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We get our deals from referrals, right? Social media is great, but it is not all that influential on the way we do business, correct? Why should a Loan Officer worry about adding anything else to the growing list of demands on our time?
The answer: because everything is changing. Consider a few facts:
- In the previous 5 years, 40% of the time 18-24 year olds used to spend watching traditional TV has moved to other, largely digital, activities
- 46% of internet users review social media for reviews and other information when making a purchase
- 67% of Twitter users are more likely to buy from brands they follow on Twitter
- 80% of consumers search organizations and individual sales professionals online prior to making a purchase
- Peer-generated reviews are much more highly trusted by millennials than information obtained through an organization’s website or by “experts” (such as Realtors)
So what does all of this mean? Well, it means some things that many of us already know, like the traditional advertising channels such as TV, are losing their ability to influence large audiences. But it also means that the manner in which the younger generations gather information is changing rapidly.
Millennials now represent the largest generational block of homebuyers and fully half of the generation is not yet in their prime home-buying years yet. It will be imperative to adapt our communications and marketing techniques to be visible to them. Social media is becoming the vehicle of first impressions and if you do not make a good impression, you will not get the opportunity to make one in person.
So, what about Realtors? They are not going to suddenly stop referring Loan Officers, right? Absolutely right, but other factors will play in as well, such as peer reviews and recommendations and information about you online. And keep in mind that they will not just be looking for negative information. Your online presence will provide, in their view, some measure of your credibility and trustworthiness. If your online presence is limited to a static “About Me” page on your company’s website, you will not create an impression that encourages them to do business with you.
One last point on the subject of Realtor referrals. What generation do you think is currently becoming licensed Realtors faster than any other? We have already seen significant changes in how Realtors do business. Real estate offices are ghost towns. More than 80% of emails sent to Realtor email lists are opened on a mobile device. Five years ago it was less than half that figure. The next generation of Realtors will hold the same expectations as their home-buying peers. If you are not engaging them on social media and communicating with them through the social media and other channels they are accustomed to, there will be dozens of Mortgage Loan Officers that will. Who do you think is more likely to win their business?
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