Commercial Magazine

Modernize Your Marketing Efforts

All types of financial institutions can raise their profile via social media

By Jonathan Fhima

Social media has undoubtedly changed the modern-day landscape for consumers, businesses, government agencies and just about everyone in between. There are countless Instagram accounts for business-to-consumer brands, and there are many more for visual inspiration, lifestyle and aspirational content. Yet there are limited social media pages dedicated to private lending businesses.

It’s uncommon for a commercial mortgage company or private equity operation — or any financial institution, for that matter — to make an attempt at constructing a social media presence. Sure, these companies have websites where you can learn about them, but they tend to have a limited presence on the various forms of social media, such as Instagram or Twitter, nor do they typically offer an app.

There are exceptions to this, of course, including real estate titan Blackstone, which has a robust social media presence. The company’s Instagram site offers everything from president Jon Gray explaining quarterly financial results to a visit from The Good Dog Foundation, which provides therapy dogs for various social services.

Fintech companies that deal directly with the public tend to be better plugged into the social media universe, with many institutions possessing social media brand identities with unique perspectives. A few noteworthy names include Klarna, the Swedish-based online shopping site, and Fundrise, the online real estate crowdfunding platform. These businesses have marketed themselves as tech companies that are growing their presence and profits through digital brands and social identities.

Digital opportunities

In this digitally obsessive age, it is important for a financial institution to build a social media brand that is not only recognizable among industry cliques and partners but also by the public. Appealing to digitally savvy millennials and members of Generation Z through social media should be part of any brand strategy in today’s world.

Showcasing a brand’s personality on Instagram allows potential clients to meet a commercial mortgage broker organically and discover their brand holistically before deciding to transact. Consumer product companies are striving to meet the consumer where it is most convenient for them. It is apparent that such reasoning is also behind the content on Blackstone’s social media accounts, for example.

This type of digital exposure only makes sense. If someone is looking to invest in a home, would they not cross-reference the Realtor, the contractor or the interior designer they plan to hire? Millennials are coming of age to spend and invest significantly. To reach this audience, even companies that don’t specialize in consumer goods should start thinking about their digital marketing strategies and customer funnel, which is the visualization of the steps a person takes from becoming aware of a product or service to becoming a paying customer.

Social media platforms have created a variety of opportunities for anyone in the real estate and mortgage industries, including loan originators, to connect with their audiences and build brand recognition. Moreover, social media has become an essential tool for brands to express their points of view and connect with others on a global scale.

A successful Instagram presence highlights the potential for all businesses to leverage social media and reach larger audiences in new markets. By combining stunning imagery, a strong brand aesthetic, unique copy and financial expertise, it is possible to establish your institution as a leading player in the commercial mortgage industry while also gaining recognition among everyday social media users.

Follow the leaders

Commercial mortgage companies can find inspiration from many other industries and disciplines. To attract a wider audience, they can look at successful leaders in industries such as sports, technology, medicine, fashion and retail to identify the common qualities that make them successful.

These qualities can be distilled into a set of principles or values that can be applied across different contexts and fields. For example, successful sports leaders often display qualities such as resilience, determination and teamwork. These can be translated into broad concepts such as grit, perseverance and collaboration in the world of finance.

Similarly, successful business leaders often exhibit traits such as innovation, agility and adaptability, which can be translated into principles such as creativity, flexibility and experimentation. By extracting these underlying principles and values, commercial mortgage companies can create messaging and content that resonates with an expanded audience, even if these people may not be directly interested in the organization’s core product or service.

Instagram can be more than pretty pictures and entertaining videos. As the world becomes increasingly connected, people are looking for new ways to improve themselves and learn new skills. By featuring general industry information, financial terminology, case studies and more, mortgage brokers can create an engaging and informative platform that appeals not only to financial companies but also to students and aspiring professionals, which can be critical to the recruiting process.

Learning experience

Educational content serves as a valuable resource for individuals looking to learn more about the mortgage industry and how it works. Guides and case studies help demystify complex financial concepts and make them more accessible to a wider audience. This content can be both informative and engaging, with visually appealing graphics that help bring it to life.

Lightbox, which provides a variety of data to commercial real estate clients, also offers blogs on everything from understanding the capital markets to the best Instagram accounts in commercial real estate. At the Instagram account for Hines (the global real estate investment, development and management firm), you can follow progress on the newest construction projects and learn about the success of the employee denim clothing drive. Other prominent commercial real estate companies — including Cushman & Wakefield, JLL and Newmark — follow much the same pattern.

Moving forward, social media will continue to shape the way that businesses interact with their clients and referral partners, and how they build their online communities. While there are tangible risks associated with social media, such as the spread of misinformation and the potential for negative feedback, the benefits of using these channels are too great to ignore. As such, it is essential for commercial mortgage companies to embrace social media and develop strategies that effectively leverage an engaged audience with tremendous purchase potential. ●


  • Jonathan Fhima

    Jonathan Fhima is CEO and managing principal of the private equity firm F2. He is currently responsible for originating investment opportunities and raising capital. His primary focus is growing the firm to become one of the nation’s largest private financial institutions. Prior to starting F2, Fhima worked on both the acquisitions and debt strategies teams at Lightstone, one of the country’s largest real estate private equity firms. During his tenure at Lightstone, Fhima spearheaded $1 billion of real estate acquisitions and simultaneous financings, having purchased more than 1,100 apartments. His responsibilities included sourcing, underwriting, completing due diligence, leveraging and closing transactions.

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