Are you looking to get more leads? Looking to grow your business? Looking to reach more people?
Whether you have been active on BiggerPockets for years or are just starting out, this guide is going to help you figure out the best ways to interact on our site to make the biggest difference for your business.
BiggerPockets is home to more than 800,000 members… and tens of millions of unique visitors have passed through the site each year looking for information relating to real estate. With such a large, targeted audience, BiggerPockets can help grow your business and establish your company as the “go-to” source in your niche.
However, as you’ll find in any tight-knit community, there is a culture at BiggerPockets and an ethical code that all members must abide by to be welcomed into the community and to become trusted. This guide will help you learn that culture and the best way to interact so you can start building your business with BiggerPockets.
BiggerPockets can dramatically change your business.
Whether your business needs to find leads, customers, or deals – BiggerPockets can be the catalyst you need. The members on our site who interact on a daily basis find an almost never-ending supply of leads for their businesses. Don’t take our word for it; check out these testimonials:
“Just from sharing my knowledge on the forums with the expectation of nothing in return I have connected with many people who are now my clients… I have closed deals by just being a part of BiggerPockets and the income made from those connections has been substantial (let’s just say over 6 figures and counting.)” – BiggerPockets Member Joel Owens
“My website has seen a tremendous increase in traffic since I’ve been participating on BP… I’ve been contacted by people from other countries that have seen my blog posts, and come to my website through BP.” – BiggerPockets Member Karen Margrave
“In addition to simply the great source of leads coming to our MobileHome investing site, I have also noticed that BP readers tend to stay on our website for over 7:00 minutes on average, longer than most other sources. In addition to simply gaining exposure to my website BP has also allowed me to connect with some great local investors in my area and around the country that have become my very good friends.” – BiggerPockets Member John Fedro
The fact is: millions of dollars of business are being done on BP every month. We want you to be a part of that, but there is a culture that needs to be understood. Keep reading to learn more about that culture…
The BiggerPockets Culture : Say No to the 5 “S” Words
BiggerPockets was founded over 8 years ago to fill a void.
The real estate industry, like many industries that involve making money, is plagued with those who insist that answers must be paid for – and paid for dearly. BiggerPockets was created upon the idea that investors and vendors could get together to have open, free conversations to help grow together without being up-sold or pitched. The entirety of the BiggerPockets culture revolves around this idea.
To be more specific – there are five major types of interactions that BiggerPockets does not accept in the normal course of business on BP. This is known as the “Five S words” which are:
- No Sales
- No Sleaze
- No Self-Promotion
- No Spam
- No Solicitation
If you simply follow the guidelines and stay away from the “5 S Words” on the platform, you’ll be accepted at BiggerPockets (Except for pitches or solicitations made ONLY in the Marketplace, which we’ll get to in the next section.)
- Do not mention the article you just published on your website in the midst of a discussion (self-promotion.)
- Do not leave a comment about an eBook you are selling when answering a question on a topic (Salesy.)
- Do not offer someone your coaching program via the Private Message system (Solicitation.)
- Do not tell someone they can make money by following your multi level marketing program (Spam/Sleaze.)
The Right Way to Interact
So what should you do?
Provide value freely and openly and let the customer come to you. When a question is asked in the forums, simply answer it and do so by providing complete details! While only one person asked the question, potentially thousands of others will come to see the thread and will see your answer, building your brand and helping others recognize you as an authority. Authority on BiggerPockets is built through repeated interaction and by giving helpful responses. It isn’t a “one-and-done” thing; reputation is built from helpful interactions on a consistent basis.
Setting Up Your Profiles To Attract Leads
As a social network, your profile is your portal to connect with other members on the site. If you engage on the site, people will check out your profile – both your personal and business profile – to learn more about you. This is your opportunity to showcase yourself and what you do! A fully filled out profile showcasing your abilities is imperative to your success on BiggerPockets. Here are a few tips for using your profile to attract leads and get your name out there.
Setting Up Your Personal Profile
Another belief BiggerPockets holds close to is that relationships are built through personal interactions and not business-to-person interactions.
