Social media is the ultimate brand-building tool, regardless of what your industry or sector it is. Just like any other professional, mortgage loan officers can harness the power of social media to connect with customers and prospects while also growing their personal brand.
A strong social media strategy can be especially useful in landing first-time home buyers and young customers. In fact, companies like Better Mortgage, a fully digital mortgage company, saw a 1,500% increase in purchase mortgages from 2016 to 2017: a whopping 75% of those sales coming from millennial home-buyers.
But beyond that, social media is a critical tool for making inroads to your real estate community and grabbing share of mind with the people who can refer you to valuable leads. If your mortgage company hasn’t been building its social media presence over the past few years, it can be hard to know where to start. Here are the best tips for loan officers looking to better leverage their social media and build a stronger brand that drives higher sales.
Engage the Realty Ecosystem
Millennials today make up the largest pool of potential homebuyers, securing 38% of all mortgages in 2017. But this younger generation of homebuyers is famously skeptical of marketing and hype — to earn their trust, you’ll need to get earnest recommendations from people who already have their confidence. That’s why you need to develop strong relationships with other players in the real estate ecosystem, like realtors, contractors, and appraisers, who then refer their clients to you.
Social media offers you multiple avenues into your area’s real estate ecosystem. Get started by researching real estate professionals in your area where you can generate referrals in the future and connect with them. You can do this both directly or by joining groups on LinkedIn — Pete Asmus’ Real Estate Networking Group (Investor Strategies) is one of the largest, most active online groups of mortgage lenders online, while Real Estate Professionals Group’s strict standards for what you can share gives you the opportunity to hone your content marketing skills. By influencing your colleagues’ way of thinking through relevant content, participating in discussions with them on important industry topics, or simply by putting your brand’s name in front of them, your social media presence can start generating referrals.
Say, for example, that a family looking to renovate the kitchen before moving into a new house asks for a quote from their contractor. If that quote is a lot higher than they expected, they might start thinking about different financing options. If that contractor has recently read a solid thought leadership piece you posted to LinkedIn, who do you think he’ll recommend when that family asks for a referral? Social media is just one more way to stay top-of-mind with the people your potential new clients trust most in their time of need.
Curate Quality Content
Of course, your target audiences aren’t going to be impressed by just anything you decide to post online — again, younger consumers aren’t interested in social media hype for its own sake. You need to dedicate time and resources to developing content that delivers serious value to millennial homebuyers who consume enough content to know what’s useful and what’s shallow.
Keep checking your social networks and groups for new discussion topics to comment on in your blog. You can also source content with tools like Brand Guardian, which scans the web for content that mentions your brand, products, and specific keyword searches, helping to keep users up-to-date on everything relevant to their company and its audience on the web. Keep in mind that all third-party content you share is a direct reflection of your brand, so don’t be afraid to be picky.
And content doesn’t have to exist for the sole purpose of grabbing attention — the best content serves as an informative resource for your clients or colleagues. For example, if one of your clients just received their first FHA 203(k) loan, it’s better for both yourself and that client if you can send her a definitive blog post on the differences between their loan and a regular FHA loan. That way, you save 20 minutes explaining it to them on the phone, and your client has a starting place to conduct further research if she has any questions.
Social Strategy Should Be Diligent and Additive
Social media can be a great resource for generating new leads, but it shouldn’t be your only resource — that is to say, your social strategy deserves attention and care, but not at the expense of other marketing/sales channels. You need to ensure that your content is high-quality and compliant with rules set by mortgage industry regulators like the Federal Reserve, FDIC, and FFIEC, all without losing focus on all the other aspects of your firm’s work.
Doing this requires sophisticated social automation and management tools. Luckily, Gremlin Social specializes in social media management for financial institutions, including mortgage lenders. With our management and compliance software, Gremlin Social offers a simple solution to your social media needs, ensuring that your curated content is sent out at the right times and is always in-line with industry regulations. As your mortgage company builds its social media presence, we can help ensure your new strategy leads to improved engagement levels and meaningful new customer relationships.