Storytelling: The Key to Building Authentic Relationships Online
Raising capital for your real estate projects takes an enormous amount of trust. Investors, many of whom do not know you personally, have to extend their hard-earned money to a stranger (most likely) in hopes that what they are putting out into the world comes back, and gives them some sort of gain. But how do we get complete strangers to trust us?
By Online Storytelling
Stories are told through content. People rally around content. People learn to trust you through content. By creating online content and sharing your unique story, you can readily gain that much needed credibility.
When you share your story online, it’s bringing awareness to you. Typically, people have to know you, like you, and trust you before they will invest with you. By building these online relationships, you can gain preference from an audience that already knows they like you - so when the time comes to ask for the sale, or ask for an investment, they already see you as someone they trust.
Telling the Right Story to the Right Audience
Often times, people think the message they want to share is the message their audience cares about. But in reality, in order to have a story that resonates, you need to be sharing something that not only YOU are passionate about, but one that meets the ‘passion potential’ of your audience.
The story needs to be less about you, and more about what somebody needs. You have to understand their concerns, their issues, what they need, what they want. If you can match what you want to share with what your audience cares about, you are so much more likely to turn that online connection into a lasting investor relationship.
The Value of Being Authentic
Telling your story and having an online presence will only get you so far if you aren’t portraying your most honest, authentic self. There needs to be absolutely no difference between the way you show up online and the way you would communicate with someone in person.
If you are a real-estate developer, or you’re in real-estate development, it’s still about people. It’s about who you are, how you show up, and your thought leadership. If you aren’t showing your most authentic, genuine self, and people do not trust you, or care about what you are doing, you’re never going to be able to take that next step towards raising funds - and creating that project that you’re working so hard to bring to fruition.
Where to Share Your Story Online
You have to know and understand where you want to share your content online. There are so many social media platforms, and it can sometimes feel like you need to be on every single platform in order to succeed. But don’t worry! The answer to that is absolutely no, you do not need to be everywhere.
You have to start by looking for where the right conversations are happening. You need to figure out where your investors are and what they’re doing. Here is a quick breakdown of the top social media platforms for raising real estate capital, along with their strengths and weaknesses:
- Facebook is the largest and most well-known social media platform. It has over two billion active users and is a powerful tool for sponsors. The downside for Facebook is that its organic reach, meaning non-paid, is quite low. Gaining an audience may take some investing on your part in advertising.
- When it comes to social media marketing, LinkedIn may not be the first social platform that comes to mind, but it could surprise you. It has been deemed the social network for professionals, and you are, indeed, a professional. This is a great place to showcase your projects, value proposition, and knowledge.
- Instagram may be perfect for you if your project is visually focused and you can create a steady flow of good images. The platform is geared towards a slightly younger crowd and the best part about Instagram is growing an audience is relatively easy and won’t cost you a dime in advertising.
- Twitter is a great platform if your goal is engagement. Twitter’s organic reach is excellent, but it is time intensive and very fast-paced. To be successful, you must have high quality content that is posted frequently.
The main thing you should take note of, is that you can’t just jump in and pitch your deals. This is about being human. It’s about what you bring to the table in your story, or content. Whatever it is you want to talk about, whether it be connecting to a design, or connecting to a certain project because something about it interests you - those are the things that you can talk about when you join the conversations online with the right people.