Social media should be a part of every mortgage originator’s marketing toolkit. Whether you’re buying Facebook ads, building an Instagram following or posting YouTube videos, social media is a great way to reach more potential clients.
When video sharing app TikTok launched, it brought with it entirely new functions, algorithms and user interfaces. Originators who want to market on TikTok must develop new strategies. The work may be worth the reward, however, if you can engage thousands of potential clients (mainly millennials and members of Generation Z) on a free platform.
Be vulnerable enough to be authentic in the content you create.
—Rebecca Richardson, mortgage originator, UMortgage
And the platform’s potential is only growing. In 2021, TikTok.com became the most visited web domain in world
, ending Google’s 15-year reign, according to web security company Cloudflare. The platform has more than 1 billion users and hosts millions of content creators for every subject imaginable, including mortgages.
Rebecca Richardson of UMortgage, whose TikTok handle is @the.mortgage.mentor, started posting on the platform in late 2019. While TikTok may seem intimidating to many, Richardson says it’s user-friendly and works well as an editing platform that’s much less complicated than professional video editing software.
In summer 2020, she became more purposeful with her content, adapting TikTok trends to the perspective of her life and business. Now, with 130,000-plus followers on the platform, Richardson also posts topical educational content, high-caliber evergreen content, and tidbits and snapshots from her life. Although she has had a few videos go viral, she says that’s not always the marker of success on TikTok.
“My goal is not to go viral — virality does not mean getting connections with the right people,” Richardson says. “Views don’t equal business (and) don’t equal community. I’m not doing it to get fake internet points. If a video performs great, awesome. I learn from that. If not, I still have faith it got to the right people.”
She’s probably right about that, too. TikTok’s algorithm is known for being scarily accurate. A New York Times article described it as “mind reading.” According to Sprout Social, the algorithm gets to know a user’s interests
by calculating their likes, shares, comments and watch times on different videos. If a user interacts with a video about mortgages, the platform will show them more videos about mortgages, making audience targeting almost automatic for content creators.
Richardson says she doesn’t view TikTok solely as a lead-generation platform and she takes consumer education seriously. Even without a lead-generation focus, she closed 35 loans last year that came directly from TikTok. Her advice? Don’t be afraid of authenticity.
“If you can show up and be yourself, people will reward you for that on TikTok,” she says. “It’s like the opposite of Instagram’s fancy lattes and superposed pictures. … Be vulnerable enough to be authentic in the content you create.”
Margot Ettedgui works as general manager of Triangle Companies, a brokerage that specializes in nontraditional mortgages for business owners and foreign investors. She knew her experience as a broker was unique and wanted to translate that into her TikTok content, which she began making in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. She quickly built a following, and now posts for more than 300,000 followers on her TikTok account, @therealqueenmargot.
“All of my content is 99.9% talking about nontraditional financing,” Ettedgui says. “I really found early on in my career that there was a demand for nontraditional financing and a demand for understanding how it works.”
Social media has changed everything for Minh Nguyen, also known as @whatsamortgage_ on TikTok. All of his business comes from his various social media channels, including Facebook and Instagram. His 36,000 followers on TikTok and his Instagram audience of 90,000 support his origination business, What’s A Mortgage.
“Even though our audience is not the size of some of these other people, (we have) high-quality viewers,” Nguyen says. “We might not get as much traffic as some other people, but pound for pound, I don’t see too many people that can generate that many high-quality conversions.”
On TikTok, he specializes in sharing industry news and potential mortgage payments. His videos show viewers how different approaches — such as single-premium mortgage insurance or higher downpayments — can affect their loan payment. He says it took six to eight months to find his voice on TikTok, but once he found it, it improved his Instagram account as well. His advice is to do what he did: experiment until you find your niche.
“The best advice I can give is try everything when you try TikTok,” Nguyen says. “Try and don’t give up until you find your sound.” ●