Middlesex Community College last connected with Cody Buffinton in 2018, when he was traveling the world and producing popular YouTube videos. In 2020, with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Cody moved from Connecticut to New York City and established a social media marketing agency to help real estate agents. The former digital media production and broadcast communications student took his social media skills and found his way forward on a new path.
What was the last trip you went on? How has the pandemic impacted your travel since?
The last trip I went on was to Vietnam, the Philippines, and Bali, Indonesia, for a couple of months. I came home in the middle of January. I planned to head out on another trip in the beginning of March, but news of travel being affected from the pandemic had started, so I canceled my plans. Since then, I haven’t traveled anywhere all year. I do have friends who have done a little traveling here and there to countries that allow it, however I decided to focus on my new business and stay in the U.S.
Describe your thought process on how you came up with your new path.
The thought process behind starting my new business—Social Media Marketing Agency for Real Estate Agents—came from working in the social media world and networking with others who had suggested the idea. It sounded like something I would really like. I thought about doing it for over a year now, but because I was traveling and filming a travel TV show all last year, I never had the time for it. Also traveling full-time for six years—last year being the most hectic (traveling for 10 months of the year filming non-stop)—I really wanted to be able to have a business that didn’t require me to go traveling somewhere. While I do have an amazing dream job, it is a very expensive career, and hard to keep many relationships when always on the road. So it was a culmination of wanting a new business model, the ability to be in one place for more than a month, and having more solid friendships/relationships.
Why did you move to New York City?
I moved to NYC, because I grew up going to acting classes and film classes there and had friends there as well. It’s a great place to network, make connections in my industry, and the prices are actually very low due to the COVID impact, so I lucked out on an amazing deal.
How long did it take to establish your new agency?
I’ve been working on this agency since the middle of January. I’ve had a few clients—some came and went. It isn’t an easy business model, and there is a large learning curve over a couple of months to figure out the service delivery that I do for my clients. Social media marketing has multiple different branches and can mean a ton of different things. At my agency, I run Facebook/Instagram ads to help real estate agents sell more houses, while also teaching them the power of building a personal brand and leveraging social media (and how I’ve done it for myself). For me, I chose to help real estate agents, because I like real estate and I eventually want to get into real estate investing in Connecticut.
Please give an example of a favorite new project. What social platforms work best?
My new favorite project is building a new personal brand around real estate. Before, I built up the Exploring With Cody Brand, but now it’s Cody Buffinton, and I’m working to build up my new YouTube channel, Instagram, TikTok, etc. Right now, the best platforms are YouTube and TikTok. YouTube has always been great because it keeps the audience’s attention more long term, and you can build a powerful connection and brand from it. But if you don’t have a following on YouTube, it can be hard to get your videos seen. This is why TikTok is currently the best for personal brand growth. It is still relatively new which means it has an insane amount of organic reach, and you can get a million views on your first video. The nice part about TikTok is in your profile, you can connect your YouTube and Instagram profiles. So I’ve done that and my focus is just on creating content for TikTok that can be funneled to my Instagram and YouTube platforms. Also on a side note, you don’t have to do the dances or things you see the largest creators doing—use the most popular songs as a background track to whatever you want to talk about, and use a couple of niche specific hashtags, and your content will be found by the right audience.
Will you go back to producing travel videos when possible?
I believe I will create travel videos again, but not how I did it before. Before I had to kind of make as many videos as I could in one location for it to be worth spending the money for the trip. But my goal with my agency is to work from anywhere in the world, and when I want to go travel somewhere, I can at any time (if I want) and make a travel video with no pressure of making it worth the cost of the trip. I’d also like to make more long-form adventure videos, such as mini-Indiana Jones-type movies for the channel. So these are more passion projects I could really have fun with.
What other advice can you give those looking for their way forward during these strange times?
I think now more than ever it’s important to always keep learning and expanding your skills in different areas. Who knows when a pandemic could hit and stop my entire career completely for the year? But I never stopped learning. I have a large stack of business books. I’ve gone to many business classes, and I’m always learning and networking with different people, which is the most important thing. Your education shouldn’t stop when you finish school, and you should be networking with everyone you can, because that is one of the great advantages of a place like Middlesex Community College.
Thanks for taking the time. If you’d like to see any of my work, you can find me on any social media @CodyBuffinton.
Update 2023: Check out Cody’s latest endeavor on YouTube.