For example, an individual can talk to a representative to a company, but they can’t talk to the company itself – that doesn’t make sense. As such, we do not allow company profile accounts to comment in the forums, but only individuals who work (or own) those companies. This is also why we do not allow your personal “avatar” (picture) to be your company logo. BiggerPockets does have business profiles, which we’ll talk about soon. We’ll also explore how you can use these profiles to grow your business.But first, let’s talk a little more about your Personal Profile.
Your “Profile” is your area to talk about yourself, your business, and anything you want people to take notice of. You can include links to your own site on your personal profile as well as any calls-to-action or sales-talk that you’d like. If you are active in the BiggerPockets Forums, you will attract individuals to view your profile – so make your profile count. If you don’t have a personal profile, you can set that up here. Also, as mentioned earlier – be sure to include a professional picture of yourself (not your company logo.) A photo of your face will build trust much better than a vague picture taken at a distance. Your personal profile includes 4 sections. Be sure to fill in all sections completely:
About Myself: Use this area to talk about who you are, where you are come from, and what kind of work you do in real estate.
Experience: How long have you been in the business, what kind of deals do you do? How can your business help people?
Real Estate Goals: What do you want to see your business do?
Currently Seeking: Everyone has needs. Perhaps yours is customers, leads, or deals? What are you looking for?
In addition, be sure to fill out your contact information in full, your occupation, your market, and your “deals and holdings.” All this information helps to build trust. A fully completed profile is one of the most important ways to start building trust with members. After you have your Personal Profile set up, you will need to set up your Company Profile. Let’s talk about how to do that now…
Setting Up Your Company Profile
Your company profile is your company’s online home on BiggerPockets. Just as members may check out your personal profile, they will also check out your Company Profile before bringing you any business. For this reason, it is imperative that you set up your business profile to connect with the most people possible. If you don’t have a company profile, be sure to set one up after you set up a personal profile (Login to your personal account, then go here)
When setting up your Company Profile, be sure to upload your company logo, which will show up on your personal profile as a secondary image and it will also show below your forum posts, if you have a PRO membership (which we’ll get to in a moment.) When setting up your Company Profile, you will be asked for your “Company Slogan or Summary” – this will show up on the top of your company profile. You will have an area to write “About My Company.” Just as with the Personal Profile, be sure to be as detailed as you can here, and feel free to point people back to your own personal website using the fields we’ve got for links. Also, be sure to include your company address, phone numbers, and any other important links that potential partners or customers may want to know about using the pre-designated fields. After setting up your account, you will be able to switch between your business and personal profile by clicking the small avatar picture in the upper right corner of your Dashboard (or any Forum page.) See photo below:
Connecting Your Company Profile to Your Employees Personal Profiles
To connect the Personal Profiles of your employees or partners who are part of the company to your Company Profile, please follow these 4 easy steps:
Step One: Be sure that your employees/partners are also logged into their personal profile.
Step Two: Have them navigate to the front page of your Company Profile. They can find it by searching your company name in the search bar on the top right, and click the “Companies” on the left side of the search results.
Step Three: Have them click the “Join” button in the “People” section and press “Okay” on the confirmation pop-up.
Step Four: You or the administrator of your company profile will login to the site and switch so they are using the Company Profile. Then navigate to manage your requests (You will have a notification.) Simply accept the request to join and you are now linked. If there are requests from people who are unaffiliated with your business, be sure to reject them.
Note: Only Personal Profiles with a “PRO” membership will have the company logo in their forum signatures. The next section will talk about PRO Memberships and how you can use it to further expand your visibility.
PRO Memberships and Why Your Business Needs One
BiggerPockets offers a premium membership for those looking for additional tools to grow their business. Whatever your business is, a PRO account (at $29 per month) and Plus accounts ($9 per month) can help you give your company extra exposure and bring you more leads. This section is going to look at seven benefits to the PRO account. For a more thorough look, be sure to check out BiggerPockets.com/pro
1.) Post Ads, Opportunities and Solicitations in the BiggerPockets Real Estate Marketplace.
The BiggerPockets Marketplace is the only place on our site where posting ads for your haves, wants or needs is acceptable, and only PRO and Plus members can post ads there. The Marketplace gets tens of thousands of views a month and is a great place to promote your deals, business, financing, event, product or service, solicit deals, financing, partners, mentors, conduct market research or promote your website. If you want exposure to any of the above, upgrading to a PRO account is an extremely affordable way to get some great visibility.
