In just over two weeks, we’ll be celebrating our 8-year anniversary here on BiggerPockets. Over those years, we’ve celebrated many milestones, and have seen quite a few new products come and go. We’ve learned from the countless mistakes that we’ve made, and have built a better, stronger company as a result. We’re able to do this because not only do we listen to the feedback that our users give us, but we also actively solicit from them, their thoughts and ideas on what we’re doing right, and more importantly, what we’re doing wrong.
It is very easy to become satisfied with the trajectory of your company if you’re just taking ideas from your employees. When you listen to your users/customers, you break out of the bubble that many businesses (and even politicians) get stuck in.
A Social Media Philosophy: Individuals vs. Entities
With all that said, as many of you know, since its inception, we’ve been very strict here at BiggerPockets, about making sure that our forum and social network are used by individuals as opposed to companies — this is because of one of my core philosophies regarding social media. While we certainly understand that companies will send their employees to participate, we’ve never allowed companies to have an interactive presence here. That’s why when you go on our forums, you’ll never see John Doe talking to Company X; but, you will see John connecting with the Sales Manager or Customer Service rep from that company.
That said, as Facebook and Google+ have successfully opened their platforms to businesses, we were getting more and more people asking us to let their business have a profile that could connect with our users. While we felt that this would go against the philosophy at first, we just needed to change the way we thought about it.
Since the beginning of time, businesses have had ways to broadcast their message through advertising and marketing, and giving a company more of a voice via social media is simply an extension of that. Once we felt comfortable creating a way for a company to have a presence on the network (our old company profiles were the first step), we needed to make sure that they could do so in a way that didn’t annoy our users or violate the aforementioned core philosophy. As such, we thought long and hard about it and came up with what you’ll see below…
Social Real Estate Company Profiles are Born
Just this week, we launched our new social real estate company profiles. As you can see from our New Real Estate Companies Directory, in addition to being able to create a personal profile on the network, companies in the industry can now finally establish a social profile on our platform.
What Company Profiles Can Do:
- Create a professional looking public webpage for your business.
- Designate the URL for your company on the platform. e.g. http://wwww.biggerpockets.com/co/YOUR-NAME-HERE
- Share news, links, updates, and other information about your business with visitors and followers via our dashboard.
- Interact with followers who comment on those status messages in your dashboard.
- Create a blog on our blogging platform for talking about real estate or your products / services.
- Interact with followers via private message.
What Company Profiles Can’t Do:
- Post in our forums
- Post property listings in our property directory
- Join or create groups
- Solicit or contact users, except followers.
- Follow or become colleagues with other companies or user accounts.
- Upload or download files in our FilePlace
As you can see, while companies have the ability to get the word out and have great marketing tools on the platform, we’ve been fairly restrictive in the feature set to make sure that spammers don’t use the company profiles to annoy our members. This is the best of all worlds, we believe.
Setting Up Your Company Profile
Creating a Company Profile: Linked to a Personal Account
If you’ve already got a personal account on BiggerPockets and want to create an account for your business OR if you want to do just that, but don’t already have a personal account, getting started is easy. First, make sure you have a personal account registered. Once logged in, go to your dashboard . . .
You can go to our Real Estate Companies Directory (Network menu in blue navigation bar, Companies link) . . .
And click the Create a Company Profile button.
Your Company Profile: Completing the Details
You’ll then be redirected to your Edit Company Profile page, but now you’ll be logged in as your company.
Fill in the URL of your website, and if you have any other pages you want to point your profile to, you can also do that here. Note: You’ll fill in your other social profiles later.
Next, click the “Contact & Social Media” tab, and you’ll be able to fill in your social profiles (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, G+), your business address, and any contact numbers. You’ll also be able to decide if you want your email publicaly displayed.
Finally, if you haven’t already, click the “Update Logo” tab and upload your company’s logo. Then click the UPDATE link at the bottom of the page to save all the information you filled in; you can also click it before switching tabs.
Once you do, you’ll be redirected to your public profile:
Some notes: 1) Any additional links you add will show up here, 2) While viewing your own profile, you’ll see that there is quick link to edit the profile here, 3) Shows the number of people who are following your company, and 4) This tab, UPDATES, will allow visitors to see any status messages you’ve posted. (Note: Users will be able to post updates directly from this page in the near future, but for now, that must be done from your dashboard.
Advanced Features of Company Profiles
One of the most important features of our company profiles is the ability to post status messages on the dashboard. These messages can be seen by your followers or anyone visiting your company’s profile.
These messages are great for sharing company news, events, or anything else you want people to know about. You can add links or images, and your followers can respond or comment on these messages. If you’re a real estate company, there’s no better way to get your message across to people in the industry than to engage on your BiggerPockets Dashboard. Of course, the key is in building your followers — the more people that follow your company, the more reach you’ll have.
A company can post a status message both from their dashboard AND while visiting the UPDATES tab of their own profile.
Companies can also create a blog on our platform. Setting one up is simple…
Go to the dashboard, click on the BLOG dropdown on the left side of the page, and select the “Start a Blog” link. Once there, fill out the page with the name of your blog on our site (not an individual article, but the blog itself), a description of it, and any keywords. Your next page will allow you to customize the blog, and you’ll see that the BLOG dropdown on the left side has many new options to allow you to write and manage the posts on this blog.
Navigating Between Your Blog and User Account
If you’ve got both a user and company account, between your NOTIFICATIONS and PROFILE image on the right side of the blue navigation bar, you’ll find a down arrow. When you hover the mouse over it, a tab will drop down and you will be able to switch between your personal account and any company accounts you’ve created.
@Mentions & Companies
Users that follow your company will be able to @Mention you throughout the site.
Private Messaging & Companies
Companies can Private Message their followers and vice versa.
Connecting with Employees
Users can request to “JOIN” a company. The company admin can then decide if they are going to allow the user to be attached to the company’s profile. Once someone has joined a company, that company will appear on their profile, and if they are a PRO member, will also appear in their forum signature. We encourage you to ONLY allow those people who work for your company to join the company.
Once someone joins, they can be upgraded to become a company admin, who will have full control over the company account.
Companies can also invite any BiggerPockets Member to join, or can invite by email their employees.
Of course, the more people in your company that have profiles on our site, the more opportunity your company will have to get visibility as our other members visit their profiles. Ensuring your business is well represented by having a complete company profile and active employees, is the best way to get great FREE pr via our platform.
Get Your Company Profile Set Up Today!
Our company profiles are a great way to establish a presence for your business on our quickly growing platform. Whether you want to just set one up as a calling card or in place of a company website OR if you want to utilize all the great features of the profile and use it to interact, share, and broadcast, there’s no better time to get set up then now.
NOTE: We don’t currently have a search feature for companies, but that will be implemented shortly. Additionally, we will be adding features to let companies stand out in our company directory in the future. Finally, spam profiles and profiles for businesses outside the real estate niche will be closed without warning.