Whether you are still up in the air about social media or are convinced that it is something you need to do, this article will help you clarify the next step forward. Oftentimes, confusion about what the next step should be paralyzes us and stops us from doing anything to move forward. But that doesn’t help anything. So let’s dive into this idea of using social media as part of your mortgage marketing plan and lay out some fundamental steps that you need to take to make it work for you.
First, we need to answer the question of whether you need to use it at all. For the mortgage industry, I would say this is an advantageous platform, but not a necessary one. You can do well with direct mail, e-mail and word of mouth marketing, but if you want to increase your effectiveness and ultimately bring in more clients and revenue, you should consider adding social media to your marketing mix.
Think of it this way … other forms of marketing are ways of informing your clients and prospects about your business and the services you offer. This is great, and those who need your services will respond to this. Social media is about engaging your clients and prospects and building a relationship with them. This breeds two things: Trust and loyalty. In business, those two things add up to more sales, both in the present and the future.
If you are interested in boosting your revenue, read on. If you are content with where you are right now, you’re probably okay not rocking the boat at this juncture—but you should still read on so you understand what social media can do for you. Knowledge is power. In this article, I will outline four steps to make social media work for you by:
►Adding new leads to social media
►Implementing social communication strategy
►Engaging and converting
This first step doesn’t actually have anything to do with social media directly. However, I put it in here because it is very important to realize that lead generation is not something that you can expect from social media. Will the occasional person find you via social media and become a client? Potentially, even probably. But these situations will be few and far between, and definitely not enough to build your business on.
Lead generation is obviously a hugely important aspect of your marketing plan, and I do not you to fall prey to the idea that social media can replace your normal marketing campaigns. It just doesn’t have the targeting or attention-grabbing power necessary to get the job done. For lead generation, I suggest direct mail and, specifically, postcards.
Adding new leads to social media
Now that you have a steady flow of new prospects coming in, you can begin to add the social media elements into your marketing plan. In other words, you have presented the prospects with information, they have responded, and now it is time to engage them so they get a better sense of who you are and what your business can do for them.
Here are three ways to start funneling your new prospects into your social media strategy:
1. Send an e-mail asking clients and prospects to join you (be sure to include a benefit of joining, such as free mortgage advice, a giveaway, etc.).
2. Send a follow-up postcard with the same info/offer as the e-mail.
3. When you meet a new prospect, ask them if they are on social media and see if they would be open to connecting with you. As always, give them the benefits of why to join.
Implementing social communication strategy
Remember that the word “social” is in social media. It would be anti-social to only talk about yourself at a gathering and not show interest in others. With that said, the number one thing to keep in mind when developing a content strategy for your social media presence is that you need to provide helpful, valuable content. If you fail to do this, people will delete you, unfriend you, or generally run in the opposite direction of your posts. Examples of this type of valuable communication are: Mortgage updates, news from the industry, testimonials, helpful resources, etc.
If you can become a trusted source for this type of relevant helpful content, you gain trust, which helps people close, and loyalty, which brings them back next time they need mortgage advice or services. This is the main goal of your social media presence … be helpful. Be an expert and be interested in what others have to say as well. Don’t you just hate when one of your “Friends” just posts and posts, but never “Likes” anything you have posted?
It is worth noting however that you can occasionally use your profiles to inform friends and followers of a special or discount you are offering. Just don’t make it every other post. In fact, a social media only deal is a great way to show how much you value your friends and followers.
Engaging and converting
This step is absolutely vital, because most companies that venture into the waters of social media end up abandoning ship within a month or two. Not because social media isn’t a great way to connect with people, but because they didn’t have a plan in place to handle the actual duties of posting and responding to comments. Believe me, it can seem insignificant in the face of other revenue-related issues and it gets put on the backburner a lot. If you aren’t going to be intentional about making a plan for social media, don’t bother. Your page will become another corporate ghost town.
The best way to get a plan is to use software like HootSuite or TweetDeck. These programs allow you to create posts and schedule them ahead of time. This is helpful because you want to be able to repost your content a couple times throughout out the day, since different people will log on at different times. A good benchmark is to post up to 20 times a week, depending on how much good content you have.
It’s important to ask questions in your posts and comments. If you don’t, you are less likely to engage the person and get a response. Be interested in people and their homebuying situations. They like that.
Here is an example of what your Weekly Social Media Checklist could look like:
►Befriend 10 clients on Facebook
►Post five Facebook Status Updates
►Respond to 10 Friends’ posts on Facebook
►Post 10 Twitter updates
►Retweet five posts on Twitter
►Respond to five Twitter posts
►Network with five companies on LinkedIn
►Respond to 10 questions on LinkedIn
So that’s the deal with social media in the mortgage industry. If you want to increase your revenue and bring back more return customers, it is a great tool. Will it save the mortgage world? Probably not. Will it single-handedly deliver a slew of new mortgages. Definitely not. Will it help you get more from your marketing campaigns and maximize your marketing dollars? Absolutely, it will. The key for you is to decide if you have the perseverance to stick to it once you’ve started. If you can handle that, you should see a nice return in both loyalty and trust. And once you have those things, the revenue will follow.
Joy Gendusa is chief executive officer and founder of PostcardMania. She began PostcardMania in 1998 with nothing but a phone and a computer and zero investment capital. By 2008, revenues reached nearly $19 million and the company now employs more than 150 people, prints four million and mails two million postcards each week representing more than 40,000 customers in over 350 industries. For more information, call (800) 628-1804, ext. 342.