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Need More Money to Finance Your Real Estate Projects?
Learn how to find more investors, raise more money, and finance your real estate projects online.
Podcast Episode 329: Kim Garst, Social Media Strategist & CEO at KG Enterprises
Everything You Need to Know About Raising Money for Real Estate Using Facebook Groups
Kim Garst has owned an online business for over 25 years and, as such, is a world expert on social media and digital marketing. She's an international best-selling author and is extremely passionate about the world of digital media and social selling.
As the CEO of KG Enterprises, she specializes in live video, Twitter, Facebook, social selling, and so much more.
Today, Kim chats with me about the awesome power that Facebook Groups hold and how real estate developers can leverage their toolkit to reach potential investors and bolster their overall online presence.
What You're Going to Learn
* Does Anyone Really Use Facebook Anymore?
* The Differences Between Facebook Pages, Profiles, and Groups
* How to Use Facebook Groups to Meet Prospective Investors
* How to Use Facebook Groups to Build an Investor Community
* How to Invite People to Your Facebook Group without Ticking Them Off
* The Best Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Facebook Group
* What's the Deal with Paid Facebook Groups?
* How Facebook Groups Can Add Value to Your Networking Efforts
* How to Do Live Video (Even If It Makes You Nervous)
* Some Pro-Tips for Starting a Facebook Group from Scratch
And much, much more.
Listen To or Watch the Full Podcast Here
Does Anyone Really Use Facebook Anymore?
Adam: Tell me a little about ... Just help me get into this labyrinth, or out of it, or at least conceptualize it a bit better than I currently do.
Kim: Sure. Well, obviously, Facebook is the elephant in the room. It is probably ... Well, it is definitely one of the very first social networks. There is like 900 million log-ins on Facebook every 60 seconds. That's a stunning number. There is billions of people that are logging in or have accounts on Facebook.
The reality of it is that most people are more comfortable on Facebook than other social platforms. They stay longer. They stick longer. They're looking around more than they do on other social platforms.
Beyond that, most of our ideal clients or the relationships that we're seeking are on Facebook. It's just a matter of connecting the dots to get to those people, because, again, the reality is even if they're not engaging on Facebook, they're still there. They're still looking. They're still consuming content, if you will, on Facebook.
What Are the Differences Between Facebook Profiles, Pages, and Groups?
Adam: What are the key zones, if you like, of Facebook? You've got your personal page. There's business pages; there's advertising; there's groups, et cetera. Kind of lay out the map for me, a little bit, will you?
Kim: Sure. Great question, by the way. There is the personal profile, which, when you sign up for an account with Facebook, you get what's called a personal profile. You have to have a personal profile to do a lot of the other things - to take advantage of some of the other functionality, if you will, of Facebook.
Facebook pages ... Let me back up to profiles again. Profiles are not designed for commerce. For those of us who are interested in leveraging Facebook for business, we need a Facebook page or a Facebook group in order to be in compliance with their terms of service.
A Facebook page is a business entity. It's specifically- you can call it a Facebook page, or a Facebook business page, or a Facebook fan page. Those terms are interchangeable, by the way; they all mean the same thing. A page allows us to have a business presence on Facebook. There's SEO value in having a business page because when people Google us, which they do ...
Nobody really pays attention to business cards so much anymore, or if they do take your business card, they're still going to go to the Google machine and see what they can find about you. That's just the way people are today. Having that opportunity, when your name or your business is Googled, to show up with a Facebook presence is value-based. Of course, if you're planning on leveraging the power of Facebook ads, you have to have a Facebook page to be able to do that.
The Facebook group is either a- it's a closed community, if you will, where you can start to build a community around a common theme, interest level, or expertise. Those are great enclosed places to really, really build out community versus a page. Both have their value, but they're just different end goals, if you will. I still feel like you need a page because you want to show up with a business presence on Facebook, and, again, the ads piece; if you're going to run ads, it's necessary to have the page.
Of course, the Facebook ads platform is where they take our money, and we hopefully get a nice return on that. I will say that if you understand how to use the power of Facebook ads, they are tremendous. They are an ATM machine, but they do take some marketing skill.
Use A Facebook Group to Meet Prospective Investors
Adam: If I'm trying to raise capital for real estate projects online, for my real estate project, for a client who's trying to raise money online, how do we think about either setting up a group to create an environment for communication versus leveraging existing groups?