2.) Promote Your Brand via Your Enhanced Forum Signature
The BiggerPockets Forums get hundreds of thousands of visits a month. While posting on the forums is a great way to get visibility for you, you can also build your brand by simply engaging in our community. It is simple — just upgrade to a PRO account (not available for Plus) and make sure you’ve set up a profile for your company in our real estate companies directory. As a PRO, you’ll then have the option to set up an enhanced signature which includes your company logo (linked to your company profile) as well as your URL and other important information.
By simply posting and providing value to others in the community by participating in discussions, hundreds to thousands of people will see each post and you’ll build up your brand. You’ll also gain traffic to your website — some of our active members get thousands of visitors a month from BiggerPockets solely from their participation here. One additional bonus: while the signatures of free users and Plus members are only viewable to other members who are signed in to the site, signatures of PRO members can be seen by both members and visitors alike.
3.) Prospect Warm Leads by Seeing Who is Visiting Your Profile
Building up connections is imperative for success in any venture, and that especially rings true in the real estate business. With that in mind, we put together a feature that is designed to help our members grow their networks, by allowing them to see who is looking at their profiles and blog posts — this feature is only available to our PRO members (not Plus). Imagine the power of knowing who looks you up. All you need to do is follow up with those people to see what their interest is, and you’ve suddenly prospected a warm lead. While it may not lead to anything, you might also find your next partner, deal, or financing by spending a few minutes each week connecting with these folks.
4.) Follow More of Your Favorite Topics with Keyword Alerts
The most popular feature on BiggerPockets since its launch has been our Keyword Alert System. This system allows our members to set up keywords for terms that are of interest; our members use it to track things like topics they are interested in, cities they live/invest in, keywords that would help them find out about deals or just to network. All members can set up keyword alerts, but there are limits on the number that you can establish – – they are: 5 (free) to 10 (Plus) to 20 (PRO). Only PROs Get Alerted Instantly with SMS Alerts Another bonus for our PRO members only is the ability to receive SMS alerts (text messages). These are fantastic for things like: Setting up ‘brand alerts’ so you can quickly respond to threads about you or your company. Being the first to respond to ads in our Marketplace — get the inside scoop on deals and opportunities. Helping you quickly respond to topics or other items of interest on the site.
5.) Better Networking with More Colleague Requests
One of the most valuable things about BiggerPockets is the vast network of other real estate investors and professionals that spend their time networking here. While we give all our members the opportunity to connect with others via colleague requests, there is a limit on the number that you can submit at any one time. Those limits increase with a PRO or Plus account, as you can see from the chart below, from 25 (free) to 35 (Plus) to 50 (PRO). Do note that members may not send commercial messages, ads, or any form of solicitation in their colleague requests.
6.) Expand your Ability to Privately Message Other Members
With a free account on the site, you can send private messages to those people who are your colleagues, and can send them one at a time. That said, with a Plus or Pro account, you can also CC multiple recipients (up to 10 at a time). However, do keep in mind that we have a zero tolerance policy for spammers; sending commercial PMs to people you don’t know is grounds for removal from the site.
NOTE: Both our PRO and Plus accounts give users the ability to search their inbox; our free users do not have any PM search ability.
7.) Download Important Real Estate Documents and Templates and Store Your Docs Privately
As a PRO member, you can download an unlimited number of files from the BiggerPockets FilePlace, whereas our free (3 /week) and Plus (5 /week) members both have limits set on the number of files that can be downloaded each week. The available files come from our members and are shared to help others with their own templates, agreements, and other documents. Additionally, only our PRO and Plus users can store documents in our FilePlace privately. All uploads from our basic users are shareable and publicly accessible. We can’t grow your business for you — all we can do is put together the tools to help you be successful.
The free accounts on BiggerPockets are extremely robust, and are perfect for users interested in learning, interacting, and networking in the real estate investment space. That said, our PRO and Plus accounts are designed to help you take your business to the next level. With a network of 110,000 members and hundreds of thousands of visitors a month, these tools, if used properly, can really boost your business!
Adding a Video to Your Profile
On both your personal AND company profile, you can now upload a YouTube or Vimeo video to showcase who you are. This is incredibly helpful in building trust in an online world and we highly recommend you upload a video today.
We would also encourage you not to just upload a promo video, but upload a simple video of YOU talking in front of the camera. People come to your profile to learn more about YOU, so let them see who you are!
To upload a video, you must have a PRO membership on BiggerPockets. Then, simply record the video, upload to YouTube or Vimeo, and enter in the url for the video at https://www.biggerpockets.com/profile/basics next to “Video Introduction.”
Using the Forums to Build Your Business
The BiggerPockets Forums are the busiest part of BiggerPockets.com, with hundreds of thousands of unique visitors each month. Being an influential voice on the forums can help you and your business stand out. This section is going to look at the best ways to grow your business using the forums.
Do These Things:
Provide Value – We’ve mentioned this time and time again, but once more doesn’t hurt. The key to building your brand on BiggerPockets is by providing value.
Answer Questions – Do your best to answer questions that you know the answer to. If you don’t know the answer, you can at least ask for clarification or tag someone (“@ mention”) someone who might know. Click here for info on tagging people with the “@ mention” feature.
Link to Quality Sources – Linking to news articles, blog posts, or web pages are great when it adds to a conversation. Additionally, linking to other BiggerPockets forums posts, articles, or blogs is highly encouraged. However, as we’ll cover below, you cannot link to your own content:
Don’t Do These Things:
Don’t Promote About Yourself in the Forums – People don’t ask questions on BiggerPockets to be pitched to. Therefore, we do not allow any mentions of your own company or service directly in a forum thread, unless specifically asked. If someone asks a question – help answer it or don’t post. It’s that simple. Your forum signature includes your contact information. If you prove yourself as a knowledgeable source, people will contact you via your signature (which is why an Enhanced Signature is so important, through a PRO account.)
Don’t Link To Your Stuff – This also means do not link to your website or any site you are affiliated with. We consider any links to your own content as solicitation or spam – so please do not talk about or link to your stuff in the Forums. Solicitation is only allowed in the BiggerPockets Marketplace.
Don’t Hide Affiliations – If you work or own a company, one of the fastest ways to get removed from our site is by hiding your affiliation and recommending your company. We see it almost every week someone claiming “I really like xxxxxx company – they are great!” (When they actually own that company.) This is sleazy and not allowed. Just be clear about your affiliations!
The Best Forum Tools for Your Business
Our Forums are the #1 way for you to establish credibility on BiggerPockets. The individuals who consistently answer questions on a certain topics are the individuals who get the most leads and most business from our site. In an effort to make it even easier for you to build your reputation and credibility, there are two features you should be using on a daily basis: the Keyword Alerts and the “Subscribe to Category” feature.
1.) The Keyword Alerts
With over 1,700 new daily posts on the forums, it can be tough to sift through and find the topics that mean the most for you. To help, we created the Keyword Alert System. The Keyword Alert System is a tool that gives you instant notifications whenever a forum thread mentions a word or phrase that you choose. For example – if you are interested in “Flipping Houses”, you can set up an alert so you’ll instantly know whenever a someone mentions “Flipping Houses” on the BiggerPockets forums. Or if you set up the keyword for “New York” you’ll be notified whenever someone mentions New York. You might also want to set up keywords for things like:
- your city name,
- your state name,
- your company name,
- property types,
- investment types,
- investment strategies
- or anything else you can think of.
Why Use the Keyword Alert System?
1.) Increasing Engagement
The Keyword Alert System is great because it helps you engage in the conversations that you want to be a part of. BiggerPockets is about helping you connect and network with other people – and the Keyword Alert System is going to help you do just that.
2.) Find Out First About Deals and Opportunities
One of the most beneficial characteristics of the entire BiggerPockets network is the ability to find deals and opportunities that can help you grow your real estate investing business. By setting keywords that are related to business ventures you want to engage in, you can be notified immediately of those opportunities when they occur.
3.) Share Knowledge
By receiving keyword alerts – you are able to jump into the threads that you feel most knowledgeable about and offer advice. Being a consistent voice in a few specialized areas is going to help you build your brand and your expertise, and the Keyword Alert System is going to help you do so.
