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At LOassist, it is not uncommon for Loan Officers to skim a message we send or, perhaps, our website and respond with something like “yeah, my marketing department does that stuff for me.” There are a couple of things to consider in that statement. First, this is an indicator of the mindset that social media and content marketing are nothing more than another advertising channel like billboards and postcards when, in fact, they are primary tools of relationship creation and maintenance and customer loyalty. The mortgage business is all about relationships, right? Shouldn’t you be active where relationships happen?
Second, it is unlikely that your marketing department is doing anywhere near enough on your behalf to drive your success. And that is not a knock on them by any means as they have many responsibilities and finite resources available to juggle them all as it is. They are doubtlessly doing some things for the company and the brand, but that is not the same as doing things specifically for you ? We have extensive experience in mortgage marketing and, while there are a handful of mortgage companies doing some creative and exciting things, none of them come close to executing a robust social and content marketing strategy for their LO’s on a daily basis, which is what LOassist does. Let’s take a look at what is normal in the industry and why you need to take responsibility beyond what may be provided.
The mortgage industry has been slow to jump on the social media train. Many mortgage companies now allow LO’s to have profiles on a couple of social networks. With a few exceptions, the typical marketing department will manage the profiles and pages of the company and encourage their Loan Officers to share posts they make to those company pages; perhaps they will even design some promotional images that LO’s can post to their own pages if they like. Some may provide a CRM system that includes some social media content that, again, the LO can post themselves if and when they choose to.
This does not promote success. Social media success requires four key things:
All social media networks now use algorithms to determine what posts users will see when they log on. A considerable factor in these algorithms is what (and who) the user has interacted with recently; in other words, what have they clicked, liked, shared, commented on, re-tweeted, and so on. If you have not posted recently, chances are they have not interacted with you recently.
As it stands right now, your posts are only seen by about 14% of your followers on Facebook. Most other networks are slightly higher but only because they don’t have the volume that Facebook does. This number is decreasing on all of the major networks as the competition for valuable “real estate” on user’s pages’ climbs. A particular post may not hit the same 14% every time, however, so frequent posts provide a greater opportunity to reach a broader section of your followers.
3. Quality Content
Here’s the thing that is really hard to get across to those who only see social media as an advertising channel. Unlike advertising, the content on social media cannot be about you all the time. Even if you think what you have to say about you is valuable. It has to be about your audience. It has to be valuable to them. That’s great if your marketing department is providing very attractive posts for you to use about your mortgage programs. 99.9% of your audience couldn’t care less and will not interact with it. Now, re-read point number 1 above and you will understand why this is a problem. Your content needs to be about inducing engagement and adding value, not selling your products or service.
Social media is supposed to be, well, social. How long would your friend be your friend if every time you reached out to them they didn’t answer and never called you back? Building rapport with your contacts is nothing new. Do you remember the FORD method? Family, Occupation, Recreation, and Dreams? I am pretty sure that is still being taught to sales professionals. The same applies here. When a contact reaches out to you on social media, whether they like something, share something, or especially when they comment on something, reach back out to them. Thank them for the interaction and ask them how the family is doing, how that new job is going, or if they caught the game last night. Treat them all like friends and some of them will become customers (and repeat customers) when they are ready.
In our experience, most marketing departments are doing a great job of providing tools to maintain a database and do some email marketing. Many of these tools have pretty good automation capabilities and provide lots of content that Loan Officers can use, but all of the bells and whistles tend to overwhelm the majority of LO’s who do not know where to begin. Moreover, most do not have the time to invest in learning how to use the tools provided and manage them daily.
Website & Blog
Let’s clarify something before we get going here: there is a difference between a website and a web page. The typical bank or mortgage company (again, there are a handful of exceptions) provides their Loan Officer with a web page, complete with their photo, their contact information, and a little about me paragraph. Perhaps they’ll even post some testimonials or a link to your LinkedIn account.
Now, imagine you are a homebuyer who just called a Realtor, who promptly instructed you to get qualified for a mortgage and, by the way, I would recommend (insert your name here). Sometimes the recommendation can include one or two of your competitors as well, right? Back to our daydream. Now, being the Millennial you are, the first thing you do is go online, look these people up, and start ‘Googling’ all the questions you have about getting a mortgage.
Is the static web page your company has set up for you going to provide the same winning first impression that you would make in person? Because this is it. This is your first impression now. Is your web page going to provide answers to the questions that Millennial is typing in his search bar, such as “how much will I qualify for,” “how much do I need for a down payment,” or “what credit score do I need to buy a home?” Your web page probably doesn’t say anything of value to this potential customer and chances are your company website doesn’t have much in the way of real answers to those questions either. This is what a blog does. It answers questions.
In the scenario above, not only is your digital first impression lacking, but now you are also short on credibility, authority, and transparency; three critical characteristics any sales professional needs to compete. Better hope those other two LO’s think their marketing department does it for them, too.
Let’s face it, the mortgage industry has always been rather slow to adapt new capabilities and technologies into the fold. In our defense, we do seem to be picking up the pace in recent years. Unfortunately, the pace of change is increasing exponentially and the younger generations are not only adapting quickly, they expect the brands they purchase products and services from to meet them where they are.
LOassist helps Loan Officers connect with their markets and we go beyond providing tools or training to try to make it easier to shoehorn something else into a day that already has more stuff to do than hours. LOassist does most of the heavy lifting on your behalf so you don’t have to do it yourself. Unless your marketing department is posting 6-12 times per day to 3-5 social media networks for you, sending 5 or more emails per month to your contacts for you, managing your own multi-page website complete with 1 or more weekly blog posts, they are not doing what we can do for you.
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