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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   January 2018

Celebrate Your Resolve to Be Social

Dare to make a different kind of business resolution this year

Celebrate Your Resolve to Be Social

Ask people about their New Year’s resolutions and you will get a variety of answers. Perhaps you will hear about a weight-loss goal, a challenge to quit a bad habit, or a promise to finally take a trip always dreamed of. For others, Jan. 1 is just another day on the calendar.

Whether you believe in the New Year hype or not, focusing on setting goals for positive improvement is always a good idea. Personal resolutions aside, however, have you thought about how you will improve your origination business in 2018? What will your professional New Year’s resolutions be? Have you considered being more social?

New Year’s resolutions are set by 45 percent of Americans each year, according to History.com. The most popular goals involve losing weight, getting organized, and spending less money. Research also shows only 8 percent of people who set resolutions actually achieve their goals.

Why is this? The most likely reason is that the goals people set are too broad and unattainable. A recent Forbes article states that people who successfully carry out their new year’s resolutions do so not through willpower, but through using SMART goals — goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.

As a mortgage originator, you likely already have a competitive drive, a “goal-getter” mentality, and a strong purpose behind why you do what you do. Perhaps you already have a list of goals in mind for the New Year regarding the number of new Realtor partnerships you’d like to build or the number of loans you’d like to close each month.

These are important goals, but are they SMART? Why not try setting a different kind of resolution this year that allows you to focus on building and maintaining the important relationships that keep you connected to your clients and Realtor partners? If you’re looking to better yourself and your business in 2018, your top resolutions should focus heavily on social media because the impact you make on social channels and your online presence matter.

Let’s look at three SMART social media goals you can make this year.

Promote online reviews

The first step in making your online presence matter is to convert your current customers into your biggest fans. The relationship between originators and borrowers is strong. You are, after all, helping your clients achieve one of the biggest dreams of their lives, and they have, if you did your job well, placed their personal trust in your expertise. If you have achieved that special, strong relationship with your borrowers, market it.

In today’s world, social media is a major presence and online reviews have power. Therefore, if you’ve provided good service to a client and have done so proudly, do not hesitate to ask that client to write a quick review for you on Google, Facebook, Yelp, or any other review site you use. It is almost certain that a positive experience will generate a positive review that could ultimately bring business through your door when that experience gets shared online.

This phenomenon is known as “social proof,” or the concept that a peer will adopt the actions of others in an attempt to mirror the exact situation. Social proof can be even more critical when it comes to completing perhaps the biggest purchase of person’s life, and that proof can work in your favor by showcasing others who have successfully gone through the process working with you.

At every closing this year, make it your goal to ask clients if they could kindly “do you a favor” and write a review about their experience to help your business. This resolution can be made measurable and attainable when placed into e-mail format in either your customer relationship management (CRM) system or regular e-mail program.

Take a minute to create a post-closing e-mail template to send out to clients with links to your social media sites reminding them to connect with you and do you the favor of writing an online review. Make it easy for them by including direct links to your review sites. Then, track how many e-mails you send each month, count the number of new reviews you receive and evaluate the effectiveness.

Timing also is important. Remember that your clients are likely busy with moving when you initially ask them to write a review, so set reminders to follow up in two weeks if they have not yet written a review.

Block time for social

Once you begin converting clients into raving fans, you must maintain consistency and stay active online. Most successful mortgage originators use some form of CRM system to store, sustain and market to their client database. Social media platforms are no different.

If you have likes on Facebook, followers on Twitter, fans on Instagram, etc., these platforms are your modern-day CRM. So, maintain your presence on these social media platforms just as you would with your CRM system. To stay in front of your fan base, you must post regularly.

Successful originators also set a number of calls they will make to clients and referral partners each week, and then schedule specific dates and times to make these calls. Do the same for social media and turn this into a SMART goal. Pull up your calendar and block out some social media minutes to spend online every day.

Do this now. There’s no time like the off-season to get your calendar organized. Then, track your posts and shares to keep yourself accountable and see how much impact they are having and how they extend your reach.

Post relevant content

To maximize your impact and reach on social media, make sure you are posting content that is relevant to your audience. Although sharing mortgage information is helpful to some, client profiles — kept professional — also will promote your unique brand and business.

Showcase happy clients at the closing table. Share in your borrowers’ excitement by sharing a photo on social media. This shows that you care about your clients, and that you can get the job done. It also is likely that your happy clients will share this photo, helping to promote your name to their social media contacts — friends, family and co-workers — as well.

Are you active in your community? People generally enjoy working with professionals who invest their time and resources in support of their communities, so post community events, area happenings and information about charity organizations you may be a part of.

Lastly, don’t forget about your referral partners. Successful originators know that building and maintaining referral relationships is an ongoing task. Connecting with referral partners on social media can be a great way to make initial contact and keep that connection close. When sharing a closing photo, for example, tag your Realtor partner in the photo or share their website link to help spread the news about their business. If the Realtor is active on social media, they likely may return the favor and tag you in their next post.

Relevance may feel subjective, but setting goals for the number of likes and shares your posts receive and then tracking these numbers can provide a metric that turns this into a SMART goal.

Social matters

Some mortgage originators reading this may wonder why a strong presence on social media is even important. They have a list of clients and referral partners and business is just fine. Originators who truly want to grow their business in 2018 and beyond, however, must engage with one dominating group of homebuyers who are active on social media — millennials.

According to a 2017 National Association of Realtors trends report, millennials have made up the largest share of homebuyers over the past four years, and 66 percent of those were first-time homebuyers. This generation is already well on its way to becoming the dominant group of homebuyers in your database. Embracing and understanding their motives and their loyalties can help your business boom this year and in the future.

So, ask yourself how you are marketing to and reaching potential millennial homebuyers. Believe it or not, this group can become your most loyal fans, but marketing to them on the platforms where they spend the most time — and do the bulk of their research — is crucial.

Therefore, setting New Year’s resolutions to embrace social media in your origination business in 2018 is not only smart, it could be crucial to building and maintaining the relationships you will need to grow your brand and your business for years to come. Will you be among the 8 percent?


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