ve got part ownership in on along with our investors… So congratulations to all the investors who are in the deal with us in Richardson.

We’re airing this episode – so there’s no confusion for investors who are listening to this… This episode airs on Friday, but we record it on Thursday, and we’re scheduled to close on Thursday. So if you hear this episode on Friday and you’re saying “Wait a second, we closed yesterday”, well that’s because we recorded a day before. So congrats to everyone, and… I don’t know if there’s any lessons learned on this deal. If there is something that comes up, then I’ll mention it, but I just kind of wanted to celebrate that note, and let’s move on to the trivia stuff.

Theo Hicks: Congratulations to you, half-way to a billion dollars.

Joe Fairless: Yup.

Theo Hicks: That’s awesome. Alright, trivia questions. Last week’s trivia question was “What U.S. city had the largest increase in rent from 2014 to 2017?”, so those past three years data was available for, percentage-wise. The answer was surprising to both of us – Detroit. It actually increased by 9.8%. It was a $340 increase in rents. The person that got that correct will be getting their free signed copy of the Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Book.

This week’s question is gonna be a little different than usual, but I think it’s a very interesting and unique question. In 2010 Apple, the iPhone company – and they do more than that, but the iPhone company… I’ve got my iPhone in front of me that made me say that… It purchased one acre of land from an elderly couple in North Carolina in order to build a data server. So this elderly couple bought that land for $6,000 34 years prior. The question is “How much did Apple pay for that land?” And I’m gonna let you be within $100,000.

Joe Fairless: Alright, how much did they buy it for originally?

Theo Hicks: $6,000.

Joe Fairless: They bought it for 6k. And what year did they buy it?

Theo Hicks: 34 years before 2010, so was that ’76?

Joe Fairless: They bought it for how much?

Theo Hicks: $6,000.

Joe Fairless: They bought it for $6,000 in 1976, and how much did they sell it to Apple for… There’s only one acre?

Theo Hicks: One acre.

Joe Fairless: One acre in North Carolina?

Theo Hicks: Mm-hm.

Joe Fairless: What city? Or I guess it was a little outside of a city, I imagine, since it’s a data center…

Theo Hicks: Yeah. I don’t know.

Joe Fairless: Well, that’s hard with not knowing how close it is to civilization. I imagine it’s kind of close… So this is — who knows…? I’m not even gonna guess. I don’t even know.

Theo Hicks: You’ve gotta guess, Joe.

Joe Fairless: I’m gonna say — one acre? I’ll tell you, the nicest area of Cincinnati, or the most expensive area of Cincinnati (Indian Hill is that area), they sell per acre around $200,000, so I’m gonna say $250,000 for one acre.

Theo Hicks: Okay. Well, anyone else who has a guess, make sure that you comment either on the YouTube video, or send us an e-mail at info@joefairless.com, and if you are within $100,000, then you will receive a signed copy of the Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever book.

Joe Fairless: The first one to respond who’s within 100k.

Theo Hicks: The first one, yes. Correct.

Joe Fairless: Yeah. Sweet.

Theo Hicks: Alright, so what’s the date today? The seventh. So we are very close to the Best Ever Conference 2019 in Denver, Colorado, 22nd of February and 23rd. The last scheduled event right now is going to be The Worst Deal Spotlight and Competition. It looks like it’s going to have a Price is Right game show theme to it… I thought that was interesting, because I used to love that show when I was in college. I’d watch it every single day at my fraternity house.

Joe Fairless: Really?

Theo Hicks: Yeah.

Joe Fairless: On the couch, eating Cheetos?

Theo Hicks: No, we had like a meal plan there, so I’d go there for lunch, and I’d watch Price is Right with everyone, and we’d all scream at the TV…

Joe Fairless: That’s some whacky stuff. Alright, college kids, huh?

Theo Hicks: College kids. So make sure you guys aren’t screaming at anyone during this Price is Right game, but… I think that was kind of a fun activity, but you also kind of learn about some mistakes people made on their worst deals.

Joe Fairless: Yeah, we learn a lot from our successes, and we also learn a lot from our failures, and it’s even better if we learn — well, sometimes it’s better if we learn from other people’s failures, not our own… Because otherwise we’d be failing a whole lot if we had to learn from only our own failures to be where we wanna be.

Cool, good stuff. And review of the week?

Theo Hicks: Yeah, review of the week – guys and girls, make sure you guys pick up a copy of The Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book on Amazon, and leave a review and send a screenshot to info@joefairless.com in order to be the review of the week.

This week’s review is from Charles. Charles said:

“The only bad thing I can say about this book is I wish it was available in hardcover, because the amount of times I’ve referred to this book has made the cover flimsy. Whether you are brand new, or experienced, or in-between, the book has many great tips to follow.”

Joe Fairless: Well, thank you for that, and interesting idea on hardcover. I’m not sure how easy it would be or hard it would be to do that. We might look into that. Most importantly, thank you so much for taking time out of your day to leave a review, and I’m grateful that, most importantly, you got value from the book.

Well, everyone, have a best ever weekend, and I’m looking forward to talking to you tomorrow.

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