May 5, 2016 by 2 Comments

This article is part of a series that provides loan officers and other sales professionals with a crash course in self-promotion and marketing, created by the Total Mortgage marketing team. To read other articles in this series, click here.

Want to jump ahead?

  1. Why go social?
  2. Best sites for loan officers and real estate agents
  3. Creating accounts

 

Why go social?

Social media marketing is the future—and the present. If you’re thinking about jumping the old school  ship and swimming along, you may be a little late, but you have the right idea. Many professionals believed social media would be the kind of fad that came and went. But fast forward 10 years, and now it’s integral to the way most businesses interact with their customer base.

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If you’re a seasoned loan officer or realtor with a network of referral partners, you may not think you’re missing out on much in the social media realm, but you, my friend, are sorely mistaken.

Consider this—500 million tweets are sent each day. 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals. Over 20 billion photos have been shared on Instagram since it was created.

Think about it. Social media is real time, with real people, really interacting with your brand. And that has a lot of benefits for you, like:

  • Improving brand awareness
  • Increasing your website traffic
  • Building trust and loyalty
  • Introducing you to target market, up close and personal
  • Allowing you to respond immediately to customers problems
  • Creating a constant audience

Basically, social media allows you to act and react all at the same time. It takes “word of mouth” marketing to a whole new level.

Best sites for loan officers and real estate agents

Whether you’re using social media to market yourself or a brand, the basics are the same. You must always remember to keep the same voice and stay recognizable across all platforms—and there are a lot of platforms. I’ll break down the 4 that we suggest for loan officers and realtors.

Facebook

Facebook—you may have heard of it—is the biggest social network out there. With 1.581 billion monthly active users and 1.44 billion  active on mobile, it’s safe to say pretty much everyone has a profile. It has one of the most powerful and user friendly advertising platforms on the planet. This should give you the incentive to log on and create a profile if you don’t already have one.

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Facebook also has its own built-in ad manager, allowing you to build ad campaigns to boost your posts, promote your page, and send people to your website. The ads manager allows you to set the demographics, targeting, interests, and budget. If you want to learn more about the Facebook ads manager, keep an eye out for my advanced social media post.

LinkedIn

You may be thinking, “I already have a Facebook, why do I need a LinkedIn?”

You need a LinkedIn because it’s the only social media platform designed with your professional life in mind—that means no having to scroll through pictures of pets in Halloween costumes or awkward political manifestos disguised as statuses. When your work depends so heavily on referral business, LinkedIn undoubtedly shines brighter than Facebook.

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with hundreds of millions of members. You create a virtual resume posted to your main profile, where you can highlight your skills, qualifications, and certifications. This makes it one of the best places to connect with your former clients, contacts, colleagues, and almuni. The LinkedIn platform is designed for professional networking.

And maintaining those contacts can pay off in more than one way. Everyone buys houses—even old colleagues.

Twitter

Twitter is an online social networking tool that allows users to post 140 character updates. You can attach links, graphics, and gifs to your tweets to really personalize them.

 

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Twitter has 316 million active people, which is roughly equivalent to the number of people in the U.S.  Twitter users are also almost 3 times more likely to follow brands than Facebook users.

Twitter is a great way to enhance your Facebook strategy. There are many influencers in the real estate/mortgage industry that are willing to boost  your signal if you capture their attention correctly.

Google +

A Google+ user profile is attached to many Google properties, so odds are good you already have one. What makes Google+ great for loan officers and real estate agents is that, similarly to LinkedIn, it has become a haven for professionals and local businesses. They share content and connect with one and another through communities, follows, and circles.

Quick Hits:

  1. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are the best social media sites for loan officers
  2. Social media is everywhere and–free
  3. Social media helps create brand awareness, website traffic, and loyalty

Creating accounts

How to create a Facebook account

facebook3Facebook is one of the easiest social platforms to use and master. The Facebook team has done a great job of laying out exactly what you need to do to set up your page. Creating a personal Facebook account and a business account, though, are two very different things.

A personal Facebook account is geared more towards sharing with close friends and family members, while a business account needs to keep in mind your clientele, coworkers, and other influencers in your industry.

Getting started with your account

facebook1First, simply fill out the correct information under the “Sign Up” tab. If you only want a business page, then click on “Create a page for a celebrity, band or business,” which is located at the bottom of the page. Once you create a new Facebook page, you will want to take your time to set that up with your interests, personal pictures, and friends list.

Go to create page

If your branch or office has a physical location where you get visitors, you can choose “Local Business or Place,” however most agents select, “Company, Organization, or Institution.”facebook2

Upload your profile picture, fill in your company info, and add a cover photo

When the Total Mortgage team and I set up social media profiles for our loan officers, we use professional, high-resolution headshots. This alone can boost your authority and take your profile from mediocre to trustworthy. You must fill in your contact info if you want to attract visitors to your page. Investing the time up-front to input all the correct information and writing a complete “About” section can yield big benefits.