4.) Promote Your Business
The Alert System is great for promoting your business also. Let’s say you run a business that helps people with self-directed IRAs. If you set up several keywords revolving around the term “Self Directed IRAs” – you can quickly jump into those conversations to offer advice and ideas, which helps establish you and your business leaders in that field. As always- however, BiggerPockets still won’t allow spam on the forums. The alert system is going to help you interact and build your credibility – not throw up ads every time someone mentions a related topic.
5.) Find Things to Learn About
You can also monitor topics that you want to know more about. For example – I want to know more about “direct mail” – so I am going to enter that keyword so I am notified each time a forum discussion talks about “direct mail.”
6.) Text Message Alerts
If you are a PRO member, you can receive not only email updates, but also instant text message alerts that will let you know when certain topics are discussed on the Forums. This can help you be the first to jump into a thread and be the first voice heard on a thread, further establishing your credibility. Business Tip: Set up keyword alerts for your business name so if someone talks about you or asks questions about your business you can jump into those conversations immediately. Don’t let an opportunity to answer questions about your company slip by.
The same applies to your personal name. Many individuals do not know how to properly “@ mention” a user, so you may be discussed in a forum and never know about it! To learn more about how to use the Keyword Alert System, check out this blog post or to set up your alerts right now, go to BiggerPockets.com/alerts
2.) The “Subscribe to Category” Feature
While the Keyword Alerts allow you to jump into individual threads that matter to you, the “Subscribe to Category” feature allows you be notified whenever a new thread is begun in any category that you select. (Watch a video on the Subscribe to Category Feature Here.) Subscribing to a category can be another great way to build your credibility, because you can become the go-to person for a certain subject by consistently answering questions in that forum.
For example, by subscribing to the “Creative Financing Forum”, you will receive email notifications whenever anyone starts a new discussion in that forum. What better way to build credibility than being the most heard voice in a forum? Who do you think someone will go to when needing a hard money loan – a stranger or someone who is active in the forums answering questions about Hard Money. As a reminder – do not use the Keyword Alerts or the “Subscribe to Category” feature to talk about yourself or your brand. Again – it’s all about adding value. If your your Keyword Alert lets you know that “hard money” is mentioned in a thread, you MAY NOT go into that thread and say “I’m a hard money lender, I can hook you up” or anything like that. If you do this… your post will be removed and you may be banned from BiggerPockets.
Business Tip: Be sure to subscribe to the “New Member Introduction Forum” so you’ll be notified whenever a new member introduces themselves to the forum. This is an amazing way to greet new people and establish yourself as one of the leaders in this community. Welcome each person warmly and start building your credibility with that person the moment they join. Taking ten minutes a day to welcome new members may be one of the most efficient ways to build your brand on BiggerPockets.
Your Forum Signature
Your forum signature is the most common ways a person is going to find out about who you are. Beneath every forum post you make, your signature will include information about who you are and what you do.
Business Tip: To deter spammers, your signature is hidden until you have at least 10 posts in the forums (unless you’re a PRO).As soon as you finish your first ten posts (perhaps simply welcome 10 new members) your signature will show up everywhere.
There are two types of forum signatures: Basic and Enhanced. The basic signature includes just basic information, such as your name, email, or website. As a PRO, you’ll then have the option to set up an enhanced signature which includes your company logo (linked to your company profile) as well as a linkable URL and other important information. The following is an example of a forum post with an enhanced signature (pink square added below for demonstration purposes. That won’t show up…)
If you are looking to attract customers or leads to your website, we highly recommend you set up an enhanced signature via a PRO account so people can easily navigate to your website. Remember, your signature is the best way for people to find your website from the BiggerPockets Forum – so be sure to make yours count.
Business Tip: Do not Include “sales” language in your signature – enhanced or not. The signature is meant to be informative, not salesy. It will be removed.
Using Colleague Requests and Private Messages to Gain Leads
The Colleague and Private Message systems on BiggerPockets allow you to communicate with individuals at a much deeper level. This section is going to discuss the best ways to use those systems to build your business and earn respect.
What is a Colleague?
