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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   September 2015

3 Steps to Master Social Media

Build a solid profile, understand the process of attracting a following and have patience

3 Steps to Master Social Media

There is a famous concept in marketing known as the “Four P’s” — product, place, price and promotion. Understand these, many within the industry say, and you will understand how to effectively market your business or yourself.

Times and strategies change, however, particularly in the mortgage industry. As technology has evolved, a new type of marketing has become a must for the successful mortgage loan originator: social media marketing. To best take advantage of this powerful tool, the “Four P’s” concept must also be adapted. Instead, social media requires knowledge of the “Three P’s of Social Selling” — profile, process and patience — to make the most of your marketing efforts.

A 2013 statistic from social sales expert Jim Keenan indicates that 78 percent of salespeople who incorporate social media into their approach outperform colleagues who stay away from social media. On the other hand, a Brandwatch study from earlier this year showed that 24 percent of business-to-business enterprises don’t have a Facebook or Twitter presence. Even if your company doesn’t have a social media strategy, however, you can still have one.

Adding social media to your referral marketing toolkit is a smart move to establish your expertise, build trust and nurture your contacts with relevant content. The “Three P’s of Social Selling” are a good place to begin.


Start with some key understandings. First, don’t mix your personal social media with your professional accounts. In addition, Facebook is not LinkedIn, and vice versa. Set aside a dedicated business profile for those platforms you choose to actively manage — and you do need to actively manage them.

Your goal is to be top of mind and seen as an advocate of borrower interests
with your primary sources of business.

Build your profiles on the two strongest platforms for sales representatives: LinkedIn and Twitter. Profile content is slightly different for each, but the sites have some common elements. Rule No. 1 is that your profile is not your resume. Rule No. 2 is that it’s also not your college yearbook. For both sites, however, make sure you have the following:

  • Your name. Based on some online searches, this is not as obvious as you may think. Use the name you would like to be called, but do not include your nickname. Borrowers are not going to disclose extensive amounts of personal data and trust you to help them with six-figure decisions if you sound like you are on the planning committee for a frat party. John “Big Fish” Doe is not going to get the first call.
  • Your photo. This should be a professional headshot of you — and you only. Not you and your colleague at a golf event or you at the beach. No kids, no spouses, no T-shirts, no ball caps.
  • Your contact information. This seems obvious, but a recent scan of 10 loan officers who were referred to a refinance borrower showed that only two of the 10 had contact information on their LinkedIn profiles. Your e-mail address, telephone number and a website URL should all be easily accessible by anyone viewing your profile.
  • Your professional summary. Feature what you do for clients, and the community, with a focus on why you’re good at it. Create a profile that belongs to an expert, not a job seeker. Keep it to three sentences on LinkedIn. On Twitter, you have 160 characters to show in your bio that you are a trustworthy authority on home financing; be sure to use some of those characters to direct followers to your contact information.
  • Your background photo. This should reflect your industry or your community, and it is easy to upload and change. Stock photography is often inexpensive, sometimes free, easy to find online and can add a bit of snap to your profile.


So now you have a profile or two. Just because you built this online presence, however, does not mean they will come. You are not yet in the field of social- selling dreams.

The process of creating social engagement is deliberate, thoughtful and consistent. A 2015 industry report by Social Media Examiner found that nearly two-thirds of marketers spend at least six hours weekly on their social media marketing. Plan to add fresh content at least three times per week, if not daily, and set aside regular time for your social process.

  • Follow. Yours is the first move. Begin by finding and following all of your current referral sources, key industry media, the government-sponsored enterprises, research groups associated with the mortgage industry and other thought leaders. Include a few groups and leaders in your community as well. LinkedIn allows you to join groups specific to your industry and referral-source industries.
  • Share. Pass along good and timely information with your followers and within your groups. This is your backup for when you don’t have time to manage your social platforms. Check your feed quickly to find an article or comment of interest, and simply click “Share” or “Retweet” and move on with the rest of your day. Never, however, share anything you haven’t read completely.
  • Comment. Better engagement comes from your comments and interpretation of what’s happening in the industry. Add your own perspective as often as possible when sharing. Be yourself, but remember, be your professional self. Use good judgment, check for typos and use proper grammar.
  • Refer. If you have referral sources who are active on social media, give them the equivalent of a radio “shout out” now and again. Encourage your followers to follow them.
  • Ask. Approach referral sources and borrowers who have had a great experience with you with a LinkedIn connection request, then use the recommendation-request feature to collect testimonials.


You’ve set up your profiles and followed your process. Now comes the hard part: patience.

Social media is best thought of as a supplementary tool, not an advertisement. You are creating extra reference points for borrowers and referral sources to get to know you as a reliable, knowledgeable expert and to stay top of mind with them. Make sure you keep the focus on that audience specifically and ensure they always know where to find you online.

Think of your professional social accounts as another way to engage your Realtors, builders, financial planners and family lawyers. You will get a “halo effect” that reflects positively with prospective borrowers, but your goal is to be top of mind and seen as an advocate of borrower interests with your primary sources of business. They should be able to easily find your social content, so include your social information in the following locations:

  • E-mail footer. In your e-mail signature, include your Twitter handle and a link to your LinkedIn profile. This should become part of your standard contact-information set.
  • Business cards. Include your Twitter handle as part of your contact information on your business card, and add “Find me on LinkedIn.”
  • Company website. If your company includes individual profiles on its website, or if you have your own microsite, be sure links to your social accounts are included. Twitter and LinkedIn permit use of their icons as links.

•  •  •

There is one other, company-specific “P” to consider: permission. Some companies have social media policies and ground rules that you will need to follow. Others have content-approval processes, so be sure to check with your compliance and human resource departments to know the parameters of what you can do as an individual and as a representative of your company.

If you are ready to set aside time to establish a social profile and commit to actively becoming part of the social-selling scene, there is no better time to get started than now. More and more companies are reporting significant links between social content and purchase decisions. Make a point to be relevant, be timely and be yourself, and before long you will be well on your way to having a successful social-engagement tool supporting your pipeline. 


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