Sharing updates

Now that your profile is all set, you can start to share relevant content and invite friends to like your page. Remember to always share content that would be useful to your audience, like how-to guides, tips and tricks, and videos. When people first open a Facebook account, they generally post self-serving content. Self-promotion will only benefit you once you have an established audience to share, like, and comment on your updates.

What to post

There is a certain art to posting on Facebook, especially when it comes to marketing as a loan officer. Your posts must resonate with your audience, shed light in on questions they may have, and be credible, all without making them feel pressured. Once you establish yourself as an expert in your field, members of your audience will look to your page for advice on certain subjects, i.e. mortgage loans options.

Quick Hits:

  1. 1-3p.m. are the prime times to post content
  2. Do not post more than 3 times a day
  3. Mix in some fun posts every now and then to keep audience entertained
  4. Share other followers content, engage with your audience—personalize your strategy
  5. To tag someone in a post simply type an @ followed by their name
  6. After 25 likes, you can customize your Facebook URL

How to create a LinkedIn account

linkedinLinkedIn is quite simple to set up if you have a resume handy. To create a LinkedIn account, follow this guide.

Visit www.linkedin.com to get started

Fill out the correct information with your email and a password that you will remember and follow the “Next” prompts until it prompts you to “Create your profile.”

Stay up to date on current interests and stay connected!

After clicking “Create your profile,” you”ll be brought through a series of screens instructing you to pick things that may be of interest to you, connect you to your contacts through your email, and pick other companies to follow. After you give LinkedIn some insight into what industries interest you, it brings you to your profile.

Getting to know your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn does a great job of showing you around your page when you first start out. Like Facebook, LinkedIn is very easy to manage/edit. Your LinkedIn profile is meant to be used as a resume on steroids. It lists your name, current job, past jobs, experience, awards, and certifications.

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What makes LinkedIn unique

Facebook may be the most widely used social network, but LinkedIn is the largest professional networking site. Like Facebook, LinkedIn makes it possible for you to customize your URL. You should make your URLS as similar as possible, making it easy for prospect clients to track you down.

LinkedIn also includes a “Skills & Endorsements” section, which no other social network has. This section helps showcase your skillset and lets your connections “endorse” you. An endorsement is proof that you have the skill that you are advertising on your profile. This is great for loan officers because it gives social proof of your expertise. Potential customers are more likely to go to a loan officer that has 50+ endorsements in “refinancing” than someone who only has, let’s say, 3.

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LinkedIn also gives you the option to join groups centered around mortgage categories like, “mortgage bankers association,” “mortgage professional network,” and “mortgage professionals.” These networks were created to give loan officers a place to connect with other loan officers and share their insight and knowledge—you may want to make use of them.

What to share on LinkedIn

Sharing on LinkedIn can be a lot like sharing on Facebook. You want to share valuable content that your audience can like and re-share. This content is then seen by followers of your followers.

This is a great way to drive awareness and traffic if you produce your own blog content. This also portrays the image that you are trustworthy and know your stuff, which could turn into more endorsements or loan leads. If you’re looking for a deeper understanding of what to post then stay tuned for my Social Media Advanced tactics, focusing on the 5 w’s of social media; who, what, when, where and why.

Quick Hits:

  1. LinkedIn is the best place to network with other professionals in the industry
  2. Setting up your profile is as easy as setting up your Facebook
  3. LinkedIn allows you to endorse and tag people from your personal page
  4. To tag someone in a post simply type an @ followed by their name

How to create a Twitter account

twitTwitter is a very easy platform to master, though many find it intimidating. Twitter allows you to express your thoughts in 140 characters (though pictures and video, if you choose to include one, take up 25 characters). It’s also the home of the hashtag (or #), a word or phrase preceded by a pound sign used to identify messages on a specific topic.

Before you sign up for a Twitter account, you must decide what kind of association you want your Twitter account to have.

  • Do you want to keep it professional?
  • Do you want to use it as a personal account?
  • Do you want to keep it professional, but also personal?

These are the 3 questions you must ask yourself, because the audiences for each will differ. Of course, you could certainly create a personal and private account, if you are invested enough in Twitter.

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Creating your Twitter account:

Sign up by visiting www.twitter.com and typing in your name, email, and password.

Choose a username:

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Check off what topics you find interesting:

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Twitter will suggest influential accounts for you to follow:

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You will have the option to add a profile photo or skip this step and save it for later:

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You can choose to contact to your email accounts to find your contacts on Twitter.

Remember to also confirm your email address!

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Time to share

Now, on to the important stuff: sharing. Sharing over-aggressively can lose you followers, since no one wants to get spammed by one Twitter account. With that being said, it is recommended to share 5-7 times a day. You can use a tool to track your analytics, such as Twitter Analytics or Audiense, so you can see when your content is performing the best.

