Six Steps to Social Media Success
It’s 2023, and the mortgage industry is facing steep challenges. Mortgage originators can use social media to establish their reputation, connect with homebuyers and generate leads. If your posting is sporadic and you’re not really sure what to post, here are some smart, effective tips to revitalize your online presence.
1. Define Your Target Audience
While many LOs start with the goal of “I need to start posting more,” it’s far more effective to begin by asking, “What does my potential audience need?”
Are you specializing in first-time homebuyers, second-home investors, self-employed borrowers or relocation loans? Glean insights from your offline conversations to guide your digital presence and content creation strategies and choose the platforms your audience actually uses.
When you’ve determined your target audience, you can review the metrics provided by most platforms (to business users) to better understand your audience’s demographics and measure your success. Don’t let the metrics discourage you when you’re just starting — implementing your strategy and generating engagement with your audience takes time.
2. Define Your Content
Social media platforms often determine what your audience sees based on their individual algorithmic updates. One day, video is popular, and the next, LinkedIn’s multi-image carousel gets five times as many clicks — which happened recently. Stay engaged, but be human first, and organize your content into pillars to maintain variety and meet audience expectations.
Dan Smokoska, founder of Be Loangendary, says, “If content is king, content pillars are the kingdom.”
He continues: “‛Content’ refers to any information created by a brand to connect with its audience. Content pillars determine what content you are creating. They’re your [brand’s] core topics and themes.”
For example, a loan officer specializing in self-employed borrowers could create a content pillar on non-traditional mortgages.
“Establishing content pillars helps you build authority, attract customers and earn their trust,” Smokoska says.
3. Consistency and Engagement
Social media is termed “social” for a reason. People will always connect with the person behind the account rather than simply respond to marketing tactics seeking to game the algorithm.
Would you ignore a question from a customer or referral partner that came to you through other channels or face to face? Engaging with your followers’ questions and comments gives you an edge when your competitors simply post. Set aside time in your content calendar for replying to and commenting on your prospects’ posts. It shows respect for and interest in your audience and can boost engagement.
Mandy Phillips, a loan originator with a TikTok following of over 100,000 as @mortgagemandy, approaches the calendar differently now. “When starting on social media, specifically in video format, create a content calendar. [Most of] my posts now are based on comments. I answer questions, dispel misinformation and talk about what is happening in the market. You’ll find the greatest engagement from your followers when you stay current and reactive.” When commenting on someone else’s post, represent yourself well but resist self-promotion. Adding personal links and information can come across as spammy.
4. Focus or Branch Out?
Each platform offers unique opportunities to reach your target audience. Your chosen platform should align with your target audience’s preferences and yours.
If customers’ interests shift and move to a new platform, Phillips offered this advice: “I knew that if I was going to generate leads from social media, consistency would be key. I came up with a list of video ideas based on questions I get asked regularly and basic loan guidelines/requirements that most consumers [don’t know], and then I just hit record!”
Treat recording yourself and posting as a place to grow, like exercising a muscle.
“Being in front of a camera was awkward and uncomfortable (and still is), but I knew I would get better with practice,” Phillips said. “The only two pieces of advice that you really need are: Just do it, and post consistently.”
5. Posting for Reach
One of the main challenges for many social media accounts is getting posts in front of audiences. For loan originators who struggle on social media, it could amount to over-reliance on product posts or only reposting what the company posts. Sometimes, adjusting your optimal send times or hashtags helps.
For organic (unpaid) social media, lean into educating your target audience using short-form videos, relatable content, testimonials, Q&A, how-to guides and behind-the-scenes views of your workplace and community. Those who educate and entertain win.
After you’ve built your brand voice by posting consistently and connecting with customers, you can try paid efforts focusing on your product and service offerings. Meta has good options for advertising across Facebook and Instagram if you comply with their rules.
6. When and Where to Automate
Automation tools make things easier. AI tools like ChatGPT come with a certain level of risk, so exercise caution and avoid including company, personal and borrowers’ information in your writing prompts.
Free scheduling tools like Buffer can save time so you don’t forget to post. These are best used when you want to prepare posts of evergreen content in advance.
SocialCoach “helps loan officers post compliant content at scale,” which may assist in removing the guesswork.
We hope that using these tips transforms your social media presence — no matter what fuels the market or algorithm. Let us know your progress and questions by sending us an email. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn.