Even as soon as just a decade ago, networking was something that was only done in person. You had to find chamber events, groups, community functions in hopes of finding people who are not only like minded but also eager to connect. Trade organizations (like WAA or REIAs) were the best chance to meet people who were in the same field as you. The internet began to erode away at that norms of networking and in the last 4 years technology has shattered the long-held belief of networking only happens in person.
The cornerstone of these web based groups are the discussion forums. A place for idea exchange and advice seeking among members that knows no geographic bounds. A query posted may have investors from California, NYC, or Australia offering comments or suggestions. This networking allows real estate investors to gather knowledge from across the world, connect with people in different parts of the world, and possibly become partners on deals.
A web based real estate networking group uses the website as the primary focus or method of communication between members. These membership bases tend be nationwide. This means education and opinions are not based on your local housing laws. But they are still amazing resources and ways to connect with people in various stages of real estate investing. Some examples of these are “Biggerpockets.com” and “realestateinvesting.com”.
Facebook is one of the easiest ways to network with other investors. There are groups within Facebook dedicated to connecting landlords or other real estate professionals. A simple search on Facebook for “landlord” will yield about 6-8 groups dedicated to rental investing. Some are large groups (5k member) others are small (less than 500). Some are geographically focused on a certain area of the world, others are national or internationally based. The best groups are closed groups that require approved membership to join. Membership is free but they ask you to answer a few questions to be sure you are truly an investor and not someone just looking to spam the community. Facebook groups are discussion based groups. Meaning their purpose is discussion started by other members posing questions, telling stories, etc. Moderators aren’t necessarily posting original content or posing group questions, though some do. For the most part moderators are only there to make sure the community isn’t being spammed or being abused.
Instagram is quickly becoming a platform that is more than just for posting neat photos. Through use of hashtags, stories, and live video Instagram is becoming a unique platform for networking for all fields. Instagram is unique because it allows you to see more than just words. It’s not a platform for seeking advice necessarily. It’s a platform for you to exhibit your knowledge and skills in the industry. Real estate investors post pictures of their current projects, deals, and day in the life. They use Instagram to brand themselves as investors. It’s a marketing tool. It networks them with people who have the same interests (through hashtagging). It’s a source for creativity by browsing other investors content. It’s a resume in video and picture form which can be used when talking to prospective private money investors, loan officers, and other investors.
Even with all these amazing networking abilities at your fingertips, it still is the in-person connections that will likely yield the quickest results. There is something about that in-person connection starts building loyalty and trust almost instantaneously. Combining in-person networking with technology sources can really accelerate your investment business. Always be sure you are part of one organization that gives you a local pulse on laws and trends.
Remember: Your results are directly related to your level of participation. Little participation yields low results.