Kim: Well, I think there's probably a place for both, but I would also say that from a core strategy and owning the opportunity versus leveraging someone else's opportunity - which is what you do when you're going into someone else's group, to harvest a lead, if you will - is that you are building your own entity, your own opportunity, your own community. You're fostering that community.
When you're setting up a Facebook group, you have to understand that it's bigger than what you're doing. In my opinion, it's bigger than the purpose behind the group, because you've got to approach the community aspect or the community building aspect from the perspective of what do they care about outside of this? Whatever, if it's expertise or what you're just sharing ... Is this going to be about finding investors that might be interested in commercial real estate opportunities?
What else? That would include some education. That would include sharing the latest and greatest opportunities. It would be facilitating conversations. It might be humor, in some cases, because if you can get people to laugh or cry, you got them. There's more to building a community inside of a Facebook group than just consistently pushing whatever it is that the group is all about [cross talk]
Adam: In other words, consistently trying to sell something [cross talk]
Kim: Consistently trying to sell, yes.
Using A Facebook Group to Build an Investor Community
Kim: Setting up your own group is ... Again, I really feel like it needs to be up-leveled above the level of exactly what it is that you're trying to do; meaning it's bigger ... It needs to be a big idea, or it needs to be a more holistic end vision.
I'm going to use an outside example, but it's a great one to paint the picture of how you up-level the concept or the name of the group. It still has to be all about the person you're trying to attract to that group, for sure, and what they care about. But one of the greatest examples I've seen of this thinking bigger or maybe thinking outside of the box a little bit is a group that started four or five years ago.
The name of the group was Screw the 9 to 5. The premise behind it was just that - ditch your J-O-B; stop working for the man; we'll teach you how to do that, essentially. Because of the messaging of the group, they attracted exactly that demographic.
What I'm trying to say is how do you look at the demographic that you're trying to attract and then ... Whether it's getting to the next level in your business, or whether it is finding the right opportunities, be clever, is what I'm saying, with your name choice. Again, make it about the result - the transformation that they're going to achieve through the experience of being a part of your community.
How to Invite People Into Your Facebook Group Without Ticking Them Off
Adam: There are two ways of getting people into a group. Well, at least ... Actually, maybe three. One is to invite them. One is to be asked by somebody, proactively, to enter the group. Then, I suppose the third is to advertise, right [cross talk]
Kim: You can't directly advertise a group with Facebook ads, but you can connect your group to your business page. When you do connect your group to your business page, you can pen an announcement about your group to the top of your business page. That's a great way to drive traffic to your page.
You were talking about best practices ... It's kind of not super-cool to just add people to your group. When you're doing outreach and you want to invite people to your group, make sure you share why and what's in it for them [cross talk]
Adam: Let me just jump in and ask ... I'm going to interrupt you, though, which my wife hates when I interrupt, but I'll never remember this [cross talk] It's not cool to just add people, which begs the question - can you just add somebody to your group without inviting them and having them say yes?
Kim: Well, yes, you can, but it usually ticks them off. Again, it depends on whether or not your group is open or closed, so there is some nuances to the types of groups and the different things that you can and can't do. Regardless of whether you can do it or not, don't is my message to you.
Make sure you have a ... Do some outreach and say why you feel like this might be a great fit. If they're interested, here's the link. Then, they can join ... Actually, even by the virtue of sending an invite, the link to the group is in that invite.
I would definitely encourage personal outreach instead of just, "Hey, you're in my group ..." because it really does annoy people. Now, when they see those opportunities, and they don't feel led to join your group, they can actually block that group, so you're never going to get them, going forward. That's never a good thing.
Best Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Facebook Page
Adam: What are the best ways of driving traffic to a group? What is the best [cross talk]
Kim: There are so many ways. One of the most effective ways that I have found, like I said, you can definitely connect your Facebook page to your group. That's one way. Another is to advertise your Facebook group everywhere, to include having a link on your primary website.
Like, in your nav-bar, where you've got Home, and you've got Products, or Services, or whatever, Free Group, Free Facebook Group, whatever ... Make sure that you are taking advantage of all traffic sources that you have, because people will be like, "Oh, what's that about?" They'll click on it, and if it's of interest to them, then they'll absolutely add themselves to the group.
Obviously, if you're doing interviews like, mention your group ... There are so many other ways, but it's all about making sure that your group is front and center in literally any place where you have a traffic source.
