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Social media is a widely accepted branding tool for loan officers (LOs), and it can also be a powerful way to connect with prospective clients and generate referrals. Our recent Loan Originators Survey Report found that 44% of loan officers cite social media as a successful marketing medium. Whether you’re just getting started or trying to amplify your existing strategy, these 5 tips will help you create an engaging social media experience that speaks to your prospects.
1: Define a social media plan
Social media success starts with a plan and a realistic schedule that you can reasonably manage (the exact opposite of my new year’s resolution – I just can’t say no to ice cream). Think about your goals and how they align with your organization’s values and social media policies. Then, focus on the social media platforms that not only support those goals but are also ones your prospects, customers, and referral partners are using. A Facebook page (separate from your personal profile) is a great place to start – 60% of LOs say Facebook is the most effective social media platform, followed by LinkedIn and Instagram.
2: Share content that’s relevant and valuable to your target audience
Before posting content, ask yourself: What does my target audience value? What are their questions? What problems can I help them solve? Then share content that fills those needs, like presentations, webinars, blog posts, or videos. You can also share third-party content from reliable sources and add your own spin. Relevant industry updates and useful tools are great things to re-post.
3: Boost credibility and trust with customer reviews and testimonials
Customer reviews are an important part of the relationship-building journey and there’s no better place to receive and share them than on your social pages. Testimonials help future borrowers trust you because they see first-hand proof of a positive experience. When prospects see your customers saying good things about you, they’re more inclined to want to do business with you too.
A great way to gather testimonials is to encourage customers to leave reviews on your business page, then re-share the positive comments. Or, in a thank, you email after a closing, request a testimonial and permission to use it. The more specific you can be, the better – someone is more likely to leave a review if you send them a link to your Facebook business page than if you just ask them to recommend you online. It also helps to reinforce the idea that they should only leave a review if they think you’ve earned it. For example: “If you think I did an outstanding job, leaving a review on my Facebook page is the best way to show it: [link to your business page]”
4: Let your networking opportunities go viral
If you’re like the 48% of loan officers who build their referral relationships through attending community events, you already know how important networking is for finding new business. Sharing those experiences on your social pages enhances your reputation and puts you in front and center with your prospects. The next time you’re at an event, take a few pictures. Then post them to your business page, tag the people who attended and thank them. You’ll have several people interested in your post who are more apt to like, comment or share it.
Don’t limit this to only professional events! Sharing photos of a local event that’s popular among all members of the community – like a music festival or charity run – will get you more likes (and eyeballs of potential homebuyers) than industry events. Imagine a potential borrower stumbling upon a picture of you at their favorite local event – it gives you an extra connection point and reminds them that you’re a local who knows and appreciates the community you serve.
5: Interact with followers to grow relationships
Generating a strong social media presence isn’t a one-way street. It’s important to engage with your followers to grow and maintain relationships. If someone comments on your post, you should always like the comment and reply. Another engagement opportunity on social media is to join groups and interact with those groups. Asking for recommendations, opinions, and advice is a good way to start a conversation.
Another benefit to interacting directly is that you can almost guarantee you’ll be noticed! Posting something on social media can at times feel like a void, and you can never be sure what the algorithm gods will reward with views. But when you like and comment on someone else’s thoughtful post, you can bet they’ll notice and appreciate the attention, which keeps you top of mind and helps build the relationship.
Start increasing your business opportunities today
Use the 5 tips listed above to develop and deploy a social media marketing strategy that really speaks to your ideal customers. With planning, sharing relevant content, and engaging followers, you can be on your way to generating greater visibility and ultimately cultivating leads.