February 18, 2022

JF2726: How to Build a Social Media Content Engine to Scale Your Business ft. David Toupin


We’re sharing the top ten sessions from the Best Ever Conference 2021 as we gear up for the next Best Ever Conference at the Gaylord Rockies Convention Center in Colorado this February 24-26th.

In this episode, David Toupin—CEO of Real Estate Lab, a multifamily real estate software company—shares his social media hacks to help grow your real estate business.

Register for the Best Ever Conference here: www.besteverconference.com

Check out David’s previous episode on the podcast: JF2039: Experience Shouldn’t Stop You From Starting With David Toupin

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Joe Fairless: Welcome to another special episode of The Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Show where we are sharing the top sessions from the Best Ever Conference 2021. This year, the Best Ever Conference is back in person, February 24th through 26th. Come join us in Denver, Colorado. You’ll hear all the new keynote speakers, you’ll meet some new business partners, you’ll learn some insights from the presentations and from the people you meet, that you can apply to your business today. Here is an example of a session from last year that is still relevant today and will be beneficial for you.

David Toupin: Well, hey guys. I think we’ve got some slides popping up here pretty quick. I’m really excited to talk to you all today about social media specifically, about how it pertains a lot to the multifamily space, and building a content engine at the end of the day. I’m not just a social media guy, my main business is multifamily. I own two companies, Obsidian Capital and Real Estate Lab. I buy apartments, that’s what I do every day, day in and day out. I started at age 20 in college, bought a 12-unit, house-hacked a 100-unit deal shortly after that. Since then, I’ve syndicated as the primary GP, 800 units, building around 200 apartments at the current time… And recently, I started a software company called Real Estate Lab for multifamily investors, tackling their pipeline and analyzing deals, all online.

It’s kind of what I do, and I’m training to be a pilot, kind of something on the side that I’m doing as well. So all I do is real estate, and I really want to talk to you guys today about how social media has helped me take my real estate game and absolutely exploded over the years. I think this is really powerful, especially in the times we’re in, with everything that’s happened since early 2020 with the Coronavirus. Today has become an absolute virtual world. It’s no question that if you are not involved in some form of social media or virtual outreach, you are missing out on a lot of business. So it’s really important today that we pay attention, we learn what’s going on in the social media world, what are the trends, what’s happening, what is the most impact that we can create on different platforms, and how to reach people that can become potential investors, customers, clients, relationships, business partners.

Something really powerful, –I keep my slides pretty simple, but… Social media equals attention, attention equals influence, and influence equals income. The more people that we can put ourselves in front of, the more attention that we can gather through social media, the more influence we’re going to get. Speaking on different topics, teaching people, educating people about apartments and multifamily – it’s part of the reason that syndication has become such a large business nowadays. When I started back in 2016, syndication wasn’t so much of a common thing. But nowadays, a lot of people who get into the single-family space are quickly led into, “Hey, multifamily is a great place to be in.” And I agree. And that’s because of all these social media influencers, Joe and a lot of others, we’ve garnered a lot of attention online and created the influence. It has driven a lot of people towards this, which is hopefully creating a lot of passive income for you guys.

So you really need to focus on social media. I’m going to go through a couple of different ways you can do it and how to get started. Also, I think the two things I’m going to touch on are if you’re not doing any right now, how to get started, and if you are doing it, how to really ramp it up and treat it like a business. Because nowadays, social media is not just a hobby, it’s not just something fun that you’re doing on the side. A lot of people do use it that way, but if you are in the business world, or you’re in real estate, there are a lot of ways that you can be using it to really help grow your business and grow your impact and your influence.

So I’ve got a couple of false statements I want to share. I’ve been hearing these for years, back when I started when I was 19 and 20, just getting into this business… It’s “people with money don’t use social media.” It’s simply not true. I remember talking to people four or five years ago, and they’re all telling me, “Why are you spending so much time on social? You’re trying to raise capital, or you’re trying to do this and that in real estate; social media is not the place. You need to be out and meeting people one on one.” I agree, all that’s great. But the fact of the matter is that a lot of people with money use social media. I have personally raised over $4 million just through connections, private investors that I’ve met on social media. So it is very powerful. A lot of people with money – you’ll find them on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, it’s huge. You definitely need to be connected with people that have the capital. In social media, it’s very possible.

