As a mortgage industry professional, social media is one of the most valuable touch-points you have with your customers and prospects. Understanding how to build a social media strategy in the mortgage industry is an important component to any loan officer’s personal marketing strategy. And a sound social media strategy can provide increased business opportunities, in particular, from first-time homebuyers.
So how does the average loan officer approach this concept of leveraging social media to build out a positive digital footprint to reach a broader audience and increase mortgage business? For any of you who have heard me speak, you know I always mention there are a few key steps to follow to ensure you are developing a proper social media strategy.
1. Analyze website traffic
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 loan officer 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.
For example, MGIC performed a website behavior analysis on a specific segment of our valued web traffic to learn what content is of interest to our customers. This analysis revealed that key customers were interested in learning through training and specifically, learning more about the millennial demographic, and credit score. As a result, we focused our energy on creating a mortgage infographic library around these topics.
2. Use tools to find quality content
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?
Here’s a surprisingly simple place to find quality content for social media!
Google Alerts is one of my favorite spots to find quality, tailored content that is of interest to my audience. How do I know this? Because when you setup Google Alerts, it takes into consideration Boolean search, which means I can be as specific as I want for the content I am looking for across Google. When a match is found, Google sends me an alert via email. I set it up once and let the content regularly flow to me. Then I can decide what to use and how to use it. Maybe I share it across social, maybe I disregard it, maybe it sparks an idea for a blog post, or a potential industry partnership. That’s what is great about finding high-quality content: it can open the door to an uptick in business opportunities.
I am a firm believer in content creation as a great way to reach new audiences. Having a content marketing strategy as part of your social media strategy can deeply benefit your business. However, I also understand this is a hard sell to busy loan officers. If you decide to create your own content – hint blogging – there are a few things to keep in mind.
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 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.
Let’s not forget the obvious, participation. Social media is a two-way street. Which means it requires loan officers to actively participate. Often times I am asked my thoughts on paid services to monitor and provide content for loan officers. I understand time is valuable, but so is authenticity. Keep in mind, if you choose to leverage paid social media services to monitor and post on your behalf, you run the risk of losing trust and authenticity with your audience.
Being a social media H.E.R.O. should drive what you do on social media.
To successfully build a social media strategy I encourage loan officers to embrace what I like to call being a social media H.E.R.O. Being a social media H.E.R.O. should drive what you do on social media. 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.
- Sneak peeks: Provide an inside look at who you are outside work, or at work. This can help to humanize you to mortgage customers.
- Questions: Asking or answering questions is a great way to provide value or elicit engagement from the mortgage industry audience. Consider creating polls on timely topics to gain insights which may spark new blog posts.
- Support: Be a friend to other mortgage professionals and customers. Never hesitate to like, share or comment on your followers’ posts.
- Highlight: Make a point of collaborating or highlighting members inside your social circle to build relationships on a social platform.
- Historical: Be visual and share photos from your professional past. Highlight your journey.
- Promotions: Consider promotions as a way to say thanks to your social followers. These could be Thank You promos, seasonal promos or just because promos.
4. Build partnerships
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 loan officer’s brand to reach new audiences and generate leads. The ability to reach broader audiences helps to establish you as a trust agent to specific targets based on the quality content you provide.
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.
5. Stay compliant
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, a loan officer 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 a loan officer make their NMLS# visible for proper online representation, and advise having an approval process for posting and accountability for repercussion, if a violation occurs. I highly recommend looking over the above three policy links. Very insightful.
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. Find content that is of interest to them (based on analytics of your website or measuring previously posted social content). After that, work to develop partnerships with those in the mortgage industry who can help you scale. Always follow your employer’s social media policy and avoid discussing rates in any capacity. I always say, Social media is not a direct sales tool, it’s a relationship and brand building tool. Act accordingly and discover the possibilities.
Social media is not a direct sales tool, it’s a relationship and brand building tool.
Want to dive deeper into how to leverage specific social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to increase your business opportunities right now? We have a great in-person presentation for you that does just that! Connect with your local MGIC representative for more details.