Ever since I started the REtipster Blog back in 2012, I always felt like it was missing something.
It's one thing for me (or one of our hand-picked writers) to dish out lessons, opinions, and experience from the real estate investing trade, but I've always wanted a better way to incorporate your voice into what we're doing.
Of course, there's our Facebook Group and the various other social channels where we're active in… but there's something to be said for a forum that is actually owned and controlled 100% by our team. A place with fewer distractions, where we have better moderation controls, better searchability, better sorting capabilities, and the like.
Well… as of today, we're making it official. REtipster.com now has a public-facing, free-for-everyone FORUM.
Now, I'll be the first to tell you, this thing still has a ways to go in terms of being “pretty” and being fully integrated with REtipster.com… and we'll get to that.
At this point, the forum is purely in “beta” mode. Before we dump a lot more money into customizing it and making it the best possible experience for real estate investors, our first step is to prove the concept.
Over the next 3 – 6 months (maybe more, we'll see) we're going to gauge a few things:
- How many new people are joining the community every day?
- Are forum members actively starting new conversations, asking questions, and helping others?
- What's the daily volume of spam/junk/bot forum posts we're seeing on a daily basis? (I'm anticipating a lot of this)
- Are we able to find enough dedicated forum moderators to ensure the highest level of quality for the community?
I've heard from other website owners who have tried (and given up) on the forum concept.
A common complaint is that it's a never-ending, constant battle to keep great conversations happening and removing posts that are self-promotional and only add “noise” to the space.
I think we'll be able to do a good job of controlling this… but that's part of why this forum is initially in beta mode, there's a lot we still have to learn about how this will work and whether we can maintain a quality platform for all of you.
Part of why I decided to create our own custom forum (instead of going with one of the many pre-packaged software options out there) is because we can really make it our own.
One of the coolest features about this forum is that when users “vote up” each other's responses within a thread, those responses can be sorted based on which ones have the highest number of likes.
This is actually a huge deal because you won't have to scroll through dozens of lame responses to find the best value, you can sort each thread so that the best responses automatically appear at the top!
If you've ever used Reddit, Quora, or scanned through the comments beneath a YouTube video, you're probably familiar with this, because those platforms work the same way (and that's part of what makes them awesome)!
What Can You Do?
This forum is going to be incredible, it really is. There's A LOT you can and should do on this platform, here are just a few of the basics…
Give, give, and give some more!
Something I learned years ago is that when you give more of yourself, your ideas, your time, and encouragement to others, it will come back to you in spades. Don't hold back from giving to your fellow forum members and the good fortune will come back to you.
Fill out your profile!
All members are required to use their real name and a current headshot photo for their profile picture.
This isn't the place to hide behind an obscure username or fake picture. This is a place to network, ask for help, offer help to others, and show the world what you bring to the table. If you've got a website, add it to your profile! If you have some expertise we should know about, put it in your bio!
Share a Case Study
If you've done a recent deal or learned a huge lesson in your business (whether it's from a huge success or a disastrous failure), share it on the forum! There are many, MANY people who stand to benefit from your experience, and you can quickly become a well-known and respected member of the community through your willingness to help others do better.
Ask a Question
Chances are, there's something you're stuck on. Everybody has questions, and chances are, there are dozens of other members who have the same questions as you. Ask your questions here, and you might be surprised at some of the brilliant feedback you'll get from other members!
Post a Review
Think about the latest real estate-related thing you paid money for. If there's a product, service, software, book, course, or anything else you have recent experience with, let our community know what your experience was like! Whether you had a great or terrible experience with it, other people need to know about it. Be sure to check out the Reviews & Recommendations section and post your experiences here.
Network Like a Beast
Want to connect with other investors in your market or find out who you can help with your professional services? Check out Networking, which is the perfect place for members to add value to each other and to the community.
Build a Reputation. Make a Name for Yourself.
Remember that everything you post on this forum (and the level of help it brings others) can serve to boost your career, reputation, and respect among others in the real estate industry. Leave thoughtful, well-articulated, and helpful responses and ask questions that show the community you've spent time and energy thinking through the issue at hand.
What Can't You Do?
Like any good forum, there are some ground rules you should know about. In order to keep this forum a helpful, meaningful, and safe place for discussions, there are some general guidelines everyone should adhere to.
No Self-Promotion of Spam
This forum is not the place to advertise your site, property listings, or affiliate links. Any kind of self-promotion for your own products, services, paid content and irrelevant links aren't allowed. Doing so will often result in removal from the forum.
Be Specific and Helpful
This is a place to ask well-articulated questions about specific issues and offer direct and useful feedback. Open-ended announcements, requests for deals, vague or incoherent comments, or generally unhelpful “noise” posts are not allowed.
Be Kind and Courteous
Treat everyone with respect. Healthy debates are natural, but kindness is required. Bullying or rudeness of any kind isn't allowed, and degrading comments about race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, gender, or identity will not be tolerated.
Create Your Account!
With that said, I want you to drop whatever you're doing and create your free account on the forum!
The only way this will work is if YOU get involved, so put this tool to good use and help add value to the community!
When you join, be sure to announce yourself and let me know you're there (you can tag me at @retipsterseth). I hope we'll see you there!