You can’t build real relationships over social media. Some of my closest friends today — and I’m sure a lot of you guys listening have stories similar. Some of my closest friends today are all other young real estate investors, people that are successful in the business – I’ve met them through social media. I’ve created a pretty great network of good people all through social media. Nowadays, we are in a virtual world. This is an online conference nowadays because of Coronavirus and other factors, and we’re going to keep seeing a lot of these virtual conferences, virtual events, and meetups… So you really are forced to build relationships over the internet, and social media is the best way to do that. This is a fact – if you are not using social media in 2021, you are missing out on major business opportunities, investors, partnerships, and more, in this multifamily space. I’m a strong believer that if you go very strong in 2021 on social media, you can grow twice as fast than if you are not using social media.

How social media has helped me – I just want to give a couple of examples, guys, because I know it’s always like “Well, what do you actually get out of social media? How can it actually help you?” So I’ll give a couple of examples. I did mention that I’ve raised north of $4 million in capital from private investors, probably over 50 private investors, through social media. That’s Facebook connections, Facebook groups, Instagram, making posts, direct messaging, LinkedIn, YouTube, all that. I bought a 230-unit apartment complex last year, and that was through a friend of mine I’d met on Instagram, who had shared that lead with me. We ended up buying that complex.

I’m right now building a 150-unit apartment complex – that was through referral. The landowner, who is partnering with us on this development, and she’s contributing her land to this development – her son met a friend of mine up in Dallas, who told the son of the landowner that I was down in Austin doing some new developments, so she referred him my way. Through a friend, through social media, I’m now, 150 plus 230, almost 400 apartments that I’m getting into just through social media. So it’s absolutely something you need to be doing. Over time, it grows into this spiderweb network of all this business that can come your way, that you can refer to other people’s way. Very powerful stuff.

I just wanted to talk about a little bit where to start. If you are new to social media or you’re just using it right now for entertainment-wise, there are definitely a couple of ways that you can just get in in an easy way. I know it can be overwhelming, there are a dozen different platforms you could be on nowadays… So my advice to people would be to pick one to three platforms – I’d say it’s probably best to just start with one or two. Let’s say you take Facebook and Instagram, which are the first two that I really went strongly into when I started. Take those two and run really just focus on that. Pick what your niche is, tell your story to people, and explain what you’re doing day-to-day. It’s not going to be easy, especially at first, if you have a current audience that’s maybe not real estate focused; maybe they’re just a bunch of friends, relatives, and whatnot, and you’re not very heavy into social media. One thing you could do is create a separate account just for business. Or you take your current account – this is kind of what I did when I started. I said, “Hey, I know most of my current network is not real estate focused. But over time, I know the more that I talk about real estate, the more I’m going to attract real estate-related people to my page.” So what started as an audience that was very heavily weighted towards college, high school friends, family, and relatives – I just started talking about real estate constantly, talking about the projects I was working on every day, what I was doing, telling my story to people… And over time, it just created a huge influx of people through referrals. The way that algorithms work on these social media sites is they drive people who have similar interests together. So the more you talk about something, the more I talked about real estate and connected with other real estate people, it snowballs over time.

So a couple of tips – don’t worry about what other people think about what you’re posting; it really doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, if you’re going to use it for business, treat it like a business. You wouldn’t be worried about anyone else off social media in regards to your business, so don’t worry about what people think about it. If you love it and you’re passionate about it, talk about it, share your story and you’re going to attract a lot of people towards what you’re doing.

A couple of ways that you can make it very structured, as opposed to really just getting sucked in… I know it’s easy to get sucked in on social media sites nowadays, where you can scroll for hours if you really had the time… But what I’d say is block out one day every week to record a few hours of content and take some pictures. Let’s say you’re focusing on Facebook and Instagram – take a couple of hours out every weekend or every Saturday, record a couple of one to three-minute videos talking about different days, or talking about what you’re working on, take a bunch of pictures that you can either put text over or a caption with, take some nice pictures and just stockpile some content, begin to do that. Then throughout the next seven days, or that next week, you have a bunch of stuff you can post. You’re not worrying about taking the content all during the week, and “Oh, I don’t have anything to post.” It’s because you planned ahead, you scheduled it out, you took a bunch of content, and now you have that to post throughout the week.

Block out two hours every day to post and to interact with your followers. It’s one thing to just post content and outwardly post content, and it’s another thing to actually interact with the people that are following you. My philosophy has been, since I’ve started, is I like to respond to every single comment or direct message that I get. If you catch me on Instagram nowadays, within a day, I’ll at least be able to get back to you as best I can. I have a team of people that help respond to direct messages for me now… But interact with people. One of the biggest ways that I’ve grown my Instagram following, which is my strongest network, is because I’m always constantly direct messaging and interacting with people. I’ve got people like Grant Cardone directly through DMs, and we’ve connected that way, or other very successful real estate people I’ve found through Facebook and Instagram, and connected with them in a way that it probably would have been hard to through their emails, because they’re so flooded in their emails, and maybe they don’t have a huge social presence, but they’re very successful investors. I’ve connected with some really cool people through social media that way. So definitely interact with your followers, get out there, follow other people that are in the space, comment on their posts, get your name out there, consistently post stories.