A Colleague is a 2-way relationship between two individuals on BiggerPockets. In order to establish a colleague relationship, one party must send a “Colleague Request” to another and it must be accepted. Colleagues are able to keep track of the other person and their updates will show up on their Dashboard feed.
What is a Follower?
A follower is a one-way relationship on BiggerPockets. Individuals on BiggerPockets can choose to follow any Personal Profile or Company Profile. The follower will see updates and posts of the person or company they followed.
How Do I Use the Private Message System?
- Only personal profiles can send private messages. This goes back to our foundational belief that people should be interacting, not faceless businesses.
- Don’t Solicit in a Colleague Request. Colleague requests are designed to build relationships. Your colleague request should include a message about who you are, but not a request for services or products.
- Only PRO Members Can PM Anyone. If you have just a basic account, you can only send private messages to your followers or colleagues.
- Don’t Spam. The Private Message system is a privilege and if you are spamming people with deals or being obnoxious, you will find yourself banned from sending private messages. Don’t let that happen.
- The Big Picture: Private messaging is not for advertising. It’s for networking. Just remember that and you should be fine!
The BiggerPockets Marketplace
The Marketplace exists to unite people’s “Haves and Wants.” Everyone has something they need, and everyone has something they want. This Marketplace is the only place on BiggerPockets to bring people together to make those deals work for the benefit of all parties, without infringing on the education side of the forums and blogs.
The Marketplace is the only place for ads or solicitations or self-promotion outside your profile. You can use the Marketplace to do most of the things that we tell you not to do in the regular forum. Go ahead- talk about your company, mention your recent blog post on your site, offer your lending services, or whatever else you want (within reason.)
Keep in mind, current rules prohibit posting ads for the same product or service more frequently than once every five days. Please respect this rule and only post every five days at most. Not only does this help keep the Marketplace more sortable and easy for people to find your posts, it also helps keeps uphold the integrity of your company by not appearing spammy. For more information on the Marketplace, be sure to watch the video below:
“Can I or Can’t I?” Frequently Asked Questions
Finally, this last section is just going to directly answer some of the most frequently asked questions that we get concerning businesses interaction on BiggerPockets. After reading this, if you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to email us at [email protected] and we’ll help you out!
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I link to my own content and website?
Only in the Marketplace, your Personal Profile, a BP Member Blog, or your Company Profile. Please refrain from linking or talking about your company, your services, or your products anywhere else.
Can I link to other people’s content?
Yes! If there is good content out there, we want our members to know about it. Just be sure that you have no affiliation with that link.
Is Affiliate Marketing allowed?
Can I promote my MultiLevel Marketing Business?
Can I talk about my business in the forums?
Only if someone asks about your company. If not, please do not mention your company, your company name, email, website, or any other information. This information should be in your Forum Signature, which will show up below each of your forum posts.
Can I ask someone to contact me in the Forums?
No. Please send a colleague request if you are trying to network or post in the Marketplace.
How do I get my photo to show up on comments on the BiggerPockets Blog?
The BiggerPockets Blog is based on the WordPress Framework, so in order to have your photo show up in the comments section you’ll need to set up a free account on www.Gravatar.com – the universal avatar company for all WordPress blogs across the web.
Why is BiggerPockets so strict on self-promotion?
There are plenty of places on the internet you can market and pitch. BiggerPockets exists to be a safe haven from that marketing for individuals who are looking for help in the real estate investing world. Whether you agree with our policies or not, we ask that you respect our rules to be a part of our community.
How can I attract customers?
Provide value. Building your business is not a short term game, but is done built on establishing relationships built on providing value. The BiggerPockets members who provide the most value always receive the most customers, leads, and deals. Just as in real life, deals are based on trust. This guide was designed to help show you the best way to build trust on BiggerPockets.
How do I get paid advertising on BiggerPockets?
If you are interested in placing banner ads on our site or newsletter or are interested in other types of ads or partnerships with BiggerPockets, please visit www.BiggerPockets.com/advertise to contact us.
Thank you for taking the time to read through this guide on using BiggerPockets for your business. We truly feel that BiggerPockets can do wonders for your business, and understanding the BiggerPockets Culture is foundational in helping you succeed on the site. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us anytime via e-mail.
Founder and CEO, BiggerPockets.com