Closed Groups Vs. Open Groups on Facebook
Adam: That's really interesting. Tell me something about the difference between open and closed groups. I am actually a member ... I've found Facebook to be phenomenally useful with groups, particularly on the tech side. If I'm using a particular platform, it's an amazing place to go and get questions answered very, very quickly. I actually find good subcontractors to help do some of the work. What is the difference between open and closed, and what are the dynamics between those [cross talk]
Kim: Recently, Facebook did just change their ... It used to be they had the secret, and the different- three different layers, essentially. Now, they just have the open and closed groups. Open is just that. It's public. Anybody can add anybody at any given time. There's not a lot of control, if you will. Plus, outsiders can see who's in the group. They can harvest your group members, if they want to. That's always been a concern for people who are building community, if they have an open group, is that competitors will come and harvest their group members - meaning add those people to their groups, et cetera.
The pros of it, though, is that it's just that - it's public. It can be found very easily in search. It's very easy for people to add to the group. Your group members can add, and there's not an admin that has to approve or any of those types of things. It's just wide open, in other words.
You'll find a lot of larger entities, like larger, maybe, cancer groups, for example, or anything that's like big like that, where they're just they don't ... I hate to say they don't care. I don't mean it like they don't care who's in their group. I don't mean it like that, but it's open. It's, "Come on in. It doesn't matter. Everybody's welcome," kind of thing versus a closed group.
A closed group has two options now. Even though it's still going to be a closed group, there's two checkmarks. One is that you can technically make your content hidden, meaning the group itself can't be searched for, and nobody can see the members, and this kind of thing.
If you don't choose that option, it's just a closed group. People can still see the group, find the group, in other words, in the search feature, and that's important. My recommendation, for the most part, if you're trying to build community, is to go with that secret- I'm sorry, that closed group without the secret functionality, because you want to be found. You want to be searched for and found ...
People can find it, and they can see the admins, but they can't see everything. They can't see the content in the group or anything of that nature, so it protects the conversations that are happening inside of the group, and that, I think, is important, especially if you are creating an environment where people feel like they can have those safe conversations, like their content's not out there in the public space.
Going back to the public group, anything that's posted in that group is public for anyone to see. In the closed group, the content can only be seen if you are a member of that group.
What's the Deal with Paid Facebook Groups?
Adam: The other kind, Kim, that I've also been a member of ... It's very interesting, quite different. I'm interested in asking you about both of these types, from the perspective of a real estate developer trying to raise money online from investors, perhaps sharing confidential information, et cetera. The second type is where I have actually, off Facebook, joined some kind of monthly membership club of some sort; I've subscribed because I want insights.
One of the bennies, one of the benefits of that, is to be invited to a Facebook group of other paying members of that group. That's a very different feel, actually, inside that. Help me understand both of those, if you would, and how they might be leveraged differently for a sponsor raising money.
Kim: Technically, they're not different groups, necessarily. They could have a secret functionality, though, meaning that there is no- that only the members that have purchased the product or service - Facebook group is used as a support element for whatever you purchased. That could be a secret group, meaning there's that secret functionality, where only the people inside of that group get to see the conversations. That might be a better fit for people who have communities where there is sensitive information being shared. Absolutely, you would probably want to protect those conversations.
Most of my groups right now are closed, and they are paid groups, meaning they are- somebody paid for something else, and we have a Facebook group that supports that paid element. Like my inner circle, for example, or my mastermind clients. I'll just use my mastermind clients real quick, because I think that's ... It's a smaller community. Obviously, the conversations that happen in there need to be protected. The people inside of that community also need protection.
Adam: What is the nature of the conversations that requires protection [cross talk]
Kim: In this particular case, there may be income conversations. There could be team-building conversations. There's sensitive information that they would not necessarily want everybody knowing about their business. There may be hiring problems, or a variety of different things, because these are business owners, and they are sharing ...They hire me to help them up-level their business.
In that environment, the space is protected through ... We do manage the conversations in a Facebook group. Then, of course, they also have a log in to a membership dashboard, where our Q&As and our hot seats, or any courses that are gifted to them as a part of the process, they can access all of that in another location.
Adam: Right, and that's off Facebook [cross talk]
Kim: That's off Facebook, yeah.
Adam: There's no gateway to a Facebook group on Facebook that is paid. You have to pay somewhere else, and then you get access on Facebook, right?