On Instagram, for example, I’ll post two to five times a week, but then I’ll be posting on the story. There’s a story function where you’re posting just 24-hour posts that go away after a day. I’m posting on that pretty much every day, consistently.

Break: [00:13:45][00:15:41]

David Toupin: If you’re starting, pick one or two platforms and learn how they work, learn what type of people you meet through there, and get good at it… Because Instagram is different than Facebook, it’s different than YouTube, it’s different than LinkedIn.

I’m going to share with you guys – I think my most impactful sites right now are Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, you guys all know these, LinkedIn, Twitter… I really don’t use Twitter much. I know some people who are successful on Twitter in building relationships for real estate. TikTok, I would say is very much so in the younger generation. I don’t use TikTok a lot, but I know some people who are very successful, maybe on the real estate agent side, through TikTok. I don’t know many multifamily investors, but maybe there’s a space that’s kind of ripe for somebody to take over on the multifamily side of things there; it’s a little untapped. Bigger Pockets, obviously, you guys want good social sites or a lot of forums you can post and stay active there, commenting, creating relationships, and networking.

One that’s, I think, pretty noteworthy, because it’s fairly new, is Clubhouse. I’ve tried to spend a good amount of time on there. It’s a very new network. Imagine live conference rooms; there are constantly different conference rooms that are popping open, you can hop in and listen, it’s audio-only, and you have various speakers that talk on various topics. You can sit in these rooms with people that are very influential, and have conversations with them, and ask questions. Clubhouse is great, I’ve gotten a lot of reach on there. I’ve actually transacted with a couple of people business-wise through people I’ve met on Clubhouse. These are the ones you guys should be focused on right now, in my opinion. The most bang for your buck, I guess I’d say, would be across these platforms.

So if you’re a little bit more advanced and you are getting into really ramping up, let’s say you already post business-wise on social media, Facebook, LinkedIn, and you guys have a couple of different platforms, what’s really key next is starting to treat your social media like a business. No longer should you treat it just like something fun you’re doing on the side, or just for entertainment. If you’re really partially kind of doing it for business, and you want to take it to the next level and tap the full potential of social media, you need to treat it like you treat your syndications. When you do syndication, you have a process for gathering investors, you have a process for finding deals, underwriting them, making offers, and then you have a process for due diligence, and you have a process for asset management after the fact. It’s the same thing for creating this social media content engine. You want to have a process for this that you can follow, use, and get in a groove, to where you’re getting the most reach, the most impact, and the most interaction with your followers.

I’ve started to do this over the last six months. I hired a Chief Marketing Officer and we have a team of content producers, creators, editors, and then people who will go and schedule these posts. So what I suggest – maybe you can hire one person part-time at first to help with this. Some kind of content creator would be I think one of the first people; a professional videographer or photographer… And you want to start recording lots of content. What I do is schedule a couple of sessions every month with a videographer, and we’ll get together for three to five hours, and we’ll knock out a ton of videos and a ton of photos. I do that a couple of times a month. I take all this content, I store it in Dropbox, I then have an editor that will go in and start editing all these videos, cuts them down, and we repurpose them in multiple ways.

I might record 60 minutes of content talking about how to raise capital. Well, we’ll take that full video, we’ll chop it up a little bit, maybe down to two 30-minute videos, and we’ll put those on YouTube. Then I’ll take a couple of two to five-minute clips from that; maybe out of those 60 minutes, I can get five good two to five-minute clips, and I’ll post those on Instagram, IGTV, and I’ll post those on Facebook. And I’ll get a bunch of 20 to 60-second clips that I could post quickly on Instagram, my stories, Facebook, LinkedIn, and whatnot. So an hour of content, I have now created 10 to 20 different pieces of content that I could post on various platforms from that.

So we’re creating a content database that is going to drive this engine. Your content engine and your social media engine are driven by the content that you put out so we need a lot of that. So we’re doing that, we’re storing it all, and then my CMO goes in and he schedules all these posts to go out. He’ll either do that on a weekly basis or a monthly basis.

I have various pages. On Instagram, I have a personal page, I have a business page for my real estate company, I have a business page for my software company… So we’re scheduling our posts for those over the course of the month. We already have the content, we’re scheduling them; that means day-to-day, I’m not having to personally worry about it or Steve’s not having to personally worry about going in and posting all this content. It’s all scheduled, you can time block that; it’s easy to do, systematize it.

