Social media was recently touted as the most efficient marketing channel, which got me thinking about a lot of questions I get from loan officers who are consistently concerned about time, but also about expanding their customer base. So I thought it may be beneficial to discuss some of the social media secrets savvy loan officers are doing to expand their customer base, but not spending significant time doing it. Think minimum time, maximum value.
For example, none of the top six social media sites require payment for use of their basic services, and as it relates to reach, social media was found to be the most efficient of the channels analyzed[i]. But how does this translate to you, as a loan officer? Let’s take a deeper dive into how you can use social media, e-mail and Google search to improve your business opportunities with potential customers.
Please Note: Understand and follow your company’s social media policy and industry regulations. For example, don’t ever quote an interest rate or share personal information about your customers on social media. Check with your company’s social media policy before taking any action.
Simply put, social media’s low cost allows for any loan officer to begin having a presence on any of the top social media sites. This would include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram or Pinterest. By default, most social media platforms and activities on these platforms are indexed by Google. This is important when you consider ways in which you want to improve your personal search engine results page rankings (SERPs) and reach with new audiences. Participating on a semi-regular basis will allow your presence on that platform, and the key terms you’ve attached to it, to rise to the top of any relative Google search query. LinkedIn is most effective at doing this for its users. But also consider the value of a search inside a mass-market personal social media platform, like Facebook. I consistently hear of users searching for loan officers via Facebook. Assuming you have a Facebook Fan Page, your findability with this audience will increase significantly. To reduce the amount of time spent on each platform, try using my favorite social media scheduler, Buffer.
E-mail is listed as one of the best ways people discover new websites. Consider the combination of social media use, coupled with e-mail marketing, to improve the social media optimization (SMO) of your personal brand. If you stay in touch with valued customers via weekly, monthly or quarterly newsletters, this is a great opportunity to help drive traffic to key social media platforms you control — with the goal of increasing engagement and business opportunities there. Please note: I am not suggesting that you buy e-mail lists; rather, with regard to e-mails you may have captured over time, a newsletter is a great way to re-engage past or future customers.
Let me explain. You already send a monthly newsletter to talk about what’s new in the industry or to share your recent blog post — that’s great! The next time you send your newsletter, try asking your audience a question that is relative to them. For example, “What is the biggest challenge you have faced when attempting to secure a home mortgage?” This is valuable because it shows you are concerned about their mortgage experience. Then provide a link to the pinned post on your Facebook Fan Page and ask that they answer in the comments section there. Doing so not only allows you to gather data, but more important, it allows your audience to share their thoughts and bring others into the conversation through tagging, sharing, liking and commenting. Because of Facebook’s algorithm, this engagement helps keep your post relevant longer on your Activity feed. This also means the potential for more unique eyes on your Facebook Fan Page and the opportunity for increased business. Remember, your Facebook Fan Page (not your personal profile) should be your business hub on Facebook!
Finding new business opportunities through organic search is one of the most important ways to increase business opportunities and expand your reach to new audiences. As discussed above, having a presence on multiple social media platforms will help your customers find you in Google search results for key terms, including name, profession and location. Consider that Millennials are more likely to do their own research before connecting with an expert. So when they are ready, let’s help them find you more efficiently through Google search.
In addition to active participation on social media, I cannot understate the value of a blog. Taking the time to setup a blog and providing weekly, bi-weekly or monthly content will help customers find you for the key terms you have determined to be of the most value to your audience.
Pro Tip: Use your name and/or key terms within the url
A blog allows you to speak on a variety of topics of which you have expertise, and that content will be indexed and searchable by Google users. So consider writing about the industry as a whole, but also focus more regionally and locally to speak to the community you most commonly serve. Doing so shows you are in tune with what is going on both nationally and locally within your profession.
Using a combination of these three strategies will help increase the number of leads in your sales funnel and drive traffic to key areas you want to promote, which will help increase business opportunities from a variety of audiences. Look for places where minimal time is required, but that will have maximum impact. A few little changes that are kept manageable will have great returns.
[i] Source: Neustar Q1 Media Intelligence Report
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