Meet the mortgage mavericks raking in followers on social media
In the ever-evolving mortgage industry, there are a select few who stand out as game-changers, and it’s not necessarily because they’re thought leaders. These titans — industry influencers — are using social media as a marketing tactic and an educational resource. From industry veterans to up-and-comers, these influencers are making their mark on the mortgage landscape and driving change in the way clients and current originators approach homebuying. Their top advice? Content needs to be educational, don’t be a sardine in a can, and double dip your material.
Rajin Ramdeholl, The Mortgage Expert
Chronically online Rajin Ramdeholl starts his day by checking his numbers — his social media statistics, of course. Ramdeholl brands himself as “The Mortgage Expert,” an online mortgage guru covering topics for amateur homebuyers and loan originators looking for advice on how to attract business.
Ramdeholl found success as a self-made mortgage influencer, using social media and algorithms to market himself as a loan officer. He started out posting regularly on platforms such as Facebook, and then eventually hired a team to keep up with his newfound industry fame.
“I got into social media about seven years ago. What really prompted me to go all in on social media was that I saw the direction social media was going,” he said. “At that time, Facebook was really prominent, and it was a great platform to convert our print advertising to digital on.”
Ramdeholl, a senior vice president at New York-based Meadowbrook Financial Mortgage Bankers Corp., says that the old-fashioned ways of advertising, like mailers, limited him as to who could become a client. Social media, he said, gave him the ability to reach more people with a different medium. “If I put out a video on social media, there’s a large chance that it could do well and reach hundreds of people,” he said. “When I did my first video seven years ago called ‘Who is Rajin Ramdeholl,’ it reached 50,000 people between Facebook and Instagram.” Ramdeholl says that his video received exciting feedback from past clients and intrigued coworkers.
“Users on TikTok are more there to get information and start to think about buying,
but may not be eligible for it.”
Ramdeholl says that sometimes he double dips with posting content to Instagram and Tiktok, but he says that the audiences for each app are completely different. “Users on TikTok are more there to get information and start to think about buying, but may not be eligible for it,” he explained. “The content that works best for me for any platform is telling personal stories about my experiences in the industry or with clients. Those stories reach more people — whether it’s potential clients or other professionals.”
Ramdeholl also said that incorporating education into his posts and videos has positively affected his online engagement. Topics like dual licenseship pros and cons and locked vs. floating rates give Ramdeholl’s audience quick crash courses. “Nowadays, content needs to have some form of education to it because you can educate customers or others in the industry, you can gauge your knowledge base.”
Sean Cahan, The Mortgage Geek
Sean Cahan isn’t a traditional president of a mortgage company. “I have wild ideas and I swear a lot,” Cahan said candidly. “When I do something, I go all out.”
So it makes sense that Cahan’s social media efforts are oftentimes spontaneous, whimsical ideas. The self-branding of being a mortgage “geek” is a schtick, according to Cahan. “I used to do mortgage radio and they asked me to have a radio name. Someone in the studio suggested that I call myself the Mortgage Geek, and it stuck,” he said. “And it’s true, I am a huge geek when it comes to what I do.”
Cahan’s not exaggerating. He’s been the number one top producer at his company, Cornerstone First Mortgage, for four years, and a Scotsman Guide Top Originator between 2014 and 2021, aside from managing company operations.
Cahan also runs a coaching agency called “The Mortgage Geek,” a self-described loan officer boot camp. “The other programs I was seeing were boring. It was more of people telling others what they should be doing without showing them the correct way. I wanted to create a program that wasn’t about handing out worksheets to originators,” Cahan explained.
“How you get more business and be recognized nowadays doesn’t come from being a sardine in a can. You need to go above and beyond and do something that grabs attention.”
Sean Cahan, president, Cornerstone First Mortgage
Going outside of the box is Cahan’s specialty, especially when it comes to grabbing a future client’s attention beyond the screen. His passion is creating original videos on Instagram’s Reels platform and YouTube. These aren’t your traditional how-to videos; Cahan has a segment called “WTFinance,” where he explains subjects such as “How long is my mortgage rate good for?” and “Calculating Military Income.” Cahan also dabbles in mortgage parodies, such as a Law & Order: Special Victims Unit parody called Loans & Origination: Saving Deals Unit. That one got about 160,000 views.
And the train doesn’t stop there. Cahan’s appealed to what’s trending online, even going as far as to do a makeup tutorial called his “Pre-Approval Routine.” The video is full of juxtaposition: Cahan’s goofily dressed in a wig and applying makeup products while explaining step-by-step the process for a customer to get pre-approved for a loan. Even though Cahan directs his spiel toward clients, he also sprinkles advice for originators throughout his videos.
Outside of coaching and social media influencing, Cahan says he excels at in-person speaking opportunities because his approach is untraditional. “[Events] want me to speak because they know I’m going to disrupt,” he said with a laugh. “How you get more business and being recognized nowadays doesn’t come from being a sardine in a can. You need to go above and beyond and do something that grabs attention because nowadays video attention span is short.”
Megan Marsh, LO Leader
Megan Marsh recollected an event where, during a regular Sunday mass, a woman in the church’s restroom said to her, “Megan, you’re everywhere.” That woman — who Marsh didn’t even know — was referring to Marsh’s videos she started putting out on LinkedIn and social media. “[That woman] showed me that ‘Holy moly … this works!” she said.
Marsh says it’s been about 10 years since her first video, and since then her following has only grown. Her LinkedIn page boasts over 4,000 followers alone. Content-wise, Marsh says that she’s adjusted her social media approach with the trending platforms. She uses TikTok and Instagram reels with the username “@moneymentormeg.” “I really started doing this to put myself out there, and to make a connection with people to forge one-on-one connections,” Marsh said. Her videos have driven people to call her workplace for mortgage and money advice, or even seek her out at trade shows.
However, she doesn’t think she’s quite achieved status as an influencer, yet. “I say not yet because I feel like when I was originating loans I was doing more consumer-driven videos, but my goal now is to help loan officers with information and education. I don’t feel like I’m an influencer. Other people might consider me one, but I think we all have a different level that we keep trying to reach for,” Marsh said with a laugh.
After 10 years, Marsh says that video comes naturally to her, but other aspects of her social media posts such as writing articles are new. “Two years ago I hadn’t ever written an article,” Marsh admitted. “But I was motivated to learn because I wanted to help other people in the industry because not everyone has someone to set an example. It just took baby steps.”
“I’d say that my weakness is that oftentimes my content is professionalism-focused, and I need to get more vulnerable online.”
Megan Marsh, co-founder, Co/LAB
Marsh’s sphere of influence — that is, her social media platform presence — has positively contributed to her ever-expanding clientele. “I sometimes have people come to do business with me because they saw me online or a YouTube video I did taught them something,” she said.
Marsh currently runs Co/LAB lending with her co-founder, Andres Munar. She says that she uses her experience of co-founding a business as a broker to coach others in the industry who maybe are considering starting their own businesses.
Like Ramdeholl, Marsh says she double-dips her content on Instagram, YouTube, and Tiktok to gain more exposure. “I try to put out my own messaging a few times a week, but I also put out company content for Co/LAB,” Marsh said. “I’d say that my weakness is that oftentimes my content is professionalism-focused, and I need to get more vulnerable online. But I’m going to challenge myself to do that.”
This article was originally published in the NMP Magazine September 2023 issue.