Social media is one of the most revolutionary innovations of our time. Within a few short years, billions of people from every corner of the globe have begun using digital platforms to connect with family, friends, colleagues and complete strangers.
This shift in the way we connect with others has also had a profound effect on the way we do business. The rise of social media provides a unique opportunity for lenders to directly reach today’s clients. As our market becomes more purchase-driven and millennials make up the largest group of homebuyers, mortgage professionals can employ digital platforms to make connections with referral partners and the increasing number of young consumers.
Many of the mortgage industry’s most accomplished producers have fully embraced the power of social media and its ability to reach an expanded customer base. Throughout my years of experience working in the industry, I have had the great privilege of holding conversations with many of the nation’s top producing mortgage professionals and gathering valuable insights about how they maintain such remarkable success.
These individuals are not shying away from the digital landscape that is now an integral part of our industry. Instead, they are leveraging technology to achieve incredible results. Here are some of their best practices for mortgage professionals ready to employ social media as a tool for growing their databases and enhancing customer relationships.
One of the primary benefits of social media is its ability to help sales professionals forge new connections. In the past, loan officers have relied primarily on referrals from Realtors for new business. Now, top producers like Cindy Laffey are using simple methods to get their names directly in front of potential clients. She explains, “We post pictures of every closing and tag our real estate agent, referral source, the buyers and their business pages. It goes on and on. That’s really getting a lot of activity and getting me a lot of exposure.”
Joel Mahakian’s strategy, on the other hand, involves being on the other end of tagged photos. “I have some great Realtor friends who put their listings on Facebook on a regular basis,” he says. “They will tag me in those posts and say customers need to call me in order to get prequalified.”
Making the initial connection is a great first step, but loan officers can also leverage these platforms to connect with clients on a personal level. Realtors and homebuyers are far more likely to do business with someone they feel they can relate to. This is the perfect area to utilize social media. As Jennifer Sims says, “It’s a way I can give them a piece of myself. They know who I am, who my family is, my cat’s name, my favorite color.”
Keith Renno has a similar strategy. He wants his Facebook friends to know that he’s not just a lender, but also an individual. “We try to keep our Facebook 65% personal and 35% reminders that we’re in the mortgage business. But we do like to keep 65% personal because we don’t want to spam people or make them feel like the only thing we’re talking about is mortgages.”
For Rosella Campion, social media is also a way to stay in touch with past customers and let them know she still values their relationship. “Sending out e-birthday cards has been a wonderful way to remind people that I’m here and that I am thinking of them,” she says.
Shashank Shekhar highlights the importance of making a good personal impression through social media.
In his experience, “When working with a client that has a listing agent I’ve never met, he or she is still familiar with me because they kind of know me since they’ve seen me on Facebook.”
Whether forging new connections or maintaining ones with previous clients, social media is a fundamental aspect of the relationship between mortgage professionals and their customers in today’s market. By understanding the personal nature of social media, they will build stronger, more meaningful connections with current and potential clients.
Finding the right balance between personal and business posts on social media is incredibly important for lenders, but they also must remember what their most important role is: to serve their clients. Providing helpful, insightful resources that empower the client with industry knowledge will only enhance the relationship between loan officer and customer.
Yvette Clermont finds posting resources on digital platforms gets the best response from her client base. “I’m getting feedback on social media when it’s an educational piece,” she says. “Whether it’s a new program, a new product or a guideline, I get feedback when something is helpful to a consumer.”
Before most people choose which car to buy, food to order, or loan officer to use, they go to the Internet. Getting positive ratings and comments on social media leads to production growth. According to Rosella Campion, “We are asking our customers to review us on different sites, and that has gotten us great leads, which has been a pleasant surprise.”
Stuart Crawford says his most important utilization of social media is to share his success. “It’s a validation piece. We push clients there to write reviews, to like us. When we get a new client, we have a welcome email that has our Facebook page and says, ‘Hey, if you want to get to know more about us, you can go to this page and see what our clients say.’”
Although social media has created a new landscape to navigate, it also presents countless opportunities for lenders to expand their databases and connect with more customers. By becoming more strategic with their approach to social media and incorporating these top producers’ best practices, mortgage professionals can harness the potential of these powerful tools to make a lasting impact on their business.