So is Facebook really losing its magic, and are real estate investors to blame? It looks like the social media behemoth could be heading for a rough patch according to some hard numbers recently released by Fortune Magazine. I’ll tell you all about those numbers in just a minute, but before we get to cold, hard, sad (for Facebook) numbers, I’d like to mention some numbers that will have you breaking out the confetti instead. Here are just a few: 2.3 million, 180,000, and 232. Confused? Don’t be. Those numbers all have to do with deals that a certain commercial real estate EXPERT who is also a frequent guest on this podcast has done recently, and let’s just say that the “big numbers” have to do with fast flips and property values (where she bought with none of her own money) and that “smaller” number, 232, has to do with the number of cash-flowing units in a certain building she recently acquired, with her students, from the bank. Intrigued? You should be! Did I mention the “Star Student” who bought the $2.3 million property is a stay-at-home grandmother? Get all the details NOW by heading right over to www.rei.today/IMPORTANT to access case studies, training, and lots of great information.
Now, back to Facebook’s breakdown, such as it is, by the numbers…
Here’s the nasty number at the heart of the problem: 21 percent. According to Fortune Magazine, Facebook users are sharing 21 percent LESS than they used to, and that’s a big problem because it indicates a disconnect between users and each other and between users and Facebook. “It’s a key vulnerability,” columnist Erin Griffith explained, adding that it makes the entire platform feel less like a “special and intimate place to share things” and more like a “big, impersonal, professional platform.” That’s bad news for Facebook because even though the platform makes its money via advertising, when it starts feeling impersonal, that makes it inherently less trustworthy and the value of the ad placed on the platform declines.
So what does this have to do with real estate investors?
Well, according to Erin (and a number of other analysts agree with her), the fact that so much of the content that is shared on Facebook these days is “professional,” meaning that it is sourced from another location rather than personally created, as a status update would be, lies at the heart of the Facebook dilemma. Because that content is often found elsewhere online, Facebook is in danger of losing its “identity,” she said, adding that the very things that attracted professionals and businesses, like real estate investors, to the platform is now detracting from the value they get by maintaining a presence there. She also noted that although sharing of personal information is down, that doesn’t mean Facebook use is down. In fact, 65 percent of Facebook’s monthly active users (who number 1.6 billion by the way) come back every single day.
So how can you, as a real estate professional, use Facebook in a way that continues to garner you the most value for your time and money? Here are three suggestions:
First, take the time to learn about Facebook advertising. At REI Today, we believe that Facebook ads, much like other targeted ads, may have a limited lifespan (there will always be the “next big thing,” after all) but if you learn to use them effectively, as long as those 104 million people are coming back every day to check in on the platform, effective, targeted advertising is going to get views and responses.
Second, create a personal “oasis” within the Facebook community. You can create private groups on Facebook where you not only establish a sense of belonging among members, but where you can curate the content and make sure it’s not just something that can be read elsewhere online. You may restrict it to things of interest to group members, personal postings, and items on your own website, for example.
Finally, work on lowering the bar for posting within your personal group on Facebook. Keep a close eye on your privacy settings so that people know that what they post with you will stay private and safe within the group. Buzzfeed writer Alex Kantrowitz recently pointed out that people don’t post personal feelings on Facebook anymore even though they still post personal milestones because a rogue post can easily cost a person their reputation or their job. If you can help your target audience feel secure with you, you’ll be even more likely to keep their attention and their loyalty when it comes to working with you.
One way that Facebook is working to make the user experience more personal once more is through new features like “reactions,” which now supplement the ubiquitous like button, and Facebook Live, a live video stream option. You can read the company’s own take on these new tools in our REI Today Vault, and let me tell you, reading it in their own words is pretty interesting. Check it out at www.rei.today/vault right now and then let me know what you think! Not yet a member? No worries at all! text REITODAY no spaces, no periods, to 33444 I’ll provide you with fast, immediate access to all sorts of great trainings, news coverage, interviews, and lot more timely information that will help make your investing safer, faster, and more profitable.
And remember, when you do that, you’ll also be able to GROW YOUR NETWORK by interacting with me and your fellow listeners to REI Today… so stop by to ask questions, make comments and network with other investors across the country. Text REITODAY no spaces no periods to 33444 or head over to www.rei.today/vault right now.
REI Nation, thanks for listening in and always remember this:
Your best investment is your own education.
Carole Ellis is the host of Real Estate Investing Today, a popular 9-minute daily podcast focused on educating real estate investors about the important topics that will make their investing SAFER, FASTER, and MORE PROFITABLE. She's also the editor of the Bryan Ellis Investing Letter. She has more than a decade's worth of experience in and reporting on the real estate industry and, additionally, has written dozens of courses on the topic. Carole lives in Kennesaw with her husband, Bryan, and four children. She believes wholeheartedly that your best investment is always your OWN education.