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Social media has become an accepted part of our everyday lives. Whether we are at home, work or play, social media is constantly around us … even when we aren’t plugged in.
The visibility that the multitude of social media platforms provides is unparalleled to anything we have ever witnessed. However, the return-on-investment (ROI) is often difficult to track, making it tough to determine how much time and money to invest.
With user numbers reaching into the billions, whether you have been in the mortgage industry since the beginning, or you are just starting off, it is important for you to have social media established in your business plan and have a presence in that ever growing world.
Being engaged allows you the opportunity to build your brand, become a valuable resource and expert in the eyes of your prospects, reach prospective customers, and solidify relationships with established customers and referral partners. It has become an indispensable resource in reaching out to your customers, allowing you to create and build professional as well as personal relationships. Keep in mind that you never know where a connection is going to lead and how things could come back to you.
With Facebook being the overwhelming leader, as far as the number of users are concerned, over 70 percent of all adults, this is the best place to begin your social media journey. The average adult on Facebook has 300 friends. The Facebook channel allows you to build your brand and give you the ability to respond quickly to customers’ comments, feedback and questions.
As long as you have a personal Facebook Page you can set up business page using these four simple steps directly from Facebook.
Create a Page from your account
►Click the arrow in the top-right corner.
►Choose Create Page.
Choose a business category for your Page
Select the type of Page you want to create from the following categories:
►Local Business or Place
►Company, Organization or Institution
►Brand or Product
►Artist, Band or Public Figure
►Cause or Community
Choose an industry-specific category
►Choose a category that matches your business. Then fill out some basic info about your business.
►Agree to the Facebook Pages Terms.
►Click Get Started.
Optimize and start connecting
►Add a description and your website address, if you have one.
►Add a profile picture from your computer or device.
►You can also add your Page to your Favorites on your Facebook account, so you’ll have easy access to it when you log in.
►With Reach More People, you can immediately start reaching new audiences.
►Click Save Info and your Business Page is ready to go!
Now that you have perfected your Facebook business page, contemplate connecting with your target markets on other social media sites, such as Twitter (platform for conversations via short messages, 140 characters or less), LinkedIn (platform geared towards professional connections), Instagram (platform where 90 percent of users are 35 and younger) and Google+.
Once you have set up all of your social accounts, consider using a tool called Hootsuite. Hootsuite is a Web site which allows you to manage all of your social media accounts in a time efficient way. It is a free service that you can plug all of your social media accounts into allowing you to become more efficient and effective at social media. Never log into multiple platforms again. Hootsuite lets you manage 100-plus social networks, share tasks with Team Members, and analyze performance using one login, in one dashboard. The publishing feature allows you to automatically discover, schedule and post content for you, freeing up more time to engage with your customers. Create keyword search streams to track mentions, respond to customers, and nurture leads. Hootsuite lets you monitor every conversation across your social networks, so you’re always in-the-know. Hootsuite is a must have … it makes everything easier to manage, saves time and is much more efficient.
Now that we have all of the platforms set up let’s talk about content. The key to getting a high level of engagement, likes, reaches, shares and clicks on any platform, depends a lot on the type of content you consistently putting out there. The goal is to post engaging content. Something that grabs the attention of your followers making them want to take part. Here are some tips:
►Be valuable and detailed. When you can create content that is valuable and detailed people are more likely to click, comment and share it. Here are two examples: Create a post, “Five Reasons Why Owning Home Makes Sense Financially.” Or can create a video instead, “Thinking of Selling? Three Reasons Why You Should Hire a Pro.”
►Add humor and personalization. If you don’t think you have funny things to create, look for funny content online that you can share. When you share something funny and real you also help people find you more relatable. Being relatable/likable is a trait easily created in the social world and something that you really cannot put a value on. People connect with you when you share who you are beyond the business world.
►Post about what your clients ask you regularly. When you are working, keep a list of questions frequently asked by your clients. This is a great way to create content that your audience is asking for!!
►Photos and graphics. It is virtually imperative to add a captivating photo or graphic to every single post. Without one … people just keep scrolling. Make sure you have permission to use the photo or graphic you are using. Be cautious of copyright infringements.
►Become an expert of industry knowledge. This allows you to gain the trust of your customers. Because information is so plentiful on the Internet, people don’t accept everything to be true or of value when placed in front of them. You must secure your spot as an authoritative figure in the mortgage industry. Your customers will begin to gravitate toward you if you provide consistent useful knowledge. Become the resource your followers can’t find anywhere else.
►Video, video, video. Whether it’s a live or recorded, video provides a unique opportunity for true authenticity and realness to shine through. People love it and video feed continues to grow in popularity.
Something to keep in mind when deciding how to implement social media into your business plan is that the ROI isn’t always necessarily measurable. The number of likes, comments, clicks and shares are not the entire picture of the ROI of social media. The ROI of social media is difficult to measure because what you’re measuring in social media is more about the relationships and connections made. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. The relationships formed through social media will not fit on a spreadsheet. Keep that in mind as you evaluate social media as a business tool.
As times change, the average consumer becomes more plugged-in to the online world. They have become accustomed to having a wealth of information at their fingertips whenever they need it. A strong online social media presence will impress your clients and encourage a personal connection. It could be the advantage you need to make it in the mortgage world. Social media has created a fast-paced world, and to survive, you must keep up in the race.
Doug Perry is branch manager and home loan strategist for Bellevue, Wash.-based Wallick & Volk. Since 1986, Doug has successfully helped thousands of families through the home financing process to obtain the best mortgages for his clients. He may be reached by phone at (425) 453-6669 or e-mail [email protected].
This article originally appeared in the July 2016 print edition of National Mortgage Professional Magazine.