Raising Development Capital Online: Social Media Outreach
By Adam Gower Ph.D.
For better or worse, social media platforms have become an integral part of the way we live, play, and work. This fact holds true for the world of real estate development. Twenty or thirty years ago, real development deals were still the province of smoke-filled back rooms and country clubs, and even five years ago nothing much had changed except, perhaps, there was less smoke. A new regulatory climate at a time when many business practices had become digitized has democratized real estate finance and enabled the rise of real estate crowdfunding platforms.
Before soliciting investment capital via these methods, developers must gain an understanding of best practices relating to raising investment capital online.
When most investors hear names like CBRE and Marcus and Millichap, they immediately picture a world of button-up suits, tasteful furniture, and gleaming office towers. More importantly, they assume that because of their position and their branding these companies and their employees know exactly what they are doing when it comes to real estate practice.
As a developer that may not have access to a multimillion-dollar marketing budget or any of the advantages that come with being an industry juggernaut, leveraging social media platforms to connect with potential investors is critical. Yet it is easier than ever before in history to find ways to get your message out, gain exposure for your company and whatever deal you happen to be working at the moment, because you have immediate access to social media; the most powerful communications tools ever known to mankind.
Connecting With Keyword Research
Social media comes with the ability to track specific keywords or phrases that relate to your business, like "crowdfunded real estate investments Tampa" or "accredited investor" or other keywords that you or your team have designated as relevant to your marketing goals. It is hard to stress how valuable this ability can be with the right game plan, and conversely how many marketing dollars can be wasted with an ineffective keyword marketing plan. These tools can help you find your ideal customer or investor, but it takes time, experience, and knowledge to find that customer among all the noise.
Getting the Most Out of Content
Whether it is a mockup of a potential mix-use building on Instagram, or a fact sheet that outlines project financials via LinkedIn, distributing information about your company and your projects via multiple social media platforms will ensure that you get the most value from your marketing budget.
There are several tools and services that help developers automate the distribution of their content on social media at scale, as well as measure the impact of that content, to find what works and what doesn't. Remember that time is money, and any process you can effectively automate will save you marketing dollars that could be better spent elsewhere.
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One popular social media aggregation tool that we like to use is the automation platform Sendible. This tool, and others like it, allow users to craft a single piece of content, but use a single workflow to customize it for multiple social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc. You or your team creates the content, chooses the platforms on which it is to be distributed, and then set a date for the material to hit the web.
The major benefits offered by social media aggregation like this include time savings, the ability to seamlessly repurpose the same content, and to spread your message to target audiences across platforms all in a completely automated way.
Social media offers real estate developers a two-punch combination of identifying and connecting with potential investors. Startup costs for social media campaigns can be substantially lower than traditional print, radio, and video outreach, and the exposure you get from social media is quantifiable and trackable in a way that is not possible via conventional advertising and marketing media.
Developers can use keyword research, organic search ranking, and social media aggregation tools to streamline the content process and reach the investors they need to connect with to get their projects off the ground.
If you have only just started in real estate development, have completed no deals, have no email list, but know you want the freedom and wealth being a real estate developer brings, then I suggest your first step is to start evaluating deals so you can recognize a good one when you see it.
Here’s where you should start. You’ll learn everything you need to know – the different types of real estate, different development strategies, how real estate cycles influence the market, and all about due diligence.
If you want to find deals and raise money for them so you can start your real estate development business, then learning how to conduct due diligence so you can pitch your deals better to investors is a great place to start.
If you’ve already purchased one or more real estate project and are seeing more opportunities than you can finance, then now is the time to start building your investor network so you can finance all your next deals quicker.
You’ve already got some momentum; now start finding and educating prospects about what you’re doing so you can build an email list of people to pitch to when you’re ready to raise money for your next deal.
This is what we build for private clients all the time – it’s called the Investor Acquisition System and you can access the entire program right here so you can find prospects, and convert them into being deep pocketed, repeat investors in your deals.
If you are a seasoned pro with multi-cycle experience, a substantial portfolio, a decent deal pipeline, and find yourself spending too much time raising equity capital because you’re still doing it in-person, then it’s time you put technology to work for you.
The wonderful thing about doing this is that you’re not going to be doing anything different than you’re already doing and, guess what, you’ll never have to sit through investor meetings again.
Sounds crazy I know, but I lay the whole thing out for you in this white board workshop where I personally show you exactly what it takes for you to transform your equity raising into a fully automated, capital raising machine so you can find new investors while increasing commitments from your existing network.