As a mortgage industry professional, social media is one of the most valuable touch-points you have with your customers and prospects. A sound social media strategy can provide increased business opportunities, in particular, from first-time homebuyers.
Before you begin to build a social media strategy in the mortgage industry, it’s important to understand your audience. According to marketer.com 74.2% of US adult millennial internet users will bank digitally via any device. This should trigger a savvy advisor to want to know more about the traffic to their own personal website to learn clues about what is most important to members of their key demographic.
Discovering what pages most interest your target demographic or which devices are used to access your site can provide valuable insight and allow you to make more educated decisions on what type of content to create (or curate) for social media.
The goal is minimal time with maximum value, for maximum return on your time investment.
We all know the cliché, “content is king”.
However, more important than creating or finding content, is the larger need to provide quality content. Building a social media strategy starts with content. So where do you find relevant, quality content?
Google Alerts is a great spot to find quality, tailored content that is of interest to my audience. When you setup Google Alerts, it takes into consideration Boolean search, which means you can be as specific as you want for the content you’re searching for across Google. When a match is found, Google sends an alert via email. Once set up new content will regularly flow to your inbox and you can then decide how to use it.
It’s important to make your content social ready and easy to share. This means ensuring you have OG tags on the backside of your site so that your created content appears as expected when it’s shared on social media. This also means you offer the ability for visitors to share your content through the use of share buttons. Work to make yourself a one-stop shop for great content, whether it is your own created content, or content curated from across the web. In return you will see an increase in social followers and engagement.
Participation! Social media is a two-way street. Which means it requires mortgage professionals to actively participate.
To successfully build a social media strategy it’s encouraged that brokers embrace and curate content by being a social media H.E.R.O.
A social media H.E.R.O. is: Helpful, Educational, Responsive and Original.
Focusing on these areas when participating in social media will help to develop your social media strategy and promote success.
Another way to think about how to make your participation on social media impactful is to consider how you elicit engagement and build relationships. Social media often times is the initial touch-point with prospects and customers, so work to transition those leads back to traditional communication channels like email and phone. Consider the following ways to proceed on social media to help properly elicit engagement, while building relationships.
A key component to a social media strategy is developing industry partnerships through social media. This is an excellent growth strategy. A successful partnership can expand a mortgage brokers’ brand to reach new audiences and generate leads.
This process starts by using social media to simply listen to conversations that are occurring in the mortgage industry. Hearing what is of interest to others can be beneficial and informative. When an opportunity is revealed, reach out in a timely fashion with a value proposition that entices. This offers you the chance to capitalize on increased mortgage industry exposure. These relationships are the building blocks for future industry growth.
If you do discover an opportunity to partner or collaborate with others in the mortgage industry, choose your partnerships strategically for growth. Finding a partner who has a slightly larger social media following than you will help to expand your message reach, and ensures your time and efforts are well spent. Partnering with these influencers who have a large social network of followers and fans, means more people will be engaged with the collaborative content created.
All social media strategies must complement your social media policy. A social media policy works to ensure you remain compliant in the actions you take on social media, specifically for your company you work for. A sound social media policy will include cross-functional collaboration, define objectives, set goals and have clear legal compliance guidance and messaging about proper social media use to the reader.
In addition to following an employer’s social media policy, an advisor also needs to understand what the regulators in the mortgage industry have to say. There are a few you should become familiar with, and what they have to say about social media participation. These regulators include: Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
In particular at the company level, it is important to have a governance structure to streamline roles and responsibilities to establish accountability. Regulators’ guidance is similar in they all suggest avoid talking rates on social media, they encourage that brokers make their NMLS# visible for proper online representation.
Overall, building a social media strategy in the mortgage industry does not have to be time consuming or difficult. It starts with having an action plan, doing the initial setup work and then managing your time and resources accordingly. Start small and on key platforms where you know your target customer base is active.
Social media is not a direct sales tool, it’s a relationship and brand building tool. Act accordingly and discover the possibilities!
Written By: Ben Smidt