Last week, we discussed the importance of social media use for loan officers to grow and nurture their networks. We also introduced you to LinkedIn, taught you how to set up your account, introduced features to help grow your network, and advised on the do’s and don’ts of LinkedIn etiquette. Today, we are turning to Facebook.
With one billion active users worldwide, loan officers can reach a broad audience of potential clients on Facebook. A study by Pew Research found that 1 in 3 seniors use social media sites like Facebook. On the other end of the spectrum, a study by Accenture found that 40% of consumers aged 18 to 29 consider themselves “very active” on social media. Most importantly – a study by the National Association of Realtors found that 90% of home buyers start their research online. While using Facebook for prospecting and communicating with clients tends to be slightly less formal than LinkedIn, it’s still very important to maintain a professional demeanor. Let’s talk about the specifics of Facebook – from how to set up an account to a few do’s and don’ts for making the most of it.
What is Facebook?
While LinkedIn is the most “professional” of the social networks, Facebook focuses much more on the “social” aspect. With one billion users worldwide (and growing!), Facebook is the 800-pound gorilla in the social media room. The challenge many professionals face is trying to keep their posting just that -- professional. If you have a personal Facebook page, it’s most likely not the profile you want to present as your professional side. Lucky for you -- Facebook is a free site, and there are no restrictions to the number of accounts you can own. So feel free to create a professional profile that is just for business purposes. Another option is to create a business page. A business page is a public site that offers tools specifically for businesses, brands, or organizations, so consider what will work best with your strategy. Facebook also offers a variety of features to help you grow your network, including:
- Facebook Advertising – If you choose to go the business page route, be prepared to put at least a modest part of your budget into paid advertising. Newsfeed changes have drastically cut down on organic reach for brands on Facebook, (even amongst the social networks’ own followers). Fortunately, you don’t have to break the bank to use many of the ad features. For as little as $20 for a week, you can create a Facebook Offer, a Page Like Ad, or a Promoted Post. Facebook also offers a wide range of targeting options so you reach the borrowers and realtors you’re seeking out.
- Facebook Groups – If you choose to create a Facebook profile, you have the option of also creating or joining a Facebook Group. A group can be public and open to anyone, or closed with members needing an invitation to join. This is a great option if you want an open forum with your clients without the public nature of a Facebook business page. There are no advertising options within Groups – its purpose is for like-minded people to have conversations about a certain topic or brand.
- Call To Action Button – The CTA button is brand spankin’ new to Facebook pages, and allows brands to drive specific actions directly from their page. Page admins now have seven options to choose from, including:
- Book Now
- Contact Us
- Use App
- Play Game
- Shop Now
- Sign Up
- Watch Video
How to set up your account
Setting up a Facebook profile requires just a bit of personal information and an email address. Note that you must create a profile before you can create a Business Page. Start by going to the website, http://www.facebook.com
1) Fill out the form with your first name, last name, mobile number, and email address. Create a password; enter your birthday, and include your demographic information.
2) Begin filling in your profile. Facebook will walk you through the steps of adding information about yourself and finding people to friend/follow. At a minimum, you should add a professional head shot (no selfies!), and a creative cover photo. Facebook profile images should be 180x180px; the cover should be 851x315px, and contain no more than 20% text.
3) From your Facebook profile, you have the option to Create a Page. Again, Facebook will walk you through the options, including what kind of page it will be (local business, company page, brand page, etc), and what category it represents (including Bank/Financial Institution). Choose a company name, and get started. Don’t forget to add a profile picture and cover image to your page as well!
4) Link your Facebook account in GREMLN so that all of your activity is archived.
Facebook Dos and Don’ts
Although Facebook is more casual than LinkedIn, that doesn’t mean you should throw caution to the wind. Here are a few rules of engagement you should keep in mind:
DO keep it professional. Facebook for business is a completely different world from Facebook for personal use. Adding a personal tidbit here and there about you keeps the human element, but avoid the ubiquitous selfie, party images, and Facebook overshare. Rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t say it at work, don’t post it on Facebook.
DON’T be overly promotional. As with LinkedIn, keep your content conversational and informational, with only 20% of your content being promotional in nature.
DO respond to feedback from your audience in a timely fashion – even the negative stuff! Best practice is to respond within an hour if possible, and certainly no later than 24 hours. It is especially important to respond to negative feedback publicly, but try to take the conversation offline as quickly as possible.
DON’T buy Likes. While it might be tempting to pad your page with fake fans, it won’t do anything for your engagement or reach. The less people engage with your content, the less likely it is that you will appear in newsfeeds. Social media is a marathon, not a sprint – grow your audience organically, even if it take a little longer.
DO post and comment from within your GREMLN account so that all activity is archived for audit purposes.
DON’T let your profile or Page go dark. Post at least 1-2 times a day, between 1pm and 4pm.
DO include your Facebook information on business cards, marketing materials, and email signatures.
Even though Facebook is a social network, it can still be leveraged for finding new borrowers, referral partners, as well as maintaining communication with current clients. The challenge is to keep it professional, and use the features – advertising, groups, and CTA’s – that can help LO’s broaden their networks. Next week, we’ll discuss Twitter, and how it can help originate loans in 140 characters or less.
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