Once a month, we actually have a content meeting with our team, and we go over all the content, my team writes up a bunch of captions, they’re writing a bunch of copy and text to go along with these posts, and then I’m reviewing it, I’m approving, I’m making sure it looks good and it sounds good.

What’s being posted goes is according to what I’m trying to convey at that current time. So every month is different. One month, I might be really trying to push users into my real estate community. Another month, I might have a deal under contract and I’m trying to raise capital, so that’s what I’m going to talk about. Another month, I’m really just trying to build awareness for my software coming out; or maybe it’s a week-by-week. So I’m always changing up my focus of what I’m talking about, along with consistently providing value, videos, and texts that either inspire people, educate people or provide value to people, so that when it comes time for me to want to raise some money or I have a product to sell, I’ve given enough value to where value will now come back to me.

So treat it like a business, schedule your posts, record the content in batches, keep it in a Dropbox or something where you’re storing it, where you just have this bank of content and photos, and then you’ll never be behind, you’ll never be wanting, you’ll never be in need of going out and taking a photo, because you can just go back and look through 100 pictures and say, “Hey, I want to post this one today, and this is my caption.” So that’s kind of how you create this engine, treat it like a business and systematize it.

I’ve just got some final tips for you guys and then we’re wrapping up here in a minute. I would say the number one tip for social media, the number one secret is consistency. You are not going to start up and make an extra million bucks in your first month of using social media. It’s it doesn’t work like that; it’s not what it’s intended to be. Social media is like anything – you’re building rapport with people, you’re building a relationship, you’re creating a brand for yourself. That takes time. It took me probably two and a half years before I did any type of monetization. Four years after I really had been consistent with social media; I’d put out a community that I started this past year about six months ago, and we did multiple six figures in revenue within a 30-day period. So I provided constant value for people == over four years I’ve been providing value and connecting and building relationships. Then in a 30-day span, we did about 150,000 in revenue on a singular product that we offered out to the community. So consistency is key.

Number two, I’d say, is focusing on a niche. It is very hard to spread yourself thin. It’s like anything, if you want to focus on buying apartments, it doesn’t make sense for you to spend time looking at single-family homes, commercial, or in 10 different markets. If you want to buy apartments, you narrow your focus, you figure out what size, if you want to buy 50 to 100 units, it’s the same thing; focus on your niche. Find a niche, focus on it, talk about it, and you will attract people in that same niche. Be yourself. People will recognize if you’re fake; there’s a lot of fakeness out on social media nowadays. A lot of people definitely are fronting and can act like something or not. It’s very easy to tell, in my opinion, nowadays. So just be real, be yourself, be a good person, and I promise you’ll attract a lot of really good people to you. Interact with your audience. If you’re just posting, but you’re not replying to comments or questions, you’re not replying your direct messages, people will shortly forget about you and they’re going to go interact with somebody else who actually will give them that attention back. It’s a two-way street, that’s how you build these relationships.

Tell your story. If you have an interesting story or you’re creating that story at the current time – maybe you haven’t bought a deal yet, but you’re working towards it, you’re working towards buying your first property. Post about that; hold up your camera and take a video on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram on what you’re doing, like, “Hey, I’m touring a deal today. This is what I’m up to.” Somebody might comment on that and be like, “Oh, you do real estate? How does that work?” You tell them “I raise money from investors and go buy apartments.” They’re like, “Well, I’ve got 100 grand and I’m interested in investing real estate.” There you go, boom. You’ve created value, you’ve told people what you’re doing, you’ve shared your story, people will comment, interact, and you will create those type of relationships.

The same thing at this last point, you’re going to automatically attract the people that like the same things you like. That’s how these algorithms work. Once you start talking about it, those people will become attracted to you. Guys, lastly, if you’re not using social media, like I said, if anything you get from this, please start using social media in 2021. If you’re already using it, think about taking it a little bit more seriously, treating it like a business, like anything else you do in your business. I know personally, I have made a couple million extra dollars in the past five years specifically because of social media. If I hadn’t used it, I wouldn’t have met my current business partner, I would have bought less deals, I would have raised less capital. It’s huge.

Thanks for having me today. I hope you guys enjoyed this. Connect with me on social media here. Here’s a lot of my tags, look me up. If you want to get in touch, the best way would probably be through a direct message on Instagram.

Joe Fairless: Well, I hope you gained some useful insights and actionable advice from this previous Best Ever Conference session. Remember, if you’re looking to scale your investing in 2022, we look forward to seeing you in Denver. Get 15% off right now with code BEC15 at besteverconference.com. That is code BEC15 for 15% off at besteverconference.com.

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