Here are a few useful stats:

  • Business to business related tweets and accounts perform 16% better during business hours
  • Business to consumer related tweets and accounts perform 17% better on weekends
  • Wednesdays around 12-1pm and 5-6pm are peak moments during workers’ breaks
  • Twitter users are more likely to be on Twitter during their commute

What to post

Posting on any social network may seem overwhelming. That’s why it helps to know before you start posting what kind of content you want to resonate with your followers. For example, do you want to convey a professional message or do you want to have more personal feel to your account?

Once you’ve established this, then you can find/write/share great content. Becoming an “expert” in any field requires a lot of time and effort, so don’t become discouraged if it doesn’t happen right away. Focus on building your audience and sharing content that your audience will notice. Some examples of great content to share on Twitter for loan officers and realtors are anything mortgage/real estate related, how-to guides, renovation tips, home and garden tips, and personal finance.

Tips:

  • You don’t need to read every tweet in your feed.
  • Always try to respond to others even if it’s a quick, “Thanks for the RT.”
  • A good bio sells.
  • It’s OK to tweet the same thing multiple times.
  • You can organize the people you follow in Twitter lists by:
    • Hovering over your profile icon next to the Tweet button
    • Click on “Lists”
    • Click “Create a list” on the right side of the screen
    • Title the list something like, “Loan officers in CT”
    • Add a description, check the privacy, and click save list

How to create a Google + (or Google Plus) account

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Google Plus may sound unnecessary if you’re already a member of the Facebook community, but the two networks differ significantly. Like Facebook, Google Plus is a social network centered around sharing, liking and commenting on posts but the demographics of both networks are very different.

Pasted image at 2016_03_25 02_47 PMFacebook’s users are more likely to be female and range in age from  25-34 years old. Google Plus, meanwhile, has a higher male to female ratio and a larger 45-54 year old demographic. Since Google Plus is owned by Google, it also provides some search engine optimization benefits.

For instance, let’s say you wrote a blog post 3 months ago. If you don’t share your blog on other networks, it could take weeks or even months to rank on Google. However, once you post something on a Google Plus page, it shows up almost instantly. A Google Plus account other attributes that makes it a great source and resource for a loan officer/realtor.

Creating your Google Plus account

If you have a Gmail account, setting up a Google Plus is easy as typing plus.google.com into the search bar. Once you do that, you will be prompted with a series of suggestions, i.e. adding friends, taking a tour, exploring Google+, and uploading a photo. You should update your profile with a picture and any contact information you want to share with your audience.

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Click on Profile:

Clicking “Edit Profile” will bring you to this screen:

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From here you can manage what shows up on your public profile for the world to see. For example, all the communities Total Mortgage is a member of are listed on the right side of the screen. If you do not want these shown, you simply uncheck the box and click save.

You can add a  picture to your profile by clicking on the icon that is in front of the Total Mortgage icon then uploading a desired photo.

After you do that you can set a cover photo, like what you have on Facebook. You do that by clicking on the camera icon that appears on the top of the picture of the family.

Now, underneath where it says, “We are here for all of your mortgage related needs” click on the box and type a little something about you, but remember, keep the character count to 140.

Sharing posts

Like I said previously, Google Plus is great for the real estate/mortgage industry. It has many communities centered on these topics and it’s very easy to join them. You do so by clicking on the Communities tab on the left side of the screen and search for communities to join.

I recommend “Real Estate” and “Real Estate Community” to get you started. Of course, you can share posts right from your profile page, but you will get immediate exposure by posting in an established community. If the content you have developed resonates with the audience, they will either +1 the post, share it, or comment on it. Any of those are a win—they mean people like what you have to say.

Quick Hits:

  1. Google Plus is different from your regular Gmail
  2. You must access Google Plus by typing plus.google.com into your search bar
  3. You can search and add people and join groups by typing into the search bar
  4. You should join a community or two to share your content and reach more people
  5. To tag someone in a post simply type an @ followed by their name

Next steps

Social Media isn’t just a fad. It’s a crucial part of marketing, and the best part is it’s free—well mostly!

Use this guide to start establishing yourself (and your business) on the internet.  Also, don’t be afraid of doing some more research on tactics you could try. There are tons of valuable hacks out there.

You can learn more about what the Total Mortgage marketing team does for our loan officers by checking out other articles in this series, or by visiting our career portal.


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2 Comments

  • This is a great article for agents just getting their start in SMM. Thanks for sharing. Wondering where your numbers/starts are sourced from? Did I miss it? The numbers are great info. I’d love to dig s little deeper on them. Thanks!

  • josterhout@totalmortgage.com' Joline Osterhout says:

    Hi Ryan,

    I’m so pleased to hear positive feedback on this post. The stats came from quite a bit of different sources across the internet. I gathered the majority of my info from http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/category/stats-2/ by searching the platform I wanted to collect numbers for. Let me know if there is anything else I can help you with. Thanks again!

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