Residential Magazine

Entice the Best by Building Your Leadership Brand

Social media can convey your vision, values and beliefs in the competition.

By Richard Milligan

The evolution of mortgage recruiting is generating a lot of noise recently. Mortgage leaders are often puzzled why their direct solicitations often return lackluster results.

A few are making significant progress by being early adopters in an ever-changing market. One of the changes needed is for leaders to develop personal leadership brands through social media.

Few have invested the time to develop their brands, but consider this. Twenty-five percent of mortgage originators say they moved to their next company through direct solicitation.

So, if direct solicitation is only responsible for one out of four being recruited, how is the other 75 percent being recruited? In looking at the data, it is obvious that social media and personal leadership brands play an important role.

Communicate leadership

Let’s define a personal leadership brand. The concept describes the image conveyed by a leader’s vision, values and beliefs. It is authentically them. It clearly reflects how they live and act.

Developing a personal leadership brand allows someone to clearly communicate what is effective about their leadership in the areas of social media, community, work and personal relationships. Take a look at this data:

92 percent of people trust recommendations from individuals (even if they don’t know them) over companies.

Social media content has 561 percent more reach when employees share versus a company sharing.

Content shared by employees is reshared 24 times more frequently than when shared by companies.

Employees on average have 10 times more followers on social media than their company.

82 percent of people are more likely to trust a company when senior executives are active on social media.

77 percent of people say they are more likely to buy when the CEO of the business uses social media. C-level executives must have a social media presence that represents their personal leadership brand.

Companies that invested in the personal branding initiatives of employees found that employees were 27 percent more hopeful about their company, 20 percent more likely to stay and 40 percent more likely to believe in the competitiveness of their employer.

Branch managers are the most effective recruiters, according to a recent study, and they will be the ones overseeing new mortgage originators. Thus, having a clear leadership brand for branch managers makes sense.

To put it all together, leaders who have a strong personal brand through social media build trust faster, engage people quicker and have happier employees.

Push or pull

Social-media leadership brands matter regardless of leadership title. Thus, all leaders must know how to build their leadership brand.

A proven model that works well for building a leader’s brand on social media starts with projecting attractive leadership. If one hasn’t heard that term, here are three critical parts. One, have a clear vision and be clear on one’s core values and beliefs. Two, be able to articulate your vision and values extremely well. Last, live and act in accordance with the vision and values.

This framework provides a very clear path for how leaders should use their voice inside social media. Many leaders who become active on social media feel pressured to become thought leaders or content creators when this isn’t necessary. Worse yet, being too perfect and professional can make one seem unapproachable.

The good news is that the three parts of an attractive leader can become the content strategy. What is the vision and what are the values? Tell the story every chance you’re given. This means identifying and documenting the moments where one is living in alignment with the vision and core values.

Recruits need clarity on who the leader is. By representing an attractive leader, they now give a recruit something to clearly gravitate toward.

This is a push-pull effect called polarization. Where one is aligned, they are pulled toward the leader very quickly. Where one is not aligned, they will push away quickly. Either one is a win, as an issue many leaders have is hiring people who are not a fit for their leadership style. This doesn’t happen when they are clear on who they are and what they value. So, clarity of leadership brand helps recruit while also helping to retain.

Social media consistency

A question many have is how active should they be on social media. Data says at minimum one time per day. LinkedIn has found that 20 posts per month can help you reach 60 percent of your unique audience. Thus, consistency is critical.

Consistency comes from having a system in place to support the goal. Here is some direction in creating a system around delivering ongoing content for representing a clear leadership brand.

Start by building a clear profile following this method. Who is the leader outside of work, inside of work, and how do they define one’s values and beliefs? Deter- mine when to create content for posting and time block this. Determine this in advance because if one relies on spontaneous creativity, they will fail due to time constraints.

Determine when to post content. Posting at peak times will get more attention, but focus on consistency over everything. Most people who find a leader’s social profile and content are intentionally seeking it out. Thus, the time of day isn’t critical when posting.

Engage with the audience. Relationships get built by back-and-forth communication. Lead with building community first because this is how to best get known. It only makes sense that relational capital is necessary to further relationships.

Leaders should share their story. There is depth in sharing the journey of getting to this moment. All great stories involve a beginning, struggles and happy endings. Don’t fall into the trap of sharing only the happy endings.

Share the kryptonite. Superman is interesting because kryptonite is his weakness. Flaws make one human. In sharing the flaws, you become relatable and connectable. What can be learned from the leader’s life? Most human beings connect best via stories and experiences. Share these regularly.

• • •

Leadership brands matter heading into 2019. If one is willing to put in the time to build their brand, they will reap the rewards of growth due to providing others with clarity about who they are. Your personal value proposition matters now more than ever.


  • Richard Milligan

    Richard Milligan is president of 4C Recruiting, a company specializing in coaching leaders in the area of recruiting. Milligan coaches based on a system known as Recruiting Made Simple. It focuses on building systems that will allow a leader to maintain a primary role in leading a team while having a clear, sustainable plan for recruiting success. 

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