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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   March 2016

Get to Know Social Media

Customizing your message for each platform increases the benefits of online marketing

Get to Know Social Media

Care to step into the world of social media? Why not? You are a vast wealth of life and mortgage knowledge, you have products and skills to offer, and once you get to know the basics, it’s a great way to grow your business. 

Two common reasons why originators say they don’t want to start in social media are: They don’t know how to get started, and they don’t understand how social media works. It’s time to start helping your clients and potential clients through the use of social media, which can lead to lowered marketing costs, increased brand awareness and higher conversion rates. Best of all, there are simple and easy approaches to getting started with social media.

Before you begin

Imagine you are going on a first date. You likely wouldn’t go on a date with someone without knowing any information about them — and social media should be treated the same way. Look into each type of social media platform and make sure it will serve your business well. Once you decide which platforms will most benefit your business, get a brief overview as to the differences between them. Facebook is not the same thing as Twitter, and Instagram is not the same thing as Tumblr. Do your research.

Twitter and Instagram are considered microplatforms, designed for quick posts with short lives. The two most important elements when looking at a microplatform are frequency and consistency. Before diving into these mediums, be sure you have a constant stream of bite-sized, worthwhile information to post — such as new property sales that may promote business, advice from credible sources or articles that would benefit your clients. Twitter is best-suited for sharing knowledge, such as news articles and abbreviated tips and tools. Instagram has an emphasis on visuals with commentary below the posted image. Using pop-culture references and appropriate humor is encouraged.

Facebook is socially oriented and tends to favor personal posts. When creating content for this medium, think about what potential borrowers may want to see when they get home from work. Because of Facebook’s personal nature, it is the most relaxed in the way of humor, but remember that you are representing your business with every post.

LinkedIn and Google Plus are more business-oriented platforms. Post only things that you would find appropriate at work. You can still showcase your sense of humor, but make sure that humor is appropriate and relevant.

The best and biggest tip with social media is to bring value.

Those are the social media platforms most used by the mortgage industry, but there are many others. Be sure to do your research if you are considering the addition of Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr or any other social media to your business initiatives.

Review the basics

Before you dive into the social media world, make sure to fully review your profile. Your logo should be prominent, your products clearly listed and your contact info easy to find. Finally, proof your profile for any errors — and getting a fresh set of eyes is always a recommended tactic.

When you’re ready to post, take the following into consideration:

  • Be real. Be a human, not an advertisement. Social media is a great way to humanize your business, and that humanization is the best way to increase your brand and your conversion rates.
  • Be polite. Don’t post anything that might offend a potential borrower.
  • Be appropriate. Know the right tone for each platform. If you’re posting to LinkedIn, be professional. If you’re posting to Twitter, be brief.
  • Be relevant. Avoid mindlessly changing topics. If you are an originator, post about things that are relevant to the mortgage industry.
  • Be concise. Rambling doesn’t work on social media. Get to the point and fast.
  • Be legal. Make sure you look up and comply with all oversight regulations issued by agencies such as the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, the Federal Trade Commission, the National Credit Union Administration and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Keep your value

The best and biggest tip with social media is to bring value. Adding value is the only guaranteed way to add likes, followers and relationships that will lead to new business.

If you are ever unsure of whether a post is worth sending, ask if any of your clients would be upset if they did not receive this message. If the answer is yes, then absolutely send it. But if the answer is no, it’s time to think of something else to send — or send nothing at all. Frequently sending out posts that have no value is a quick way to lose your following and any growth you have achieved in your social media accounts. Valuable posts sent out less often are going to help you maintain a following and create a sense of worth for the posts that you do publish. The best way to make your name trusted in this industry is to be helpful.

For some platforms, you may post every day. With others, you may find a post every week will suit your clients better. Smart marketers will watch their responses (likes, shares, and followers added in correlation to posts) and modify as they go. Repeat the steps above and improve on them as you go. Perhaps you find a LinkedIn community that is mutually beneficial, or a Facebook group that consists of people who fit into your  client-base demographic. Learning as you go is fine as long as you start off on the right foot.

Remember that first impressions count. Use your knowledge, products and skills to build an online following that helps educate your clients and converts simple posts into leads and more money for your business. 


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