Kim: Correct. I would suggest ... This could be an option for somebody that is interested in doing some sort of a membership that is paid that might even teach the whole real estate investing process - what does that look like? That's obviously another opportunity, another- even another conversation. There is a huge need for knowledge, and it could be leveraged in that capacity.
Facebook Groups Can Add Value to Your Networking Efforts
Adam: Let's talk about a closed group, because I think that's most likely where we really want to be - just my gut feel - rather, certainly than an open one, that either requires invitation, or there is some kind of subscription related to it of some sort.
People are taking it more seriously, from that perspective, as well. They're there; they have a purpose; they recognize that this group can serve that objective of theirs; that they're going to derive actual value from it, because they're paying for it, for example. What are the dynamics inside a group, the way that members communicate with each other?
Kim: Well, I think that's the beautiful part about a Facebook group versus a Facebook page. When we have a Facebook page, we're just sharing content, and people might like it, or they might leave a comment, but there's no real deep relationship-building going on there.
Inside of a Facebook group, it's a totally different dynamic. A community to me is bigger than me just talking to someone and them talking back to me. That's just a two-way conversation. Community is where you lead the conversation, or others can even lead the conversation, frankly, but it's about that the community, as a whole, supporting one another, and sharing information, and all of that. That's awesome. That's so adorable [cross talk]
Adam: -comes in to say hello, occasionally.
Kim: It's so cute. Like, "Here, dad, I need some attention ..." Mine just came- you didn't see her, but she was here just a moment ago [cross talk] The dynamics of conversation inside of a Facebook group can be so much deeper and true value delivered, either whether you're leading the conversation, or active members within the community lead the conversations or adding their own value to the conversation. It's a totally different dynamic and one that has to be fostered, in my opinion.
Adam: It's fascinating; it's absolutely fascinating, isn't it? Because, when you set up a group, the group members start to create their own content; their own dialogue. They ask questions of each other. As the group starts to take on its own life, it actually starts to breed its own organic value, as people start to talk. As a moderator, as the leader of a group, how do you interact with that? What are best practices, again, for spurring things along, for providing ultra-high-level value that keeps things moving and growing?
Kim: The thing about it is that it can come in a lot of different shapes. You could go live in your Facebook group, which I highly recommend, by the way, and give great value; not only deliver great value, but engage, and listen, and have the group members be seen and heard. Even though you're the face of that interaction, they still can feel like they're being seen, because they drop in a question, and you answer it. It's like real-time conversation.
It's probably the fastest way to really build out the 'know, like, and trust' factor, because they get a sense for your personality. They start to say, "This guy, or this gal really knows their stuff, and I'm in the right place. I feel like I'm getting a ton of value from this relationship, or this group." The Facebook Lives are huge.
I also there is a lot of value in what I call themed days, meaning ... Again, it depends on the ... I'll give you a couple of my examples, because every niche is totally different. For me, it could be ... Well, I'll use one for you. Maybe it's Investment Tip Tuesday, or Tech Tip Thursday, or Facebook Friday, where you're encouraging the members to connect on Facebook, on their Facebook pages, to support one another, to get their numbers up, et cetera. Twitter Tuesday ...
There's lots of different ways that you can engage and have them engage with each other on Facebook or on other social platforms so that there's that connection orleverage those themed days just to deliver more additional value.
Adam: Do you have guests? Do you do bring guests in [cross talk]
Kim: And you can do guests, as well, absolutely. I think that's where the Facebook Live element can really be impactful, because then they see the both of you, and they say, "Oh, wow, this is amazing! I have access to this content. Where else would I get it?"
That circles back to the Facebook Live, but I highly recommend, whether it's ... It could be up to four, or, depending on the tool, you could do even six. You could do a panel inside of your Facebook, using Facebook group and using Facebook Live, with the right tools.
If the Idea of Doing Live Video on Facebook Makes You Nervous...
Adam: My heart palpitates when I think of going live. Seriously! I've been on one live so far; did not like it. I've got another one coming up. I find it really uncomfortable. How do you get over that? I'm happy talking to you, now, because I know I can cut, edit ... The dog comes ... So what, right? It's totally editable. Live, there's people!
Kim: I have a couple of things to say about this, because I was you. Honestly, I was that perfectionist that felt like everything had to be perfect. I would edit a video at one ... My team hated me on video days, because I literally would shoot the same video 50 times, and that is no lie - a three-minute video shot 50 times - and then I would edit it to death, until it was perfect.
The very idea of going live, I was like, "Uh, nooo, that is not happening ..."
Adam: I'm so exactly the same!
Kim: But, when I realized ... I went live a couple of times, and I'm like, "Oh, my gosh, look at all these people, and look at how many people I can help ..." At the end of the day, it's not about us. If we're here to make an impact or to connect with people around things that we know we can make a difference in their lives with, then we're just being selfish if we get hung up on our own self, because it really is about us.
The beautiful part about live video is people are not looking for perfection. In fact, they crave the opposite. They're wanting authenticity. They're wanting ... They don't care if our nose is shiny or our hair is sticking up - they really don't - or if a light falls on our head ... I've had that happen.
It's just a fascinating dynamic, and how different it is when you're live in an environment ... Again, it goes back to that they feel like they can be seen, and they can be heard. It's not about us at all. If we can realize that we are just totally being selfish by not putting ourselves out there, and sharing, and making a difference for others, then, at the end of the day, it's our bad.
Pro Tips for Starting a New Facebook Group
Adam: Let's say I want to set up a group, and I do. I'm very interested in this idea. How do you start? What is our critical mass for getting going? How do you start a group when you've got one person? How do you start?
Kim: Well, I think it starts with being committed to the concept. Don't even bother to start, if you don't plan to be consistent. I think that's the first thing I would suggest is if you're iffy, or you're not committed to it, then don't bother. That would be the first thing. I see so many people jump into it because they think it's a great idea, and then they can't support it. They don't have a plan around it, that kind of thing.
The way you start is very simple. You just go to Facebook.com/groups is probably the easiest place to find the setup functionality for your group. I think, before you do that, though, you might really go back to what I said earlier, which is what is the purpose of this group, and how are you going to name it in such a way that it's not ... One, it's going to attract the right people; two, it can be found, and/or if you're going to advertise it consistently, then, is the theme of it or the area of expertise going to resonate with the people you're trying to attract?
I really feel like there's ... You can change the name of your group, so you're not set in stone. If you start, and you realize you need to shift it, tweak it, you can always go back and edit the name of your group. Don't feel like making the decision is set in stone. I would give it some thought before you start, just so that you have that perspective. Set it up and then start doing some outreach; start seeing who is interested.
Have a plan for content, because I think that's important, too. It doesn't have to be super fancy schmancy. I would suggest that you put some content in the group before you start adding people to it. Because if somebody comes to a group, and it's a ghost town, there's no Netflix effect, right? There's nothing for them to consume. So, guess what's going to happen? They're going to be there, and they're going to bounce.
Adam: Can you use a lead magnet for that? I mean, I do have an idea for a slightly wacky group. You could create a giveaway - "Sign up for the group, and we'll send you a PDF"?
Kim: Absolutely. In fact, one of the functionalities that Facebook has with their groups, they ask three questions, when you request to join. You have that three-question opportunity. One of those questions, in my opinion, should be what's your email address? That way, you can start to collect those email addresses, and it's one way to start really owning the real estate, your own real estate ...
Even though you're building a community on Facebook, having that email address gives you a touchpoint that is important because you own that. If Facebook changes group rules or something like that, then at least you have a touchpoint. You can connect with that person outside of Facebook, if it comes to it.
Now, Facebook has said recently - Mark Zuckerberg said it at the F8 Conference - that they're really, really focusing on Facebook groups moving forward. I don't know if you've seen this in the app itself, but now there's a Facebook group option in the little icons down at the bottom. They're already making the shift. They're advertising Facebook groups all over the place, paying for ads on TV, and things of that nature. So, they're putting their money where their mouth is. They're really going to be pushing Facebook groups.
The opportunity for Facebook groups is so great right now, one, because of that; Facebook is saying that they're going to do that. Facebook pages, the content on Facebook pages are hard to get into the news feeds of the fans of those pages because of the algorithm. You could be posting content and it'd be like crickets on a Facebook page.
Adam: That's right.
Kim: When you have an engaged Facebook page, those members are going to see that content in their feed versus hoping that two percent of your Facebook fans, if you're lucky, will see the content from your page in their feeds. Having that opportunity right now, it's a rich one, and whether or not ... I think the Facebook group functionality is going to expand in some interesting ways because Facebook has told us that that's what's happening.
Going back to my original point, that doesn't mean you shouldn't be moving people from social media to a place that you own as quickly as you possibly can. Use those three questions.
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